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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
When it was built in 1988 Glanford Park held the distinction of becoming the first new soccer stadium to be built in England since the Second World War. The club moved here from their previous home, The Old Show Ground which was located just over three kilometres away and is now the site of a Sainsbury Superstore. The Old Showground held its own place in soccer stadia history as being the first British stadium to house a cantilevered stand.
In addition to having visited Scunthorpe's previous home, I was also privileged to have attended the opening league game at Glanford Park back in 1988 and recently returned some twenty three years later to find that the surrounding area has been turned from a barren wasteland into a Retail Shopping Complex. Glanford Park is a matchbox type stadium that has an overall capacity of 9,183.
Three sides of the stadium are identically seated with the Rainham Steel Stand behind the one goal remaining a terraced area. This is the end where the noisy element of the home support congregates on a match day. The design of the stadium has been replicated by many lower league clubs over the years whose attendances are similar to that of Scunthorpe.
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Once inside the stadium the club offers a menu of Pies and Pasties priced at £2.50, Sausage Rolls £1.80, Beer £3.20 per pint, Coke £1.50 and hot drinks at £1.20. I can personally vouch for the quality of the Pasties.
On my last visit the atmosphere from the home supporters was quite muted which was due to the club having been relegated to League 1, the third tier of English professional football. However Glanford Park is a venue England's Premier League clubs look to avoid in cup games as smaller stadiums like this can be intimidating with the crowd right upon you with the close proximity of the playing area to the stands.
Scunthorpe is a typical English steel town and is not one that most tourists would have on their hit list. The town is located in North East England between Doncaster and Hull and one would suggest that a visit to the area should be combined with a stay on the East Coast or a weekend in the steel capital of Sheffield. However people are friendly and the town is a safe environment to watch sport.
The Gallagher Retail Park located next to the stadium offers plenty of choice for your pre match food and drink. The Tesco Supermarket houses a Costa Coffee outlet which serves up a decent coffee and light snacks. All located within a five minute walk of each other are Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Frankie & Benny's. The Old Farmhouse Public House offers a wider menu as does the Berkerley Arms a little further down the road. For those wishing to stay over the Travelodge Chain has a hotel next to the stadium with room prices starting at £19 if booked in advance.
Although the club's average attendance is only around the 8,000 mark, most replica football shirts worn around the town are Scunthorpe ones and not those of the bigger English clubs. The past few years have been the most exciting for the club's loyal fans as Scunny have experienced a few promotions and relegations having previously languished in the forth tier of English football.
The stadium is easily reached by taking the M18, M180 and M181 motorways, Glanford Park is located right at the end of the M181 adjacent to the Gallagher Retail Park. Parking is available at the stadium for a reasonably priced £3. Parking on the retail park is limited to ninety minutes and clamping is in operation. Scunthorpe Railway Station is located in the Town Centre approximately three kilometres away and connecting buses will take you to the stadium. Connecting trains to Scunthorpe run from Sheffield and Hull.
Admission prices of £25 with concessions for O.A.P's and Juniors are a good value for this level of soccer. Glanford Park is a comfortable venue with easy access and cheap onsite parking. The only criticism of the stadium is the limited space in the Food Kiosk area under the AMS Stand that houses the away supporters. Space is very limited and purchasing food and drink is difficult when the stand is full.
Scunthorpe have a small club shop selling replica club strips and other memorabilia. A match day programme is always available and is good value for £3.
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