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Warwickshire and the West Midlands

The situation regarding counties in England has been a bit of a mess ever since the restructuring in... In the early stages of this trip, I spoke a bit about where the game of football originated. Now sin... A big cake. A high pressure cement pipeline? Part of Rugby School. Rugby. FLOREAT RUGBEIA... The balls used to be pigs' bladders, inflated orally. After Richard Lindon's wife died from a diseas... Rugby School. It resembles my own college because it was designed by the same architect. I assume that these people are all somehow related to Rugby. Lewis Carroll was a student at Rugby Sc... Google keeps trying to send me on the canal towpath but I'm not sure if it's allowed and I don't muc... Easenhall. The modern houses up ahead are where Coventry City's Highfield Road ground used to be. This was a top division ground in the 1995-1996 season and it's my favourite of all the former groun... The centre of the pitch. Highfield Road. Part of the space is a mini football pitch, with stone balls for goalposts. At the far end, the houses have encroached onto where the pitch was but at this end, to a very good ... A sign has confirmed that cycling is allowed on this part of the canal towpath and it looks to have ... The City of Coventry Stadium, sometimes known by its sponsor's name instead. The stadium and some valves. I thought there might be steps here. I don't know what's happened there. First game 2005. Capacity 32609. Record attendance 31407.... 111. Coventry City... A statue of Jimmy Hill, who has been the manager, director and chairman of Coventry City at differen... The City of Coventry Stadium. Although the stadium was built for the football club, the club had a disagreement with the stadium o... Coventry. Coventry. My favourite thing about this road... ... is the taste. These towers signify that I'm finally at the top of the hill. Haltwhistle in Northumberland, where I was about four weeks ago, claims to be the centre of Great Br... Meriden also has an unusual war memorial. It specifically commemorates cyclists who died in the two ... It seems from the various maps that the towpath here is open to bikes but the signs don't say so. Entering the Birmingham conurbation, the second largest built-up area in Britain. A teddy slowly floating down the canal. The sunlight is starting to acquire a warm evening feel. A climbing wall. Nearing the city centre. The roof of Birmingham City's ground is visible on the skyline. An empty street. Birmingham. Children playing football in the street. The two girls in the foreground were taking photographs of ... St. Andrew's, the home of Birmingham City. First game 1906. Capacity 30016. Record attendance 67341. That looks like an awkward place to park. 112. Birmingham City... Outside the stadium. The back of the stadium. The front.... A last view of St. Andrew's. Birmingham. The view from my window. The curved building is Selfridge's department store in the Bullring shopping centre. My room is very near the stairs, and it's got this big-buttoned phone... hang on a minute... ... I've got an accessible room again. This is the third time that's happened: once in a Thistle, on... Birmingham by night. The setting moon has gone a deep orange colour, which hasn't really come across in this pucture. A lot of motorbikes outside my hotel. Embarrassingly, I accidentally set off the emergency alarm in ... A ruined building by the canal. It would be a cloudless sky if it wasn't for this factory. The ornate building is the public swimming baths. I'm feeling the influence of the next football clu... Part of the Gravelly Hill Interchange, better known as Spaghetti Junction. This car appears to have had kittens. The Holte Hotel is named after the owner of Aston Hall, which used to include this land. In turn, Vi... Aston Villa's Villa Park. First game 1897. Current capacity 42682. Record attendance 76588.... They look like some kind of bristly conker. The ground is being prepared for a big match this afternoon: a top division local derby against the ... I believe this is the only football ground in England which you might drive under on your way somewh... 113. Aston Villa... You may have noticed that I've finally got around to using the bike camera mount which I bought in S... It's been 32 days since I last visited a ground from the 1888-1889 League season because all of the ... Another part of the Wellington Road site. I'm now climbing towards the Hawthorns, the highest ground in the top four divisions. An unusual warning. The Hawthorns is named after what was here before the ground was constructed. It's the home to the f... Gates commemorating the player Jeff Astle. I wonder whether they came from the place immediately acr... The hawthorns and a limousine. The Hawthorns. 114. West Bromwich Albion... The big flag is a familiar landmark from the M5. Albion Field Drive, on the site of the Stoney Lane ground, where West Bromwich Albion played from 18... The Stoney Lane site. The bit of road between here and those houses doesn't allow cycling, which must be annoying if you l... Albion Field Drive. You may be familiar with this advertising screen, just a few hundred metres from the RAC building at... Bescot Stadium, the home of Walsall, my last third division club. First game 1990. Capacity 11300. R... Walsall are playing away at Peterborough today but there's a lot of action going on at the pitch rou... 115. Walsall... A traffic jam on the motorway. The entry slip road at the nearby junction is closed. Under the motorway. I've now returned to a region with which I'm reasonably familiar. I've been to this retail park a fe... An unusual window on a church. It looks to me like it was originally intended to be a clock. I'm not sure what it is but I guess I'll be immune from doing it if I don't have a car. A park in Wolverhampton. Opposite the park is Wanderers Avenue, on the site of the Dudley Road ground which was home to Wolve... The first of the 1888-1889 grounds that I visited was that of the other Wanderers, Bolton. I said th... The site of the Dudley Road ground. Wolverhampton, the town of my birth and, thanks to a status upgrade in the year 2000, the city where... Wolverhampton Library. Wolverhampton. Despite mentioning it in my waffle about a film, I didn't go to Letchworth to see the UK's first rou... There's some kind of graduation ceremony going on. As well as the first traffic lights, this was also the site of the UK's first pedestrian safety barr... Just temporarily, my camera has stopped working. It will be all right again in a few minutes. A strange student accommodation building. My last ground, Molineux, the home of second division team Wolverhampton Wanderers.... Here's the football mosaic which featured in ... I haven't seen a sweet stall at a football ground before. The bollard where ... The first game here was in 1889. The capacity is 30852 and the record attendance was 61315. Here are the charts for all of the West Midlands teams.... Since this is the last club on my list, we might as well see the complete chart too.... I'm afraid I don't actually know who he is. He's in front of the Stan Cullis stand but I know from e... A while ago, there was a crowd of fans hanging around the bus. I don't know if it's the one which ha... The name comes from Benjamin Molineux, who bought this land in 1744. I don't really have any interest in football but if I ever have to pick one club to claim to support... I grew up in Luton and in the late 1980s, it seemed strange to me that my dad would support a funny ... This could be my last football food, unless I have something else at half time. There, ... I would guess that the loading bays probably date from the time of horse-drawn drays. You couldn't p... The room in my final hotel has a rather low beam. Wolverhampton. Molineux. The signage directing spectators to their seats is better in this ground than in some others of simi... Interesting. Molineux has one of these walls of names on the inside. I wonder how many of the other ... I'll be sitting right up at the top for this one, with my back against the back wall of the stand. T... Molineux. The problem with having the seats the same colour as the replica shirts is that it's hard to see how... If you don't want to see the final score, ... This was the second goalless game of the nine which I have watched. The fans in the stand at the Eas... Wolverhampton. The building across the road is the Beatties department store. They seem very keen on bridges between buildings in Wolverhampton. This one is at the brewery. The gardens of the City Archives, with the stadium in the background. I'm just a few metres away now from closing the loop and completing a journey of 4497 km, or 2794 mi... 116. Wolverhampton Wanderers.... Back where I started. Thank you very much for following. If you want, you can ...