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The early history


Ashbourne by night. I'm staying in a pub tonight. The only trouble is that nobody could find the key for my room. Nobody... Pub deliveries. Here's my bike. I don't know why there's an unbrella hanging upside-down in the archway. Over the next few days, I will be seeing some of the oldest football clubs in the world so I thought... This is where the ball is thrown in from, often by some local dignitary. In 1928 and 2003, it was do... One of the routes that the game could take away from the car park.... Somewhere around here is the wall which I saw hundreds of people clambering over during the game. I ... I thought it was strange when I was here this Ash Wednesday that many businesses were boarded up as ... Ashbourne... This structure is part of the Green Man and Black's Head Hotel, from where the ball is brought befor... Ashbourne.... Unusual antiques. A church, out of bounds during the game. Ashbourne. This emblem depicts one of the 18-panel leather footballs from the early 20th century. The ball used... Looking back towards the town from the downstream goal. Play could possibly come across this field. Alternatively, it could come along the river. In some years, the game is played almost entirely in t... Was the name "Peak Oil" already taken? A house. Judging by the signs in some surrounding roads, I think that's a coffee factory. I couldn't smell it... The River Dove. Cyclists. After that tiny wedding car which I saw on the first day, things have gone to the other extreme. A lot of my ancestors on my mother's side come from round here. When I was doing some genealogy a fe... Dallow Street features in my family tree. Burton Albion, the team which I saw playing at Bolton a few days ago. Burton Albion is descended from a few other teams which existed in the town back in the early days o... The Pirelli stadium, built on land given by the tyre company. It was opened in 2005. Its capacity is... 21. Burton Albion... This road has a good cycle path. It's a shame about the weather though. The huge A38/A50 roundabout, seen from the middle. This alcove is one of the few places where I can consult the maps without the capacitive touchscreen... This was the site of the Baseball Ground, where Derby County played from 1895 to 1997. It's not actu... I recently saw the TV coverage of an unusual game from the 1970s or 1980s where the ground had been ... Baseball Drive. A statue commemorating the old stadium. The Trent in Derby. This is called the Racecourse Ground because there used to be a racecourse here. It's now the home o... The Racecourse Ground. I cant' remember whether I was intending to touch the grounds that I visit other than the main 116. ... A cycle route sign has directed me through the grounds of this newspaper factory. Pride Park, Derby County's new home. First game 1997. Capacity 33597. Record attendance 33598. I don... Pride Park. Next to Pride Park. The BBC. Pride Park. Pride Park. 22. Derby County... Pride Park, with a Porsche parked outside the players' entrance. Pride Park has just gone up in my estimation. The flag of Derbyshire. Nottingham is acquiring a tram network. Caves in Nottingham. Nottingham. Pipes coming in or out of a hot water supply building. I won't try to feel whether they're warm. ... By a stroke of luck, I've been given one of very few rooms in this hotel with a view in this directi... This thing in the floor of my room looks like an anchor point for people to climb out of the buildin... Ah. It looks like my phone didn't appreciate getting damp. It still mainly works but it can't transf... Going to the Match. Now the zip has come off my fleece. The Trent Bridge Inn. Trent Bridge. Now we come to the most intense part of my trip, where I tick off three sites within 20 minutes and ... The City Ground, seen from Trent Bridge. First game 1898. Capacity 30576. Record attendance 49946.... This must be the most easily accessible ground so far. You can drive through it. 23. Nottingham Forest... Meadow Lane, seen from the City Ground. They are the most closely-spaced professional football groun... Meadow Lane. A boathouse. The City Ground. Nottingham's two football clubs.... Notts County claims to be the oldest league football club in the world, although that's using the de... As far as I know, this is also the only ground on my list where the men's and women's teams of the s... Meadow Lane. First game 1910. Capacity 20211. Record attendance 47310. They wouldn't announce tonigh... 24. Notts County... It's a lot bigger than the Kidderminster ground. Meadow Lane. Meadow Lane. They have a flashier scoreboard than Kidderminster too. Mansfield supporters. Meadow Lane.... Meadow Lane. Half time. Mansfield supporters. Meadow Lane. It looks like there's some kind of fight going on over there. If you don't want to see the final sco... Quite a lot of the County supporters have left already. The final score. After the game. Mansfield fans heading back to the station. I'm pleased to say that although some things have broken today, the bike is still in perfect conditi... I've heard of a 200 4G smartphone which might be a good replacement for the broken one. There are t... Field Mill, the home of Mansfield Town. 25. Mansfield Town... The view from under the stand. I once went shopping in this retail park during a match. I quite liked being able to stand here and ... First game 1861. Capacity 8000. Record attendance 24467. The first ever floodlit competitive footbal... The site of an old mine. My first view of Chesterfield. After visiting the land of my mother's ancestors yesterday, today it'... Chesterfield's famous landmark. Spire Insurance Services. That spire is probably all that Chesterfield is known for. Chesterfield. Chesterfield. The Proact Stadium. It doesn't seem to have a real name. First game 2010. Capacity 10504. Record att... It's on the same site as a large supermarket. Another wall of names. I thought I would let the bike have a go for once. 26. Chesterfield... There's a meeting going on in the boardroom above the coach. The coach will almost certainly be taki... Chesterfield. A band playing at a motorbike showroom. As I rode away, the music faded but I occasionally got a bla... I haven't seen a barber operating from a van before. Dronfield. Ball games derived very loosely from medieval mob football became popular at many of the large schoo... Sheffield FC. The Coach and Horses ground in Dronfield, home to Sheffield FC. That looks like a steel crucible. Steel is of course the major industry in Sheffield. Sheffield. Sheffield. One half of a large bike shop in Bramall Lane. The other half is on the other side of the road. I do... Bramall Lane, the oldest major football stadium in the world. It was originally a cricket ground but... It's nice to ever be able to park this close to a hotel so I certainly didn't expect to be able to p... My room. Come in. Welcome to Sheffield. The view from my window. Bramall Lane. The hotel bar. And again. Outside the stadium. It's easier to find my seat here than at Notts County. This may be the world's oldest major football stadium but today it hosts its first ever competitive ... Bramall Lane. Here's my seat, at the front on the left. Chesterfield fans.... Bramall Lane. Bramall Lane. The mascot and some ball boys. Fans. Bramall Lane. This ground has all four corners enclosed so that you can't see in or out. Two of them have seats in... The stand on the East side is built on a big bank of earth so you can enter at the top from outside. I've realised now that a real centre circle is rather larger than the one marking where the Maine Ro... A minute's applause for some former player who died during the summer. Home fans. Previous grounds have had a kind of single-pronged tool for repairing the pitch. Here, they use rake... Half time. I popped down here to get something to eat and missed a goal. Chesterfield fans taunting us. If you don't want to see the final score, ... So out of three league games so far, I've seen a home win, a home loss and a draw. Emerging from a vomitorium. I was impressed at Notts County that I was off the premises within four ... I spent part of the match setting up my new phone. It seems like pretty much eaxctly what I wanted. 27. Sheffield United... Just a building. The circus is in town. "Proud to have Sheffield cutlery on our tables" High on a hill. The view from a Sheffield suburb. Sandygate, home of Hallam FC, which is the team which played against Sheffield FC in the first ever ... At 252 metres, this not just the oldest but also the highest ground that I will be visiting. I'm gla... Sandygate.	Sandygate. A row of houses. Part of Sheffield University. Sheffield. A milestone. The other side of the Bramall Lane ground. Sheffield.