This new feature on gpfootball.com will cover GP visiting various football stadiums throughout the season,uplfting football programmes from random football matches :-
6. Hibernian v Ayr United / Edinburgh City v Montrose - 17.09.16
As the sun was shining, it was an easy decision where to uplift today, with both Hibernian & Edinburgh City playing at home and the short distance between both stadiums it was a train trip to Edinburgh.
After walking from train station down to Easter Road there was certainly Sunshine on Leith today, it was a roasting hot afternoon, on route to stadium the new sign displaying David Gray holding aloft Scottish Cup is clearly visible.
New David Gray with Scottish Cup sign
Programmes were purchased from programme seller at Easter Road, then on walk to Meadowbank Stadium I passed a former Scotland Internationalist who was walking unrecognised which was strange as he played for both Hibernian & Heart of Midlothian plus Chelsea & Dundee United. Anyone that watched Dundee United european matches in the 80s will remember Eamonn Bannon.
Hibernian v Ayr United programme
Once arriving at Meadowbank Stadium, advised was there to uplift programmes and was allowed entry into the stadium to go to programmes table within the concourse. Apart from uplifting today's programme was able to purchase programmes from other home games already played this season which made it a good days uplift.
5. Albion Rovers v St Mirren - 03.09.16
With it being an international fixtures weekend, the only professional football in Scotland being played today was the Irn Bru Cup and after looking at the fixtures, decided to watch Albion Rovers v St Mirren tie and uplift programmes from Cliftonhill.
Albion Rovers are based in Coatbridge, if travelling by train to watch your team play at Albion Rovers,there are two train stations in Coatbridge, Coatdyke & Coatbridge Sunnyside, however Coatdyke is a ten minute walk to stadium.
Before setting off I messaged Albion Rovers striker Ryan Wallace,St Mirren Assistant Manager David Farrell & Albion Rovers website/programme designer Stephen McEwan that hopefully may get a chat with them when at stadium.
After a twenty minute train journey from Bathgate to Coatdyke then a ten minute walk and I was at stadium.
Front entrance of Cliftonhill Stadium
Having previously dealt with Albion Rovers regarding programmes and found them a friendly club,it was no surprise when just inside the stadium I was chartting with the current club Chairman and he was advising what the people i used to know at club were doing with themselves now.
Next stop was the club shop/cafe portacabin where today's programme and previous current season programmes were purchased,then once out the portacabin planned to take photos of parts of stadium that have been improved since last at stadium, however that was delayed due to a groundhopper speaking to me & club shop worker coming out to chat before getting a quick word with David Farrell who was on the park getting organised for St Mirren players pre-match warm up,
The last time i spoke with David was a completely different setting,it was at a golf club in Glasgow at the launch of his book.
David Farrell's excellent book
Before the match started I recognised an Albion Rovers coach but was trying to figure out who it was, eventually came to me it was Brian Kerr the ex Newcastle United,Hibernian & Motherwell player.
New Terracing behind goals since my last visit
The game started with a flurry of first half goals as Albion Rovers went into a two goal lead before St Mirren scored three times to take the lead only for Albion Rovers to go back up the park and equalise. The young Albion Rovers centre half scoring two of the goals for his team with good strikes.
Just before half time i noticed Stephen McEwan, so went and had a chat with him, Stephen had designed previous gpfootball.com website for me at the time he was self employed, he is a big Albion Rovers supporter who designs the website & programme for the club. It was good to see him again and have a chat.
Half-Time came with clubs tied at 3-3 and unfortunately although it was an end to end cup tie there were no further goals in the second half. The one surprise to me was Albion Rovers substituting Ryan Wallace after an hour as he had played well and was a constant threat to the two tall St Mirren central defenders, however Stephen advised that this was Ryan's first game back after injury.
The match finished 3-3 therefore we had another thirty minutes extra time, during extra time St Mirren took the lead and then Albion Rovers had a player sent off which helped St Mirren close the game out to win the match 4-3.
It was an enjoyable two hours football, not the most skilful of matches but competitive for the 711 crowd plus I agreed with the sponsors man of the match who was Albion Rovers number four Gary Fisher who had a superb game.
As the players were leaving the pitch,managed to get a quick word with Ryan Wallace, who has promoted Dunfermline Athletic programmes on gpfootball.com for last three seasons before he joined Albion Rovers for this season.
Ryan Wallace gpfootball banner.
Two hours of cup football for £10 admission at a very friendly football club, a catch up with some contacts and a good programmes uplift ensured a good day out.
Albion Rovers v St Mirren programme
To purchase today's programme, visit gpfootball.com
4. Livingston v Stenhousemuir - 20.08.16
It was an easy decision which stadium I was visiting today to uplift programmes due to the torrential rain in Bathgate.
A short drive to local club Livingston, who were playing Stenhousemuir today was the planned uplift.
On arrival at stadium, there are stewards stopping cars and collecting £5 charge for parking, fortunately as I am just in to uplift programmes I am waved through to go and park car.
Livingston Main Entrance
The club shop at Livingston is small in size but is well stocked with merchandise and Livingston supporters receive excellent customer service from Dave who runs the shop as he has great knowledge of the products.
Livingston Club Shop
As dealing with Dave regarding programmes is straightforward, programmes are purchased and then a quick chat about how club has got off to a winning start in their league campaign.
It would be ideal if purchasing programmes at other club shops was as straightforward.
Livingston v Stenhousemuir matchday programme
To purchase today,s programme, visit www.gpfootball.com
3. Hibernian v Dunfermline Athletic - 13.08.16
As it was quiet for previous match at Easter Road, decided to uplift again at Easter Road for opening league match between Hibernian & Dunfermline Athletic where a big crowd was expected and it turned out to be the biggest attendance for all games played today in Scotland.
On train from Bathgate to Edinburgh Waverley Station, could gauge it would be busy as each stop at train stations on way in had plenty of Hibernian supporters arriving on train.
The walk down to the stadium was longer due to the volume of people walking to the match and stadium was far busier than tuesday evening, with the club shop mobbed the programmes were purchased from one of programme sellers at the ground, although soon had a queue behind me as seller had to match up programme with collectors card that was issued with today,s programme, think the seller normally only hands out one or two programmes to his normal customers.
David Gray collector card supplied with programme
Walking back to the train station was hard work,as going towards large crowds heading to stadium ensured a longer walk with constant stopping & starting.
Hibernian v Dunfermline Athletic matchday programme
To purchase today,s programme, visit www.gpfootball.com
2. Hibernian v Queen of the South - 09.08.16
Next uplift was back to Edinburgh to collect programmes on a wet tuesday evening at Easter Road for Betfred Cup match between Hibernian & Queen of the South.
Train journey from Bathgate to Edinburgh Waverley Station is straightforward then its a brisk walk down to stadium, compared to previous uplift this was a direct walk to stadium and back to train station.
There was not a large crowd outside stadium, therefore shop was quiet and was able to purchase programmes quickly. After uplifting programmes had a walk round to main entrance to see if Scottish Cup was still on display,however was not displayed tonight.
Hibernian Club Shop
Last season I helped out Hibernian Ladies team by producing matchday programmes for them and is good to see two of the players, Joelle Murray & Kirsty Smith feature on club shop window displaying new season kits.
Hibernian Badge at side of main entrance
Since Hibernian added club badge on wall at side of main entrance it has become popular for supporters to have photos taken underneath badge, tonight was no exception and I received a request from a supporter to take his photo for him as he advised that he was from Vancouver and was attending tonight's match.
Hibernian v Queen of the South matchday programme
To purchase tonight's matchday programme, visit www.gpfootball.com
1. Edinburgh City v Forfar Athletic - 06.08.16 / Heart of Midlothian v Celtic - 07.08.16
Today's plan is to visit Meadowbank Stadium, home of the new League 2 club Edinburgh City, as this is their first ever match in the SPFL. However there was a slight change to plan after I noticed that Heart of Midlothian advertised that programmes for the following days match against Celtic were now on sale in club shop. To take advantage of this I got the earlier train from Bathgate to Edinburgh Haymarket station then took a short walk to Tynecastle Stadium to uplift first batch of programmes.
Heart of MIdlothian club shop
For whatever reason, last season Heart of Midlothian chose not to deal with football programme dealers and programmes are only sold in club shop, however as always the service from the employees in club shop is excellent and programmes were quickly purchased.
Heart of Midlothian v Celtic matchday programme
From a previous uplift Hearts Legend John Robertson promotes programmes at GP
After leaving Tynecastle I had estimated a forty five minute walk to Meadowbank Stadium, but as I am not a culture vulture never realised that Edinburgh Festival was on. As a result of this the centre of Edinburgh was mobbed, so instead of a direct walk it was longer as I was constantly swerving past people. This resulted in arriving at Meadowbank at half past two which caused a slight panic when noticing that there was nobody selling programmes outside the main stand.
Edinburgh City FC sign at stadium
After asking stewards at turnstyle, today's programme was being sold in the concourse at other side of turnstyle and with help of one of stewards who advised programmes seller, a box was then found and batch of programmes were handed out, whilst waiting a club official came to assist only to find out he was sent an email a few weeks ago regarding Edinburgh City programmes and he had not replied. Hopefully our discussion will ensure that Edinburgh City programmes will be sold in future at gpfootball.com
Historic Edinburgh City v Forfar Athletic matchday programme
Main covered stand at Meadowbank Stadium.
For anyone old enough to remember, Meadowbank Stadium is primarily an Athletics stadium and where Meadowbank Thistle FC used to play all home games until club left to a new build stadium in Livingston and changed name to Livingston FC.
Retro Meadowbank Thistle matchday programme
With both programme uplifts completed, it was a walk back to Edinburgh Waverley Station for train to Bathgate and then home to add both matchday programmes on gpfootball.com and ready for sale.
To purchase matchday programmes displayed,visit www.gpfootball.com