Sheffield United’s first game under new boss David Weir is a trip to familiar surroundings for those who took in Neil Warnock’s 2006/2007 Pre-Season tour of Scotland, kicking off at Cappielow Park on 3rd July 2013 at 19:30.
Home of Greenock Morton, Cappielow Park is a traditional ground with the character to match, though on our last visit was beginning to show it’s age.
Originally named Morton Football Club, the Ton are one of the oldest clubs in Scotland, founded in 1874. The club were then renamed in 1994 to celebrate and identify with their home town of Greenock. The early years were also the most successful for the club, winning the Scottish Cup in 1922 and achieving their highest league finish in the 1916-1917 season – finishing runners up to champions Celtic.
Holding the record for the most promotions and relegations to and from the Scottish top flight (10 of each), they’ve never competed in the current Scottish Premier League having last been in the Football League Premier Division in 1988. Last season they finished as runners up to Partick Thistle in the Scottish First Division, finishing 11 points behind the Glasgow-based champions and 14 points in front of Falkirk in third.
Morton will be the first of three Scottish First Division opponents, with the Blades going on to fixtures with Cowdenbeath and Raith Rovers before returning home to continue getting to grips with the new gaffer’s ideas.
[fulltitle]Our Last Visit[/fulltitle]
Our previous trip in 2006 resulted in a 3-1 win for the Blades with goals from Neil Shipperley and Rob Kozluk (yes, Rob Kozluk) sandwiching an unfortunate own goal by David McGurn. Warnock also gave a surprise trial to ex-Newcastle United left back Olivier Bernard, who had just been released by Rangers.
It was a pleasant visit with the locals and staff welcoming and eager to share their club with us. Arriving early to the ground we were invited in and given a full tour of the facilities (not a single room in the place was out of bounds!) and had a chat with the friendly Chairman Douglas Rae. We ended up roaming each of the stands in turn, before heading down the tunnel and getting a peek behind the scenes.
[fulltitle]About the ground[/fulltitle]
The ground is of a decent size, holding just over 11000 with over half of that seated; the average attendance is significantly lower than the capacity, hovering around 2000. On our previous visit we were housed in the Grandstand, which is a single tier all seated stand with a number of supporting pillars and striking floodlights mounted to the roof. Directly opposite and to our right, the Ton fans enhabited the Cow Shed and the Sinclair Street end, most choosing to stand rather than cram into the lower seated section of the Cow Shed.
The nearest train station to the ground is Cartsdyke which lies on the Glasgow Central – Gourock line. The journey from Glasgow takes around 40 minutes and the ground is a five minute walk from Cartsdyke Station.
Parking was very easy on our last visit, with a large and free car park across the road from the ground.
For a pre-match drink, the Norseman Bar is located at the bottom of Sinclair Street which welcomes both home and away fans. It’s not somewhere for the real ale enthusiasts, but you’ll get a pint of the usual fayre only minutes away from the turnstiles.
3rd July 2013 – 19:30 – Greenock Morton v. Sheffield United
This year it will again be pay on the gate, cash only, with the following prices:
Adults – £10
Concessions – £5 (Over 65s, Under 18, Students)
Juniors U16 – £3
If you can’t make it, as ever we’ll be updating from the match on Twitter. So if you aren’t already, follow us via http://twitter.com/s24su for coverage.