24th March 2012
Irn Bru League Division 2
Brechin City 1-3 East Fife
Glebe Park, Brechin
Founded in 1906, Brechin City are the amalgamation of junior sides Brechin Harp and Brechin Hearts. The club started to play their football at their Glebe Park home in 1919 – a ground with unbelievable character.
Take their pitch for instance. UEFA states that a pitch must be seventy yards wide. Brechin City’s pitch is only sixty-seven yards wide. For most clubs, the solution would be easy. A simple extension at each side of the pitch would fix the problem and everyone could get on with their lives. There’s only one problem though. One glorious, fragrant, twiggy, pitch-length problem.
The Stadium (quirkiness and comfort) - 10/10
Before arriving at Glebe Park I had heard many great things about Brechin’s hedge. Stories of its wonder and its delights have become folklore across Scotland and beyond. To see it in all its glory though was life-changing.
As well as basically having a hedge in place of a stand, Glebe Park also offers many other quirky delights such as the church spire overlooking the Main Stand – which itself is tiny, runs less than half the length of the pitch and straddles the halfway line. One of the ends backs onto a cemetery and the other is a smart looking new stand (built in the 1990s) called the Trinity Road End set well back from the pitch, sitting upon a raised banking.
Basically, Glebe Park is absolutely mental. To get to the women’s toilets for instance (I was with the wife, so no need for smart-ass comments) apparently you need to head through parts of the Main Stand, past the director’s boxes and use the toilets that sit next to the player’s dressing rooms.
One really nice touch is at the Cemetery End, where they have hand prints in the concrete with plaques above each of the handprint reading “Brechin City Supporter since XXXX (date)” and then the person’s name.
Overall, I think Glebe Park is probably the best ground at which I’ve watched footie so far in this project. It is absolutely crazy that in the one stadium you’ve got four completely different means of watching the game. From sitting in the modern Trinity Road End to standing in the covered, cemetery end and from the bizarre but seated Main Stand to the world-famous hedge where again, you have to stand, you have a veritable smorgasbord of options! Full marks!
Catering (quality and price) 10/10
Another thing I’d heard a shed load about before going to Glebe Park was the soup. “The best soup you’ll have ever tasted”, someone said. Well, I wouldn’t go that far….but I would go as far as to say it was absolutely fantastic! For only £1, you can get a home-made Scotch Broth style soup that is “thick like your granny would make it” – Scottish followers will know what I mean. Non-Scottish followers…..come up and try it!
I also had the pie and tea combo, as standard when on OTWRB duty and again, it was smashing stuff. The pie was truly superb. Really tasty, good consistency and good value at £1.40. When combined with the tea at £1.00, you’re looking at a fine catering experience at Brechin City. Can’t believe I’m saying it again but folks……it’s top marks!
Unfortunately, this is where the top marks end. Brechin won’t score badly in any of the ensuing sections, but the catering and stadium are definitely the best things about Glebe Park.
Fans (scored on both atmosphere & conduct – sporting behaviour, welcoming nature etc) - 19/25
That isn’t to say the fans were a shambles, of course, there just wasn’t very many of them…bizarrely. I wasn’t expecting a 3,000 sell out, but I didn’t expect the home fans to be almost (if not actually) outnumbered by the travelling support from Fife. I did find that rather disappointing, actually.
Nonetheless, those who were there were lovely to be around. A fine mixture of old boys who love the club and a leisurely day out at Glebe Park, to the younger fellas who had a great sense of humour, fun banter and healthy support for their club. They also demonstrated a healthy appreciation for the opposition who were superior on the day, offering a sporting round of applause when the Fifers smashed home a couple of fine strikes.
By no means a poor score, but I couldn’t legitimately score the fans higher than I have based on this match and turnout.
Entertainment on the pitch (quite self explanatory) - 16/25
In terms of match entertainment, I found the Glebe Park side reasonably entertaining. I suspect that the players that are in the squad are actually a hell of a lot better than they are maybe showing, though. At times, the team seem to be a bit defensive, play a bit deep and opt for a longer and more direct ball. This is a little disappointing because I think there are some excellent ball players in the Brechin squad. I’m not sure if the fans would agree with this summary or not, if they are frustrated by some of the more defensively-minded tactics that Brechin appear to be using, but when they were 2-1 down and came out fighting and used the wide men to good effect, they really caused East Fife a lot of problems.
Some players worth a mention:
Paul McManus: I couldn’t do a Brechin City focused blog without mentioning “Shagger” himself. I think he’s a very useful footballer indeed. His goal scoring record this season certainly backs this up. He works his socks off for the team, with good movement, a decent spring, and a constant goal-threat, he seems pretty central to everything City do. He did miss a few chances which, I suspect, he’d have put away on another day but you couldn’t fault his work rate or desire. He, apparently, also shags ten birds a night. Or so the song goes!
Rory McKenzie: the young fella on loan from Kilmarnock has got a future ahead of him in my opinion. He’s only 18 years of age but has a very good touch, quick feet and an excellent cross on him. He probably needs to work on a few things, composure in front of goal for instance. Overall though, really good player and a clever signing on loan from Jim Weir.
Bryan Hodge: For a boy of 24, he’s already been on the books of seven clubs. That said, he may have found a home at Brechin City. He’s a very good player. Naturally left footed, but decent with his swinger (unusual for a left footer some might say) he offers a good option on the wing for the home team. He works well with the central midfielders, covers well for his full back and looks like he might have a fair strike on him as well.
Value for money (what you get for your buck) - 20/30
For £12, Brechin is well worth a visit. Good food and a stadium that is simply brilliant. I could imagine on a sunny day, there’d be very few places in the world better to watch a game of football. And that hedge? Wooft! The fans were good to be around. Very pleasant and welcoming I would say. My only gripe is that I felt the team played well within their actual capabilities and it has cost them in terms of entertainment factor and thus, brings down their overall value for money scoring.
Although Brechin is somewhat out of the way, not being served by a train station, those who haven’t been really need to go. Whether you need to take your own car, hire a car, get a train to Montrose and bus it across to the town….Brechin City and Glebe Park are a must visit.
Overall score for Brechin City – 75/100