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Football in Goole is having a mini-revival over the past few months. After the club was reformed a few years ago, the crowds have started to return the VPG. The club is several divisions below their true place and this actually helps the entertainment - Goole have won by over five goals on several occasions.

Football in the dizzy heights of the Midland Supreme Division has its own special charms. You might get a brilliant atmosphere seeing Leeds United play at Elland Road for your £25, but the £3 spent at Goole AFC offers far better value for money. Plus you can turn up to the match at 2.55 and leave by 4.50 without the hassle of a large match.

The idiots from the old Gooligan days have gone (Mrs Thatcher once wrote to Goole thanking them for wrecking her old home town when Goole played at Grantham). In order to show newbies what's involved with a Goole AFC match, and for overseas surfers to see what the atmosphere is like, here is a scrapbook guide to a Saturday afternoon at the VPG.

One of the traditions in Goole is to nip to Jacksons on Boothferry Road to buy a newspaper to read during the boring bits and some crisps to keep you going until the half-time burger. From the shop, walk down Carter Street toward the Victoria Pleasure Grounds. You can see the stand and floodlights as you walk down which adds to the anticipation. You'll notice the people walking towards the ground and the dads taking their kids to the match. You'll also notice that everybody else is carrying a Jacksons bag. As it was cold we decided to pop into the Victoria Club for a swift pint, but it's not compulsory.

When you reach the ground, walk past the little kids playing football in the street, give the nice man your £3 and go through the turnstile - Welcome to the VPG.

The Victoria Pleasure Ground is a shadow of its former self. There is only one stand and a rather decrepit running track around the pitch. Notice how people living on Dunhill Road are watching events from their bedroom windows and the little group of kids playing with a football by the side of the pitch. If you're lucky you'll hear music played from the tannoy. If you're unlucky you'll just about hear the music from a ghetto-blaster at full volume.

At first glance there appears to be alarmingly few facilities. There is a small car park on the grass for players and officials, a burger van for half-time, and a club shop the size of a toilet. However the hidden gem - the bar - is round the back of the stand. Buy a programme, buy a scarf and head for a drink. On the way to the bar, one of the spectators, thinking we were visiting fans told us that there would be mince pies after the match if we wanted to hang around. That made a refreshing change. At Leeds if they think you're a visiting fan, you may get a fist through your forehead.

Next is the easy part and actually watch the football. If you're lucky, Goole will win by several goals, however this will get harder to do as they progress onwards and upwards. Ensure you queue for the burger van early. The "Monster Burger" is particularly pleasant.

After watching the team win, nip back to the bar for a pint and watch the football results on teletext.

Visitor Comments

Posted by Steve on 19/03/2001

The virtual tour of a game is fantastic. I need never leave my house to remind myself of what I am missing - but if you're here you've got to live the dream! The monster burger is still fantastic and yes, despite the upward mobility, Goole have still managed to hit four this season on a couple of occasions - there is still plenty of excitement left in the season, the championship may still be "on" if Brigg are deducted three points and ordered to replay against us. The delights of the VPG are creature comforts compared to some of the delightful grounds in the NCEL

Posted by BB on 06/12/2005

Remember the VPG well: Wrexham in the cup in 1976 - shoulda done 'em, great draw at Wrexham in first game though; great pie and peas with mint sauce.

Went back this year for first time in 28 years. No more Mr Postman or Peters and Lee at half time; no more blue and white stripes; the smell of pipes and ralgex had also gone and there was no Basil Brush on TV when I got home…

Posted by Robert on 05/05/2006

Phew! Goole AFC not relegated. The Unibond and the Goole Times sites both say this. So it's Unibond Divison 1 again in 2006/07. My eleven-year-old son (an Arsenal follower) might stop taking the #### for a while. Had it not been for the formation of a new Midlands league next year involving current Unibond clubs, Goole would be back in the NECL. Hope next season is better. We'll be in the same league as the great Bradford Park Avenue who (sadly) will be coming down from the Premier Division.

Posted by Goole Lad on 10/05/2006

Well I reckon this virtual tour was made in around 1998 or 1999 and, even though we have climbed the non-league pyramid about four leagues since then, things never change. Still the same things with people nipping to Jacksons, although now it is a Sainsbury's, and then off for a quick pint. The only thing that has changed is the ground which has been renovated through the years and a stand has been erected at the Dunhill Road side and plastic seating has been installed along with a nice new bar; still the same old toilet sized club shop though!

Posted by Phil on 16/06/2006

Fond memories of sneaking in to watching Goole Town midweek games by climbing over the wall off the back lane of Dunhill Road with Peter Drury. Also a big thrill to play on "the Wembley sized" pitch in the Short Cup Final for Boothferry Middle vs. Marshlands. Playing extra time and having to share the cup because Town had a match. Left for Canada in 1982 so I never got the chance to watch my older brother play for Goole (but he still mentions the glory years playing with Tony Currie and getting nutmegged while playing a friendly against Man U.)

Is the old Judo club gone from the back of the main stand? Lots of cold Saturday mornings spent there but it was better than the previous club that I remember being upstairs behind a hotel. The Station Hotel if I remember correctly. Great trip down memory lane with the virtual tour.

Posted by Goole Fan on 12/12/2006

This guide is well out of date. The ground has been developed since the reporter went to his only ever Goole game. Looking at it, this was the FA Vase game against Bermerton Heath, when Goole was still in the Central Midlands League (att. 582).

The pies and peas and all the food is now done via the catering section of the ground and not a van, the toilets are disgusting and always have been. It is just a pity the running track is still there as it is not used anymore and just hampers the atmosphere of the ground.

The tannoy system has been upgraded and now sounds very good, you can hear the team announced near West Park!

The main stand stanchions and roof desperately need a clean and paint job which would make the ground look even better. How about a stand built on the grass verge behind the goal on the Dunhill Road and Railway ends?

Posted by GMC on 27/03/2009

It's good to see that teams like Goole can survive! Onwards and Upwards!

Posted by Fitz on 04/11/2009

Was one of the original Gooligans that followed Goole Town all over. Great times in the 1980s. We are nearly all in our 40s now. There does not seem to be any lads in town that are up for it nowadays. We were loved by many and hated by a lot more but to us it was just a good laugh and piss up.

Posted by CA on 15/01/2010

What about when the football showbiz XI came to play at the pleasure grounds? Tommy Steele, Mike and Bernie Winters, Jess Conrad and others whose names escape me and so does the year possibly late-1950s. Tommy Steele shook hands with my little sis.

Posted by Bill on 14/05/2010

I remember that showbiz football match. We looked through one of the open windows to the changing rooms and asked a semi clad Mike (or Bernie) Winters if we could have his autograph. To which he replied "do you mind", which I suppose was quite restrained in the circumstances.

Posted by Jan on 12/11/2010

I certainly remember the showbiz football team playing at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds. I was in heaven for weeks after because Jess Conrad smiled at me! I was in the girl guides and we got in free to sell programmes. It was fab. I remember the bus pulling away with the stars in. That's when Jess looked out of the window and smiled at me.

Posted by Dave on 20/01/2010

My last visit to the VPG was when Paddy Buckley (a family friend) was manager of the "Town" back in the late-1980s. The side included Gary Ingham, Mark "Buzz" Burrows, Ray McHale and the great Paul Showler et al. and was the one that went on to beat Barrow in the NPL League Cup Final that year at Maine Road (remember the penalty shootout?).

Just one question though… is Chippy Dicks still on Carter Street?

Posted by Patrick on 14/05/2010

I remember watching Goole Town in the days of Jimmy Kelly, a brilliant non-league winger. I try and get over to watch once or twice a year. It's good to go back to your roots from time to time.

Posted by Paul on 02/11/2010

Best right winger I saw in the early 1950s was Mickey Walker, a non-league Stanley Mathews or so I thought at the time. He even had a football with his name on it purchased from Gates the cobbler on Amy Street. His wife Dora ran the fish and chip shop in Weatherill Street

Posted by Andy on 18/12/2012

My great-grandfather Ernest Kent was chairman from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Posted by Tom on 07/01/2013

The best days were without doubt the 1960s. Jim Kelly, John Powell, Jeff Barmby, Paul Feesey (Manager), Joe Stocks (plus his whippets), Thompson (went to Hartlepool), Tony Galvin (went to Spurs), Brooksy (broke his leg just turning round), Allen Shaw (smallest man in the football league) and in the Northern Premier League as well.

Goalkeeper one of three brothers in football. Eleventh man cannot remember

Posted by Pete on 19/08/2013

Looking at these comments made me think about when I was with Goole Harriers, but I am amazed that no one has mentioned that all the great stars of football have played there. I remember England All Stars playing Manchester United during the 1970s. Can anyone else remember that? I got all the autographs… Bobby Charlton, Jackie Charlton, Alan Clarke, Billy Bremner… just to name a few.

Posted by Tom on 17/12/2014

I went to Goole Town in 1971 to help my friend Alan Turner out for a few weeks to help out with some of the younger players. I enjoyed the lack of hassle that is always present in the Football League. I enjoyed it so much I stayed around eight seasons playing with many different characters and getting further up the league with each season. Alan was a good manager with a good attitude towards his players proven by the many good results achieved. I was lucky to be granted a testimonial and managed to get together a selection of well-known international players to play against Man Utd - the night was a great success. I can't thank Alan Turner and Goole Town enough for the good times I had there.

Posted by Paul on 07/01/2020

I remember Tom Wilson's testimonial, fantastic night. My grandad was Tommy Campsell, who made Goole Town FC his life. He put a lot of time and effort with running the club. On Tom's testimonial night I was fortunate to be in a penalty prize comp - think I was eleven at the time.

I was always travelling away on the supporters/players bus as my dad Jimmy was the driver. They were great days and all the players were proper gents. For me these days were Goole's best, never met any of the players since.

Posted by Tricia on 25/11/2014

Can anyone help me identify a medal I found in my late father's possessions? I think it is football related as I remember going to watch Goole Town with him in the 1960s but could be completely wrong. The "silver" medal is a cartouche shape and in the middle is a circle and within that is a shield depicting three birds (ducks?) and under that a galleon type vessel and under that the word "ADVANCE". On the reverse side it says G. & T. FA. MINOR CUP WINNERS 1947-48. I have guessed (probably wrongly) that this might be Goole and Thorne FA? Dad never played football so I don't know how he came by it. There are also some stamp marks at the bottom which I cannot read and at the very bottom F&S.

Posted by Goolie Gone on 16/03/2017

Some of you must remember Brian "Cus" Howard, one-time Goole Town centre forward (as "strikers" were known back then). I saw Cus many a time at VPG, after he joined Town from Goole Dockers. I remember the brief Dockers' match reports in the back pages of the Goole Times - reports such as "Howard nets five in Dockers rout" being typical.

Cus was a real warrior on the pitch, always getting stuck in, but he suffered some brutal treatment from many of the visitors' defenders. Things were very different back then - by today's standards, some of those visiting teams would be finishing the game with seven of eight players on the pitch.

Having said all that, the likes of Town's Walt Brewin could dish out a bit of stick!

Posted by John on 05/01/2021

Can anyone tell me about Jimmy Kelly's time with Goole, and how long he was there for? I heard he recently died (October). He was a Queensbury lad who started with Halifax Town.

Posted by Tom on 11/01/2021

He was signed from Halifax Town when Jack Bennion became manager in 1964-65. He was a brilliant inside forward or wingman, mainly No. 8. I left Goole in the 1970s and he was still playing. Must have played well over 200/300 games for Goole. Fantastic ball control. At the time he joined we some top class forwards, particularly Jeff Barmby and Johnny Powell, but I reckon Jim was the best. Very sad news.

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