10 Differences between Albion Rovers and Albion's Plain
- Albion's Plain is famously mentioned in Byron's poem-cum-song Lachin-y-Gair: "Nature of verdure and flow'rs has bereft thee / Yet still are thou dearer than Albion's Plain". First mention of Albion Rovers comes from an even earlier period, in Wm McGurk's 1756 Guide to ye Lande o'Monkf and the Heathen Dwellerf Therein, where on p87 he writes: "And I did then adjourn to a Crude Jouft in which two-and-twenty befhorted Monkf did hack and fprawl each other with great foreneff, paufing in their venom only to fup from copiouf bottlef of Medicinal Wine fupplied by fellow Brotherf from Devonian Pafturef. And there was a Great Curfing and Cacophonouf Blafphemy, and it waf Moft Unfeemly."
- Albion's Plain is a vast unrelenting expanse of stifling tedium, stretching as far as the eye can see in all directions, with absolutely nothing to ease the monotony. An average Albion Rovers season is a bit like this.
- Albion Rovers play in Coatbridge - which, in TAC's new-fangled numbering scheme, is 10:10 (10 letters, all different). Albion's Plain is in England, which checks in at a paltry 6:7. No contest!
- Since the startling rise of Cowdenbeath (up from bottom of Third Division to second bottom), and until Perkin Warbeck's beloved Dundee United finally hit terminal velocity, Albion Rovers are, by common consent, the worst team in the country (a princely eighteen points this season). This means they hold up the rest of Scotland, leaguewise. Albion's Plain, being south of the border, holds up Scotland mapwise.
- Rovers' local Derby is traditionally against the Rangers 3rd XI, Airdrie. However, the Diamonds have recently forsaken their old Broomfield ground for the distant acres of Cumbernauld, while awaiting a new stadium at Glenmavis. Oddly, not only was your TAC editor brought up down on the Plain, near Derby, he also has an Auntie Mavis. Sadly, she is married to Uncle Ken, not Uncle Glen.
- Not really a difference this, more an anecdote: your editor and his sonnet-writing pal Calum (see TAC3, p17) once visited Rovers' sad-but-friendly Cliftonhill Stadium to watch a game against Stranraer. At half-time, they went down into the subterranean tearoom in search of Bovril, where your editor espied, through the tealady's hatch, an oven filled with gleaming pies and bridies. "I'll have one of those please", he said. "No you won't," replied the tealady, "they're for the players!".
- As anyone who has visited Cliftonhill will know, 90% of the stadium is out of bounds, with all the people crammed into a few unpleasantly crowded areas. And as anyone who has tried to go rambling on Albion's Plain will know, the landownership situation there is somewhat similar. The only real difference is that Cliftonhill's average attendance stands at around 200, while that in the "Peak" District is 200 thousand.
- Posh churches in Albion often resound with choristers chanting the appropriately-named Plainsong, usually in unintelligible Latin. Similarly the terraces at Cliftonhill frequently ring with chants of a religious nature, with much mention being made of both the Holy Father and the Temporal Head of the Anglican Church. These chants are usually fairly unintelligible too.
- Rovers are in a state of financial crisis - £220,000 in the red, even more than TAC. This led to a recent supporters' coup when, despite attendances of only a few hundred, the AGM saw director David Lyttle voted out by a 13,500 majority. Some say Albion's Plain is badly in need of something similar, come the election. The only place in Scotland ever to have its own coup was Turriff, near Peterhead, but this was merely the four-legged kind.
- The Cliftonhill pitch is bumpier than most of England.
TAC 23 Index