Yes it’s been called The Indodrill Stadium since 2014 but if The Recs was good enough for my old workmate Neil Lennox, the only Wasps fan I ever knew, then it’s good enough for me…
The Faroes trip looks like it might run to 4 or 5 instalments so I’ll space them out between Scottish blogs. By the time I visited The Recs in 1992 their new stand had been up for a year so I never saw the old one. I searched long and hard on the internet but could only find this photo from the 1930s, origin unknown.
Then I remembered Simon Inglis’ book of the football grounds of Great Britain and sure enough, it contains this photo by Jim McAusland:
The next couple are from 1992 when The Wasps beat local rivals East Stirlingshire 1-0 and if I remember correctly there was a Dutch groundhopper completing his Scottish grounds and he was on the park at half time, being introduced to the crowd. In 1994 I saw them defeat Ross County 2-0 on a Tuesday night in February in front of a bumper crowd. This was County’s last Cup match as a non-League side.
The Wasps were formed as Clackmannan County in 1878 and gained entry to the Scottish league in 1921. The club’s only National trophy is the Challenge Cup of 1999 which they won on spot-kicks after a remarkable 4-4 draw with much-fancied ICT at Airdrie. I know because I was there 😦
They have played at Recreation Park since 1895, and their record crowd, in a match against Celtic in the 1954-5 season, is claimed to be 15467.
For eight years I worked in the next room to Tom Hendrie, teaching maths, and he had two spells in charge of Alloa. He also had his own phone, as the Alloa Advertiser had a habit of ringing for a quote during classes. The first spell, 1996-8, coincided with ICT storming the Div 3 title, and he was in denial one Wednesday morning in 1997 as ICT had taken a big step towards the title by winning comprehensively 2-0 at Alloa the night before. Of course Tom didn’t see it that way! Our school, Lasswade High, produced a few good players, amongst them Paul ‘Peanut’ Sheerin, who was to play for both clubs. Tom was to take Alloa up as champions the following year and earn a full-time contract with St Mirren. Terry ‘The Duffle’ Christie kept his seat warm until he returned to Alloa (and to teaching) in 2003.
ICT under Steve Paterson achieved a remarkable record in 1998-9 when they scored in all 36 league matches. In May 1999 they were 1-0 down against Alloa in the final match until Graham ‘Spider’ Stewart struck to equalise with six minutes left and preserve ICT’s unbeaten home record into the bargain.
As ICT progressed up through the league system they crossed swords with the Wasps a few times, as Alloa laid claim to being the best part-time team in Scotland by punching above their weight. Mind you, they suffered a few hidings at the hands of ICT along the way, especially in 2002-3. The photo above came when I was experimenting with my first digital camera and shows a Paul Ritchie thunderbolt hurtling past Jim Evans to put ICT 4-0 up before half time, Dennis Wyness already having notched a hat-trick. Ritchie also got 3 in a 6-0 win, and later in the season Ritchie again scored 3 in a 5-1 win. However The Wasps did manage two draws at Inverness that year.
On to the present day. After an interval of 13 years I visit the Recs for a League Cup tie and the first thing you see on the approach is the name change. Inside, the south terracing has a cover and the Hilton Road terrace has been demolished (and used in the construction of the Clackmannanshire bridge) and replaced by one of those tented stand things. Maybe it came from Falkirk or Stenny, somebody will know. EDIT – Waspie tells me it came from Glamorgan County CC. Thanks 😉
The Railway End is the same, but you can’t drive up Hilton Road past the ground to Sauchie any more. There’s a KFC where you can only park for an hour and the old club car park has gone (looks like it’ll be more houses then).
On the park, Alloa are the seeded team even though they’re 2 divisions below ICT. This is due to the bizarre group system that the SPFL has introduced this season, although most people seem to have found the change for the better despite all the gloom and doom when it was announced.
Being seeded or not makes no difference. It was always going to be a tough draw for Inverness and so it proved. Despite dominating the early stages and Polworth hitting the bar, a sense of inevitability set in after Jason Marr scored a scrappy goal when ICT failed to deal with a corner.
After that we were treated to the all-too familiar sight of a team allowing ICT to play passes all night in front of them without actually creating chances and it was no surprise when The Wasps, marshalled by veteran Jim Goodwin, held on to claim another scalp. They will now meet Celtic at Parkhead which should please the Chairman, Mike Mulraney. Complete that simple task and they’re in the last 4. Good luck to them.