Theo Streete played just ten matches as a professional footballer. His is the sort of blink and you miss it pro career that in most instances would fade away everywhere but a listing in a tattered Rothmans Annual. Not Streete however, instead he has an eternal residency as a footnote in South Yorkshire sporting history. That is because one hour into a match in late December 2006 he took an ambitious pot shot on goal from out on the right wing, and through doing so became that last ever goalscorer at Doncaster Rovers’ Belle Vue ground.
A lot of club honours in football can be surpassed; trophies are only held for a year whilst players can score more goals, make more appearances, be younger on debut or older on retirement, be bought or sold for more money. Yet being the last goalscorer at an old ground, or indeed the first goalscorer at a new one is a very finite honour; one of few in football from which you can never be displaced.
This notion, of bringing the curtain down on an old home, or ushering in a new era has long fascinated me; possibly due to the trajectory of Theo Streete’s career. The idea that such an honour can potentially fall on someone, anyone by chance, or by circumstance has an element of romance. It’s an honour that can befall everyday people. There was a lad called Jamie Green lived down my dad’s road, he played in midfield for the village team Rossington Main a couple of seasons back, but three years earlier he arrived in the penalty area at just the right time to score the last goal at Millmoor.
It only takes a second to score a goal we’re told, and so in such a brief moment in time you can change your entire placing in the game, in the same way Streete did. Mark McCammon scored Doncaster’s first goal at the Keepmoat Stadium, but for the agility of Matt Glennon or the width of the crossbar at the South Stand end, that honour could just as easily have gone to Paul Heffernan or Pawel Abbott respectively.
In the 25 years since the Taylor Report a lot of teams have moved on from tired old tumble-down homes to modern concrete bowls; grounds and parks have become stadiums and arenas. But despite all the Football League sides who had moved on I could find no comprehensive record of who had scored their last goal at their former home, or the first goal at their sleek new one. To me that seemed something of a tragedy, that these impromptu stars had not been recognised. So I made one and you can find that below complete with links to the goals themselves wherever I have been able to find them.
Theo Streete has gone on to forge a decent semi-pro career at the top level of non-league. Four years after his defining moment, I stood at Worcester City’s St George’s Lane (also now sadly defunct) and watched him take a similarly optimistic punt at goal for Alfreton Town; that one landed in the Birmingham canal. His shot at Belle Vue could just as easily have ended up on the roof of Asda – it certainly should’ve been saved by Nottingham Forest’s Paul Smith. Such is fate. Instead a player that would have been forgotten, now has an honour that can’t be taken from him, ensuring that when housing was finally built on the site of Belle Vue, there was an inevitable campaign for a Theo Street among its roads.
LAST GOAL: Jake Hyde; 1-0 vs Wycombe Wanderers (April 2013)
FIRST GOAL: Luke Gambin; 3-0 vs Chester (August 2013)
LAST GOAL: Steadman Callender (Erith Town); 6-3 vs Erith Town (August 2020)
Brentford Community Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Ethan Pinnock; 1-1 (4-2 on penalties) vs Wycombe Wanderers (September 2020)
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
LAST GOAL: Stuart Storer; 1-0 vs Doncaster Rovers (April 1997)
FIRST GOAL: Darren Freeman; 6-0 vs Mansfield (August 1999)
LAST GOAL: Danny Ward (Huddersfield Town); 2-3 vs Huddersfield Town (April 2011)
FIRST GOAL: Billy Sharp (Doncaster Rovers); 2-1 vs Doncaster Rovers (August 2011)
LAST GOAL: Brian Scrimegeour (Chesterfield); 1-1 vs Chesterfield (April 1986)
FIRST GOAL: Lee Archer; 1-1 vs Stockport County (August 1996)
LAST GOAL: Jon Stead (Ipswich Town); 0-3 vs Ipswich Town (April 2009)
Cardiff City Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Michael Chopra; 4-0 vs Scunthorpe United (August 2009)
LAST GOAL: Graham Abel; 2-0 vs Rotherham United (April 1990)
FIRST GOAL: Chris Beaumont (Stockport County); 1-2 vs Stockport County (August 1992)
LAST GOAL: Richard Creswell (Stoke City); 0-1 vs Stoke City (April 2008)
FIRST GOAL: Mark Yeates; 2-2 vs Oldham Athletic (August 2008)
LAST GOAL: Neil Wainwright; 2-2 vs Leyton Orient (May 2003)
FIRST GOAL: Danny Williams (Kidderminster Harriers); 0-2 vs Kidderminster Harriers (August 2003)
LAST GOAL: Ben Ford (own goal for Darlington); 3-1 vs Kettering Town (April 2012)
FIRST GOAL: Mark Beck; 3-2 vs FC Halifax Town (December 2016)
FIRST GOAL: Arthur Charlesworth; 1-0 vs Gainsborough Trinity (August 1922)
LAST GOAL: Theo Streete; 1-0 vs Nottingham Forest (December 2006)
FIRST GOAL: Mark McCammon; 3-0 vs Huddersfield Town (January 2007)
LAST GOAL: Phil Starbuck; 2-1 vs Blackpool (April 1994)
John Smiths Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Simon Garner (Wycombe Wanderers); 0-1 vs Wycombe Wanderers (August 1994)
Athletic Ground, London Road
LAST GOAL: Nigel Donn (own goal for Stafford Rangers); 4-2 vs Stafford Rangers (April 1988)
FIRST GOAL: Phil Williams (Walton & Hersham); 4-5 vs Walton & Hersham (August 2012)
LAST GOAL: Michael Svensson (Southampton); 0-1 vs Southampton (May 2003)
City of Manchester Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Trevor Sinclair; 5-0 vs The New Saints (August 2003)
LAST GOAL: Mike Davies (Bristol Rovers); 0-3 vs Bristol Rovers (May 1993)
The New Den
FIRST GOAL: John Kerr; 1-4 vs Southend United (August 1993)
LAST GOAL: J. Prew; 1-0 vs Barry Town (April 1992)
FIRST GOAL: L. Jones; 4-0 vs Redditch United (August 1994)
LAST GOAL: Adrian Cieslewicz (Wrexham); 0-1 v Wrexham (April 2012)
FIRST GOAL: Aaron O’Connor; 4-0 vs Nuneaton Town (August 2012)
LAST GOAL: Steve Wilkinson (Mansfield Town); 0-1 vs Mansfield Town (October 1994)
FIRST GOAL: Martin Aldridge; 1-1 vs Barnet (October 1994)
LAST GOAL: Jamie Green; 1-0 vs Barnet (May 2008)
Don Valley Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Reuban Reid; 1-0 vs Lincoln City (August 2008)
LAST GOAL: Adebayo Akinfenwa (Northampton Town); 1-1 vs Northampton Town (May 2012)
New York Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Daniel Nardiello; 3-0 vs Burton Albion (August 2012)
LAST GOAL: Kevin Rapley (Leigh Genesis); 1-1 vs Leigh Genesis (April 2007)
Flamingo Land Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Michael Coulson; 1-1 vs Marske United (August 2017)
LAST GOAL: Nick Fenton (Grimsby Town); 2-2 vs Grimsby Town (May 2007)
The New Meadow
FIRST GOAL: Darran Kempson; 1-0 vs Colchester United (August 2007)
LAST GOAL: Andy Hunt (West Bromwich Albion); 2-1 vs West Bromwich Albion (May 1997)
FIRST GOAL: Graham Kavanagh; 1-1 vs Rochdale (August 1997)
LAST GOAL: Andy Robinson; 2-1 vs Wrexham (May 2005)
FIRST GOAL: Adebayo Akinfenwa; 1-0 vs Tranmere Rovers (August 2005)
LAST GOAL: Paul Dickov (Manchester City); 1-1 vs Manchester City (May 1999)
FIRST GOAL: Simon Haworth; 3-0 vs Scunthorpe United (August 1999)
LAST GOAL: Ian Wright (Crystal Palace); 0-3 vs Crystal Palace (May 1991)
FIRST GOAL: Robbie Earle; 2-0 vs West Ham United (August 1991)
LAST GOAL: David Connolly; 2-1 vs Burnley (May 2003)
FIRST GOAL: Berry (Chipstead); 1-2 vs Chipstead (August 2002)
LAST GOAL: Paddy Madden (Fleetwood Town); 1-2 vs Fleetwood Town (February 2020)
FIRST GOAL: Joe Pigott; 2-2 vs Doncaster Rovers (November 2020)
Some things stand out from that list; notably Ian Wright’s existence as some sort of football ground grim reaper; not content with scoring a hat-trick for Crystal Palace in the last game at Plough Lane, he also scored the death knell at the Baseball Ground too. Adebayo Akinfenwa also appears twice; bringing the curtain down on Don Valley’s football existence and drawing a ball into his orbit long enough to christen the Liberty Stadium in 2005 as well.
There are some big names on that list; it’s hard to imagine a player so much of the modern era like Craig Bellamy ever playing at such a relic as Elm Park never mind scoring there, whilst there will be few more fitting scorers than Matt Le Tissier curling in the final goal at The Dell.
Interestingly, but for Andy Hunt’s consolation goal for West Brom in the final game of the 1996-97 season Graham Kavanagh would have the unique distinction of scoring the last goal at Stoke’s former ground and the first one at their new ground. And spare a thought for Walsall’s Matty Bryant whose honour of scoring the first goal at the Bescot Stadium, is somewhat tempered by the fact that he did so into his own net. On a similar vein however there is something gloriously fitting given how much of a millstone the Reynolds Arena was that the last goal scored there should be an own goal.
For Rovers fans there are plenty of familiar names among the above from Billy Sharp christening the AmEx Stadium, to future manager Paul Dickov scoring the last goal at Wigan’s Springfield Park. In addition to the aforementioned Adebayo Akinfenwa there is Nick Fenton scoring the last goal at Gay Meadow, Brian Deane opening the Walkers Stadium and Scunthorpe’s two milestone goals both came from ex-Rovers, Steve Lister and Dave Cowling.
by Glen Wilson
Revised and updated: November 2020
Footnote: The table lists goals in competitive games. Ground-shares with other football teams have been omitted, this includes Bristol Rovers’ years in Bath and Brighton’s exile at Priestfield as well as Newport County’s time away from Somerton Park. The exception is Wimbledon owing to the 12 years they spent at Selhurst Park. Wimbledon is a complex case I know, though some may (rightly) feel Wimbledon FC ceased to be in 2002 when AFC Wimbledon were created, they did play the 2002-03 seasons as Wimbledon FC therefore the last goal at Selhurst Park scored by the club is the final one from the 2002-03 season. If anyone spots any mistakes please do let me know, likewise if you have any videos of the goals listed.