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Wednesday, September 30, 1998 Published at 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK


QPR top loo league

Toilet humour: At some grounds the advice is "close your legs and pray"

Queens Park Rangers might not be flushed with sporting success, but according to a fans' survey, their toilets are tops.

A study of conveniences at away grounds ranked lavatories in categories from "The Ritz", through "Graffiti, Puddles and Wildlife" to "Cross Legs and Pray".

The authors of The Football Fans' Guide, in association with Match of the Day Magazine, visited loos at each of the 92 Premier League and Football League grounds.

Heading "The Ritz" table, the pristine privvies at Loftus Road are tiled in blue and white team colours - and even have soap, mirrors and working hand dryers.

But Brummie team Aston Villa were found to be letting the side down drastically with dank, smelly loos which earned them a place in the "Nose Peg Required" section.

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And right at the bottom of the lavs league, in the "Cross Your Legs and Pray" category, is Mansfield Town.

The offending Quarry End block - where the report's authors advised users to "take canoes to negotiate the rapids cascading over the floor" - is now scheduled for demolition.

It's Most Awful Toilet in the League Award stands.

Cambridge United fan Janet Williams, who co-wrote the report, says: "Some stunners still remain.

"The male MATITLA went to Darlington for a stench that could be bottled and used in chemical warfare.

"And Swansea won the female MATITLA for floors awash with rank water, drink cans and sweet wrappers."

And she was forced to relegate her own team to 65th place when she found a frog in a cubicle.

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Innovation clinched the number three spot for Manchester United, where judges were impressed by an automatic lights in the Old Trafford toilets.

The "Most Embarrassing Loo Award" went to Macclesfield Town for the female loo door which swung open to reveal a view of the entire away terrace.

Liverpool's newly decorated block won them the 19th spot, ahead of Merseyside rivals Everton.

The litter-strewn Goodison Park loos were rated as "A Bit Iffy" and gained them 51st position.

the report's authors point to "Toilet Facilities and Stadia" - a study produced by the Sports Council - which states that there should be one urinal for every 70 male spectators and one loo for every 35 spectators.

The reason for the discrepancy between the sexes is given as women taking twice as long to answer the call of nature.

Ms Williams says: "Most new grounds reach this standard but many of the older grounds don't, which is why many men still give up and head for the nearest wall.

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"The Football Trust provides grants of up to 65% towards building new toilets and many grounds have indeed benefited from this.

"Others either cannot find space, or choose to spend their money on other things - while some lower-division outfits cannot afford their 35% share.

Ms Williams said the survey, now in its third year, had shown that some clubs were taking notice of fans' needs.

But she insisted that others still needed to clean up their act.

"For the amount of money away fans pay to visit clubs like Chelsea, the loos should be much better," she said.

She added: "At Stamford Bridge the male loos had a puddle so big supporters were worried about getting their socks wet, while the cubicles at Aston Villa were occupied by the mother of all spiders.

"Part of the pre-match ritual is to go for a drink and a lot of guys increasingly expect more than a mouldy wall to pee against."

The full results can be seen in the November issue of Match of the Day Magazine, which is publishing extracts of the report on Thursday.

It is also running a competition, the Search for the Worst Khazi in Football, with the prize of an Armitage Shanks loo for the nominator's club, and a year's supply of loo roll for the nominator. Pictures of offensive WCs can be scanned in and emailed to the magazine, or sent to Match of the Day, PO Box 27127, London W12 6AD.

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