Saturday, 23 May 2009


Based in London, affiliated to the Surrey FA, but playing in the Kent League!
Croydon have a very small, but dedicated fanbase, some of whom I've got to know quite well over the years. I've lost track how many matches I've seen here, several dozen. It's a bloody horrible ground to watch football at, as you are so far from the action.
Having said that it's not the fault of the club itself, so I can't be too hard on them!

Many moons ago, as a young teeenager, I was at a Hamlet game with my mates, & we were bored...We got behind a manual pitch roller, and got it across the track, but were stopped before we got it onto the pitch!

In days gone by they also staged marbles in the bar! I kid you not. One night the local marbles match clashed with a Dulwich visit, & one of our fans, elderly & slightly worse for wear, but soberish, stomped right through it, not noticing the wooden borders on the floor, & wrecked the match!

There is a large car park, & the building you see is the clubhouse.

It is a council owned ground, & co-tenants are Croydon Harriers athletics club.

This is the turnstile entrance.

Irony or what?

Once through the entrance you see the stand to your left, but we're going to walk round the ground the other way, anti-clockwise.

From the corner where the turnstiles are we look across the pitch.

Moving round, past the corner flag this snap makes you realise just how far away from the football you are here.

There's a concrete footpath all the way round, where there's not terracing.

You can now see a balcony, which is an exit from the bar. It's been a couple of years since I've seen an actual match here, but back in my old drinking days this was my preferred vantage point!

The path continues round, and there's even a shallow step of terracing.

Though I somehow doubt that anyone bothers to stand behind the goal!

Moving on we see the steep grass banking that gives the ground it's never tested old 8,000 capacity.

Along this side there have been attempts to make it feel like a football ground, with some decent cover to satisfy ground gradings. But no matter where you are here, you are still a long distance from the pitch.

From this corner we see the front of the main stand on the far side for the first time.

Here we see the first section of cover. It's almost 'wasted' here, & I wish it could be 'transplanted' to Champion Hill!

Here is the middle section of cover, the best of a bad place to stand.

And the third section of the trio of shelters.

Moving onwards we see more distant banking behind the other goal.

We climb up the grass bank to look down on the covered standing areas from behind.

We stay up on the banks to look across the pitch from behind the goal.

And glance back along the side we've just been down.

Horrible, horrible, horrible!

We're on the way round towards the main stand now.

At an 'ordinary' ground the seats would be where the dugouts are!

From behind this last corner we look over to the covered terraces.

Hard standing still along this side, leading up to the stand. The buildings are old offices, a toilet block & a tea bar.

Which you can see here.

The stand itself is impressive.

Here we are on the touchline, to have a look at the dugouts.

This is clearly an athletics stadium, first and foremost.

The tea bar is right by the stand. It is open for business as there was some sort of schoolboys representative game due to kick off soon, but I didn't stay for it.

Here we look up into the stand.

And look across, from the back row.

From up here the pitch is still quite a distance, but at least being higher up you get a better vantage point.

Not the best of snaps, looking into the sun, but here we look towards one of the goalmouths.

Past the stand, snapped from up in it, is an impressive stretch of open terracing.

Here we look down the terrace, almost from the corner where we began our tour of Croydon Arena.

Arena being the name of the adjacent tram stop, which was built about ten years ago. 'The Trams' now being the Club nickname, replacing the blander old one of 'The Blues'.

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