Sunday 21 September 2008

Ashford Town

Homelands, which is the home land for Ashford Town, is one of the 'older' new grounds. It was one the first soulless 'Atcost' type stadia. But what it lacks in character, it makes up for friendliness. All the stewards, and staff were most welcoming.

I'm not quite sure exactly, but it's around twenty years old. My first visit here was for an FA Youth Cup tie, back in September 1992. Now I know I've 'led a hard life' & look older than my 'tender' 41 years, but back then I got chatting to one of their supporters', who it turned out was there to watch his boy play. not realisinf I was a 'proper' fan, he asked which lad was mine...which would have made me a daddy at eight years old! ;-)

The Asford Town website says the ground is four miles from the station, and there are no buses. Not quite true. On a Saturday it is possible to get a 508 or 528 from the stops outside the station to just before Park Farm. The driver was very helpful. He pointed out the Ashford Road, as we got off, and it was just over a mile from there. A cab would set you back around eight quid from the station. A single on the bus was one pound sixty. I got a lift back into town, where I took some pictures of a World War One tank! I kid you not!

The ground is set back slightly, from the road.

As you walk up the access road you come to these turnstiles.

Past them is the entrance to the club offices, & bars.

Once inside the programmes are on sale.

To the left, as you walk in, is the club shop, and this helpful board, with team changes.

In front of the turnstiles, as you look towards the pitch, is this welcoming sign. You can see the cover behind the goal, And it is in that direction we will be walking round the ground.

From the side we have another look towards the cover.

As we go behind that end we look back towards the stand, seats in front, glass fronted bar areas behind it.

And this is the cover, with it's shallow terracing.

Looking down the far side, from behind the goal, you can see it's completely open.

Just a concrete walkway round most of the ground.

Another view of the side, without the netting in the way.

no terracing down the side, just the concrete pathway. How they ever squeezed 3,300 when they played Fulham in the FA Cup back in 1995 is beyond me! Tell a lie, I can imagine how they squeezed them in, but don't think many saw much of the match!

From this corner we look across the pitch, again, to the stand.

Another angle, from the halfway line, between the two dugouts.

And walking further along we see exactly the same cover up the other end.

As you can see here.

And from under the cover yet another picture of the stand.

We look back at the far side, and more specifically their dugouts. now I have no problem with them, but all clubs were supposed to erect new, larger dugouts last season. They clearly have not!

A look back at the cover, before we move on round.

Here we approach the stand, the only properly elevated part of the ground, if you don't include the narrow steps behind each goal.

A look down the seats, from the top corner, back row.

And the middle section, with the club officials' enclosure at the back.

The players' tunnel in the midle.

With the tea bar, and video gantry at the end, and so once past this, back to where we started.


Anonymous said...

When Ashford played Fulham in the FA Cup, a temporary stand was erected on the opposite side of the pitch to the main stand/clubhouse.

Rabbler said...

Thank you. I wasn't aware of that.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Ashford v Fulham game in 1995.

The ground was segregated that day and the weather had been so bad that the pitch and surrounds were a muddy mess. On the grassy areas behind the hard standing, there were wooden planks (like very long railway sleepers) stacked up to provide a bit of elevation for those standing on them.

The game had been lined up for extended highlights by Sky and with both clubs needing the extra TV money, they leaned on a then-young referee (Andy D'Urso) to allow the game to be played - on any other day it would've been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

It was absolutely packed in the ground - no-one dared move at half time for fear of sinking in the mud and not being able to see the second half!

Even as a visiting fan I'll freely admit that Ashford really should've won that game, they coped better with the conditions throughout and played with great spirit.