Sunday 21 September 2008

Wingate and Finchley

I remember my first visit to Wingate & Finchley! Way before they joined up with the Wingate brigade! It was back in April 1978, and Dulwich Hamlet needed another win to clinch the Isthmian League Division One title, with a couple of games to spare, having been relegated the previous season.

Back then we were well supported, and took no less than three coaches to this game! And they were packed! A number of people turned up without booking, and some of us kids were asked to sit on the floor for half price! I I paid twelve and a half pence instead of the 25p for juniors! The previous week we should have had the title in the bag, but only drew 1-1 away to Hertford Town. Which annoyed my older brother, as he'd come down specially from Hull University for that match, and couldn't return for the Finchley trip!

We beat Finchley 4-0, and the players came back out of the changing rooms to spray all the fans with bottles of champagne! Our manager at the time was Alan Smith, who went on to Crystal Palace & Wycombe Wanderers many years later, and he gave me half a plastic cup of champagne...the first time I'd ever drunk alcohol, believe it or not!

These photos are from a pre-season 'triallists' game, from early August 2007. Not a full set of the ground, as I wasn't in full 'photoblog' mode then! ;-)

I only noticed this old sign on the way out.

This is the main entrance.

And here is the same turnstile block from inside the ground.

As you walk in there is a car park ahead of you, with this terrace on your right, as you walk in; which is on the left of this snap, as we are looking back, so to speak!

Here is a decent view of the terrace. Set back behind it is the main stand.

Hamlet Chairman Jack Payne on the left, Griff in the middle (who does this excellent blog on our matches) & Brian, a lifelong fan, who sadly died recently, age 72.

Here is the main stand. What is unsual about it is the is a single structure, with an identical stand behind it, for Finchley Rugby Club next door.

Tidy benches and seats.

Nicely elevated, but you're a bit of a way from the action.

Moving round there's some cover behind the goal.

Which for some unknown reason was taped off! Clearly too dangerous for the four Hamlet fans who bothered to make the trip on a Sunday afternoon, for a 2 o'clock kick off! ;-)

Looking through the goal, back to the stand.

With another angle, from the corner, with both the cover & stand in shot.

There is a small terrace down the far side, covered in the middle section.

Looking across from the halfway line.

It's open behind the far goal, backing onto more car parking space, and an outdoor hardcourt tennis area behind it, as we look.

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