Monday 6 October 2008

Harrow Borough

Earlsmead, home of Harrow Borough, but on my most recent visit the temporary home of Hendon, who have just vacated Claremont Road.
This is a nice enough ground, but Harrow will never be on my 'footballing christmas card list'. This stems back to the late eighties,when our old Champion Hill Stadium was on it's last legs. At one stage the terracing was completely closed for safety reasons, and only the middle of the old wooden stand allowed to hold spectators. We actually had a safety certificate for only 300 people. At this time we had a home match with Harrow Borough & their officials insisted on having one hundred seats sectioned off for their supporters, despite the fact you could count their away fans on the fingers of both hands. I've never liked, or forgiven them, since.

I'm not entirely sure of my first visit here, but probably 1979/80, off the top of my head. The ground hasn't changed much, and is decent enough, with decent cover and terracing.

There is an overflow car park behind the far goal, so you actually park inside the ground itself, presumably paying before you drive in. On one visit in the early nineties a group of had bought a couple of cheap crates of booze grom the budget supermarket Netto, which is next to nearby Northwick Park station. We had stocked up on some obscure alcopop, which was a bright green mango concoction. We didn't think we'd get through the turnstiles with them, so we flagging down one of our fans driving past, and got him to 'smuggle' them into the ground in his boot! By the end of the match all of our lips were dayglow green, almost like that famous 'Peckham springwater' sketch from 'Only Fools & Horses!'

For this Hendon game I got there early, as it would be too dark for photos by kick off time. Still daylight when I arrived, the turnstiles were not yet open, but I 'sneaked' down the players tunnel & inot the ground to take these photos with the 'help' of the Hamlet kitman Liam!

Earlsmead is set in Middlesx suburbia, surrounded by houses.

Ground this way!

Here is the driveway up to the ground.

Details of tonight's match pinned up.

Here are the turnstiles, with the social club behind, on the left.

The main car park still deserted when I got there.

Inside the entrance is a trophy cabinet, though many of the cups on display are from the darts section!

A close up of the club crest.

A rare peek, for me, in an away changing room!

Not quite 'This is Anfield' ! ;-)

Turn right..and up to the pitch.

Rather than take you round the ground from the tunnel, we're going to go back to the corner where the turnstiles are, and stroll clockwise around the ground.
Just inside the turnstiles is this old clock, the like of which were fairly common in the seventies & eighties.

Presumably one of those 'groundhopper types'! ;-)

Getting his snaps in before the light fades. Should've asked mate, I'd have sneaked you down the tunnel too!
Here is the open terrace behind the 'bar end' goal.

Same end, just no groundhopper!

From behind the goal we look left, towards the main stand.

Then look back down the terrace, from the players' tunnel, in the corner.

Turning along the side the first third is a covered terrace. This used to have a barrelled roof, until it was replaced a few years ago.

Then in the middle part of this side you come to the main stand.

Before we look at it we glance back, with the Harrow club shop in the foreground.

On the halfway line we see the open end again.

Before we look up at the centre of the small stand.

From the top corner of it we see the another covered terrace to our left, with our first look at the other open end, with car park behind.

From the same spot we look back across the seats.

And over to the covered terracing down the other side of the ground.

Dusk it drawing in, time to move on!

Eight quid to get in, extra here to sit down. Is it me, or is non-league football getting too expensive?

Here is the terrace we saw a few moments ago, looking down from the seats.

And so to the next corner of the ground, looking along the terrace behind the goal. What a shame this isn't covered. It would be an excellent end if it was.

Looking back down the side from the same spot you can see the track where cars drive down to get to the 'overflow' carpark behind the goal.

And looking across the pitch, with one of the corner flags in view.

From behind the goal we get a shot of the stand, with the two bits of cover either side.

And a view of the stand through the net.

And one without!

Now we turn the corner for the final stretch. open terrace, with a good part of it covered further along.

Looking across the pitch again, from the other corner at this end.

Walking along the side terrace, we come to the covered section.

Further along we look over to the main stand.

Almost back at the turnstiles we pass the toilet block and tea bar.

Tour of Earlsmead over, just one last look back down the side.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Northwick Park Station" I think you mean Northolt Park Station. Nettos is no more and has been replaced with an Asda.