Monday 6 October 2008


Lea Bridge Road. Home to Leyton FC. But old habits die hard. I still can't stop referring to the place as Leyton-Wingate. Whether this current club is a continuation of the original Leyton club is debatable, but then so is the much of the footballing history of east London, which is both incestuous and murderous.

The ground itself has had a lot of work to it over the last few years, and is now ramshackly smart. A bit of a contradiction I know, but I think, like me, you'll like the place when we walk round it.

My first ever visit was dramatic to say the least! An FA Cup second qualifying replay in 1977/78, in which we were kicked off the park, a brawl broke out between both sets of fans, ours were more some of our Reserve Team squad who were there,rather than the proper supporters. After the game our players baricaded themselves in the away dressing room, as the Leyton players tried to break down the door to attack them!

For a few years in the late eighties the two sets of fans got on really well. They were one of our first ever opponents in Supporters' football, and we played each other on the actual pitches at both Lea Bridge Road & the old Champion Hill. Such were their Jewish connections back then that there were Star of David tiles in the changing rooms. It was always a good day out for the Hamlet fans back then, as we'd go to Hackney dogs in the morning, if it was a Saturday game, and then onto our game.

The ground is known as the Hare and Hounds, which is the pub on the main road.

This is their E10 club, a fairly recent enterprise, which presumably brings in the money to sustain the club, what with their poor crowds.

The entrance is down this path.

At the end of this path is the club bar, turn left past that and you come to the turnstiles...which only opened twenty minutes before kick off!

Note the plaque above them.

This is to the left of the turnstiles. The bar is the building on the immediate left, with one of their stands on the right.

Coming through the turnstile you see another small stand to your right as you enter. But we are going to wander round the ground the other way, in a clockwise direction.

Looking across, just beofre kick off, the players line up and greet each other. I've no time for this 'mock respect' in the game. This continental nonsense is just plain silly, and a waste of time! You can see the covered seating and terrace that runs the full length of the far side.

Just past the turnstiles where we came in is this small bit of terracing.

I love this stand next to it, despite all the scaffolding that obscures the sightlines!

A decent view of it, from the pitch.

And from just in front of it.

Climbing up the steps we get our first glimpse of the cover behind the far goal.

And looking across the stand the other way.

A view straight ahead, with poles in the way!

Past this stand is a path to the corner.

Looking back you can see the tea bar.

No terracing, just open hard standing behind the goal.

This was the goal we attacked in the first half.

Looking across the pitch from this corner.

And a little further along, at hte stands.

From behind the goal we see the covered side.

And in the other corner an emergency exit, with a stream running behind it. And some spare seats!

And here we look down the covered side. The seats don't go all the way along.

Another corner view, looknig across to the stands.

the seating doesn't even stetch to the halfway line, where the dugouts are.

Looking across at the scaffold stand.

You won't see much of the game if you stand behind the dugouts!

I liked the club sign, between them, pitchside.

Here we see the other stand on the other side, with the nightclub towering behind.

From the halfway line we look back to the open end.

And towards the covered terrace behind the goal.

Before we go behind the goal we look back down the covering standing.

And over to behind the goal. Note the training goals behind the barrier!

This shot shows what a decent modern terrace this end id. With excellent acoustics I'd like to add!

From the corner of it we look again down the side.

And here's a view from the corner of it, behind the goal!

And right behind the actual goal!

Where we also look back to the dugouts on the halfway.

At the corner of this cover is a wheelchair enclosure.

And here's a nervous view across the pitch...from the roof of the terrace, after I gingerly climbed up a ladder at the side of it!

Which gave me good views down the far side

And the stands side, with the ugly looking changing rooms on the left.

In the corner is a collection of junk that resembles a builders yard!

My memory may be playing tricks on me, but I think there may have been some sort of terracing along here in the past.

Here is the changing rooms tunnel. Looking at it explains why this corner of the ground looks like a builders yard. It is presumably is still being built!

Here is a turnstile, which was not in use, that was by the path that leads into the ground.

Past which the exit is, which is where we first arrived.

But we're not quite ready to go. One glance back to behind the goal, and the roof I climbed up on!

Before it's time to finish our tour, we walk past the exit, to look at the other stand, which is by the turnstile we entered the ground.

Or last picture being this view of it from the pitch.


Anonymous said...

nice shots!!

Rabbler said...

Thank you. Please keep on looking in!

Anonymous said...

Came across this site while researching Hertha Berlin. Wonderful, i'm glad you have included other sports. I first went to Prague in '77 and had to buy a Slavia rugby badge as I knew no one would believe me that the Czech's played the game. I'm a life long O's fan but have spent many a happy afternoon at the Hare and Hounds. I'm off to the Berlin derby in Feb this year and will be taking my camera... Please keep up the good work, although my wife has another reason to shout at me.

Rabbler said...

Thanks for your kind comments.
Yes, I've noticed both Sparta & Slavia have union sides, not been to either though. Prefer fotball when I'm over there. The Hare & Hounds is a cracking mix of old & new, such a shame they don't get more than a fewdozen through the gate.
Enjoy Berlin, haven't been there for a while, but hope to go back there, probably sometime in 2012.

Anonymous said...
- this is such a shame!
It is a stadium that deserves to be used on an even higher level, and then the club withdraw..

gee said...

anything can be sold, from pòigs to israrel or bin laden to the yanks but these clubs just dont care, the hard work put in by all those fans in the 20's is pissed on by the indifference of those in charge today. great post

Anonymous said...

fantastic blog and great photo document of grounds! Obviously Leyton FC are gone now, but do you know what is happening to this fabulous ground? I hope it's used again soon...

Alan said...

I Played there in 76/7/8 for the team known as the Cricketers in the Hackney and Leyton premier league.

Nice little ground and the atmosphere was humming there on a Sunday.

I have been told that the Cricketers were the last Hackney and Leyton league side to win the London sunday challenge cup . Do you know iif that is right ? That was in 1978.
Thanks for the pictures, bring back some good memories for me


Anonymous said...

Yes, Cricketers were the last team from the Hackney & Leyton League to win the London Sunday Challenge Cup. Many other teams from the H & L League have won the London Sunday Intermediate and Junior Cups multiple times though (Ordell, Bricklayers Arms, Clapton Rangers, Albion Manor, Eureka).

Anonymous said...

I lived in East London between 1984 and 1986 - before moving back to the North West - and chose Leyton-Wingate over Walthamstow Avenue. I'm glad I did as I saw them reach the FA Cup 1st Round and play at Swansea City after having defeated Kingsbury Town, Hounslow Town, Harrow Borough, Crawley and Gresley Rovers to get there. Fabulous memories of great times and great people. Genuinely upset when they went to the wall. Living in Salford for a number of years I've followed Salford City for the last eight years with the most recent and our brilliant FA Cup run being the highlight and ending a 35 year wait! Richard Kedzior aka TangerineDream

Anonymous said...

Fantastic collection of shots!

Haunting the Hare and Hounds Ground from the '40s, I watched Leyton most weeks, which included the great FA Cup and Amateur Cup feats of the 'fifties. There was NO cover anywhere then other than the one tin 'grand' stand. Neither hard-standing nor terracing were much in evidence. Behind what you say was the site of a tea hut was an earth stand-up-and peep bank on which hundreds gathered. I preferred the bottom corner near the river or by the goal that end.

The blog pictures showed the old place as a 'brave new world' to me, almost a desirable stadium so near all the marshes and limited supply of sporting venues in the east end of London. What a pity the proud, chequered history of Leyton F.C.(founded 1868)was ended by a clearly foolish family with no genuine interest in football or the area.

My voyage around my boyhood is enhanced by discovering the blog.