Sunday 21 December 2008

Eastbourne Town

My first visit to Eastbourne Town was for an FA Cup tie versus Carshalton Athletic, in 1987 & I hadn't been back until last Saturday. It is clearly more enclosed now, and been developed, but still has the feel of a friendly county league club, despite now being in the Isthmian League.

Walking along this road you might think this is a nice stone wall. But it's not any ols stone wall, it's actually the perimeter to the ground!

Further along here is a gate, but it's not the actual entrance.

Is there a more beautiful turnstile block anywhere? I'm sure there is, but this must be up with the best of them.

Here is a closer view.

Now inside there are also turnstiles in the opposite corner, which is where I am now standing. That building in the background id Eastbourne Town Hall. Magnificent! From this vantage point I am going to take you round the ground, clockwise.

All the way along the end behind this goal is this cover. Somewhat different, in that there are seats at either side of it, with terracing in the middle.

Here we look along the first bank of seating.

The end of this corner is reserved for club officials. This must be the most unusual location for a 'directors box', and not the best vantage point.

Moving along is the tunnel area, with the changing rooms behind.

Past that is the terracing in the middle.

From behind the net we look to our right, and the open side, where the dugouts are.

Glancing leftwards is open terracing, with cover down the far end of it; with the Town Hall towering over.

Moving along there's hot & cold drinks on sale.

With th second section of seating past that.

In the corner is a stand alone tea bar, where you can buy food.

In here you can make a note of the team changes.

We look back down this end before moving on.

And now our first good look down the 'town hall' side.

From here we get a full length view of the cover behind the goal.

As we move along the open terraced side we see the covered section at the far end of it, which is by those lovely turnstiles where we came in.

From the halfway line we look across the playing area. The South Downs behind, such a pity those modern ugly blocks are there.

Now we have reached the covered terrace in the corner.

And from this corner we look back up the pitch.

Before turning to the stretch of open terrace behind this goal.

Behind the net we look up the pitch.

Before we glance back down the open end.

Now on the 'last leg' it's just hard standing down this side, with the cricket ground over the fence.

Moving along we see the dugouts.

Holding the camera 'blind' over the fence we get a look at the cricket pavilion.

By the dugouts a good old fashioned, home made, hand knitted Eastbourne Town bobble hat!

Past the dugouts it's back to the corner where we started our tour of The Saffrons.

With one last look at the covered end before we finish.

But before we leave Eastbourne Town I must mention Hamlet fan Mark Hutton, 58, pictured here. He was born in Eastbourne, and he was told that the first game he was ever taken to was one at The Saffrons, in his pram. He has no memories of the place, so was really looking forward to Dulwich playing here, when they were promoted. Unfortunately he was working for the corresponding match last season, but he was eagerly looking forward to us playing here.

Before the match he went to see this house, in an adjacent street, which is where his father lived when in Eastbourne. It was a quietly emotional return for him, I'm sure he won't mind me saying.

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