Thursday 19 June 2008

Welling United, Park View Road, 2008.

My first visit to Park View Road was back in August 1980, for a Dulwich Hamlet pre-season friendly, when they were members of the now defunct Athenian League. This is the home of Welling United. And also Erith and Belvedere. But what makes this stange is that the Deres are not tenants, but equal parners, having moved here, after a fire at their old stadium, which they subssquently sold. But even though it is a partnership I will always, probably unfairly, see this ground as the home of Welling United, with Erith & Belvedere 'only' sharing it. And I suspect I'm not the only one who perpetuates this myth.
The ground was previously home to both Bexley United, and before that, Bexleyheath & Welling. Two old Southern League clubs, if I'm correct. The ground didn't change much at all, until Erith & Belvedere moved in, building their own clubhouse & stand opposite the old Welling stand. There is a local car showroom across the road, and for many years the francise went by the name San Siro. And this company had this across the roof of the old stand. I'm not sure when this advertising went, but the showroom is there, but under another name. for many years locals, & opposition fans, referred to Park View Road as the San Siro, in an ironic reference to the home of both Inter & AC Milan.
I visited here for these snaps close season, 29th May 2007, and the gates were open, so I walked in. I couldn't access the entire ground, well I could have done, but couldn't be bothered to climb over some easy fencing. On the way out an old boy came out of the closed club offices, I hadn't realised anyone was inside. "Can I help you?", he abruptly barked. "Sorry mate, just taking a few photos, I didn't realise anyone was around, I jsut walked in. Just being a bit sad as I've just got a digital camera". Which disarmed him a bit. I'm not sure if he expected me to be a bit bolshie or not! "Well you should have asked, It's private property. I don't want photos ending up on the internet and places like that."
Fair enough, mate, but tough luck, I've already taken them! What a miserable sod! Has it occured to him that by seeing snaps of his 'private' ground, which as far as I'm concerned is 'public' as he's left all the doors open, people might want to visit it. Because it is a bit of a ramshackle delight. I never thought of it at the time, but i wish I'd thought of saying I'd just moved into the area, and someone told me there was a decent football club down the road. I bet he'd had brightened up then as he sniffed some season ticket money!
But thanks to his miserable attitude you won't catch me here for a Welling United match. First impressions count, and all that. Good customer care costs nothing; but bad customer care costs!

I've lost count of the amount of times I've been here over the years, certainly into double figures. Too many to remember. but I have been here for packed FA Cup ties versus Reading & Gillingham, as well as Dulwich Hamlet Youth Team matches. Funnily enough though, I've not seen Erith & Belvedere play here yet.

This is the entrance from the main road.

This is up on the wall of the building immediately to the right
inside the gates above.

Just inside the turnstiles, and ahead is their bar & offices.
This is where 'Mr. Happy' came marching out from!

If you walk along the main road, behind the goal so to speak,
these gates are open. Which, I assume, is the Erith &
Belvedere entrance.

These must be their own turnstiles, taken from just inside
the ground.

This is the Deres clubhouse, with their modern stand in
the distance. these fences blocked me walking along to it, I
couldn'r be bothered, plus a groundsman was working on the far
side of the pitch, and i didn't want to disturb him.

This is the open terrace, behind the goal at the main road end.

From the Erith turnstile corner looking towards the Welling
United stand.

Walking back out of the ground, as the terrace was also
'fenced' off, I went back in through the Welling entrance. And
from here you get a good view of the Erith stand.

Walking behind the Welling stand you come out at the fae end,
and this bit of old terrace takes you to the corner of
the far end.

And this is the open terrace at this end. This photo doesn't
really show how far above the pitch you are at this end...

But this one indicates how high up you actually are.

Retracing my steps I take a photo of the Welling stand, before
scooting round the back of it again, and this ends your 'tour'
of Park View Road.

Paul Andre Stadium, JA Drancy, Drancy, France

Having gone to Drancy early on Sunday 30th March 2008 from Paris, it was too wet to spend some time in the local cemetery to take some photos, as I had planned. Instead it was brolly up, and wander around town. I didn't have a map, but luckily there were some municipal street maps on display.
I took some notes, and decided to head for this ground, & the town rugby club.

I didn't know who played here until I got there. there was a match in progress, which was the Drancy Under Eighteen team. I didn't stay to watch it, so don't actually include this is my list of grounds visited.

I have no idea, but am guessing that this would have been where the club originally played, until they moved to the current stadium, which I showed you last week.

If anyone knows for sure I'd be happy to be told.

This is the entance from the main road.

The view from behind the goal, after you have 'walked in'
through the 'tunnel' under the entrance building.

I'm taking you in a clockwise direction, down the side where
the only bit of cover is.

Here is a view from along the side.

And here is a close up of the small bit of cover. I could have
quite happily stayed here to watch the match, but as I am never,
ever likely to go back to Drancy I chose to march on to the
rugby ground!

This is the view from behind the far goal. I got to touch the
ball here as I was walking round, as it went out for a corner!
Ooooh! Impressed eh? ;-)

From the corner flag. I've realised since starting this blogsite
that I seem to like pictures with the corner flag in it!

Going down the far side, here's their, obviously disused,

This was on the wall of the changing room/clubhouse, in the
final corner of the ground, to the right of where I came in.
for some inexplicable reason I never took a photo of this
building. It clearly lists the Frist Team game later versus
Lusitanos, as Charles Sage Stadium; whilst further down is
another game at Guy Mocqet Stadium, which is where I was
headed to next-home of the town rugby club.

Guy Moquet Stadium, Drancy (rugby), Drancy, France.

There is a Metro station in Paris named after Guy Moquet,
so I had heard the name before.

I am not sure what the local connection with Drancy is, but this
ground bears his name. Home of the Drancy rugby club.
Unfortunately I can't find a website for them

Basically a modern, one sided ground, to all intents and purposes.
Though you can stand around the touchline. It's only the main stand
that is of interest to 'ground affectionados'. I don't know how new it is,
but it looks very recent.

I'm not sure what the building is on the far side. It was pouring
with rain, so I didn't venture over to have a nose! It looked like
some sort of sportshall from a distance.

Basic seats, but the design of the roof makes this a pleasant
structure. Underneath are, what appear to be the bar area,
and changing rooms.

Here's a view from near the back of the stand.

Behind the stand, past the view I just showed you, is an
all-weather football pitch. this is where the JA Drancy
Junior game must be played, even though this is clearly
a main rugby venue.

Sunday 15 June 2008

Edgware Town June 2008

Edware Town have had problems with their tenancy of their White Lion ground for quite a few years now. It seems there's not a season goes by when they 'cry wolf' & they're about to disappear. Sadly at the end of last season their fears came true, and they resigned from the Isthmian League.
I do not know what the future holds for the ground, I would guess the property developing vultures are circling over it.
On one of my recent Wednesdays off work I decided to head over there to take some snaps of the place before it is gone forever.
It's a few years since I've been there, and despite it being extremely easy to get to from south of the River, you just get a paper to read, & sit on a Northern Line tube (click on this link & you'll realise how hard done by groundhoppers are when they're called anoraks!) to the end of the line, I hadn't been there many times at all, and don't exactly recall when. My first visit, I have no idea, sometime in the eighties. No idea of opponents, or score, just a 'hop', not even sure which league. Maybe Athenian? Or London Spartan? I never kept records...I'm not a 'serious' groundhopper you know! ;-)
I know I've seen one Dulwich Hamlet pre-season here against Edgware, and went here twice to see us play Wealdstone in Isthmian League matches. My last trip was a Friday night game, also Wealdstone, I can't remember the opponents, or the score, off the top of my head, but I did buy a copy of the Wealdstone hardback club history, a lot of money at twenty five quid, but worth every penny. A superb book!

Here's the view of the ground from the main road, I think the
site of the hotel on the right was where the old 'White Lion'
pub stood, if my memory is correct.

A hand up in the air, and a snap over the fence, I was taking
this snap 'blind', so to speak.

The turnstiles, & the gates are open next to it, so I don't
have to find a hole in a fence, or a wall to clamber over.

As you go through the gates, there's more car parking ahead,
& this is the club house to your left. I do recall on one of
my visits it wasn't warm outside, but it was colder inside
as the heating wasn't working!

Parked in the carpark.

Turn right as you come through the turnstiles & there's the
stand. I'm going to take you clockwise around the ground
& return to here.

I just loved these old steps down to the pitch, it just, somehow,
makes it fell like a 'proper' ground, rather than just
walking onto the pitch.

Not quite the famous 'This is Anfield' sign, but a nice touch!

I beleive these seats were 'added on' in 1999, when Wealdstone
were tenants, to gain them promotion. Except the roof wasn't
put on in time, so they were denied promotion. It made me realise
that it wasn't Lee 'donkey' Doherty that cost the Hamlet promotion
in the Isthmian One 'north v. south' play-off at Champion Hill, when
he gave away a needless free kick, with just over ten minutes on
the clock for Wealdstone to equalise, & beat us in sudden death, on
penalties, after Meshach Nugent had hit the bar for us, which would
have put us up, in 2004. Wealdstone should NOT have been playing us!
They should have been promoted back in '99!
It's the Isthmian League Management Committee that conspired
against us half a decade earlier!

A look back to the stand from the corner

With the groundstaff hut in the corner. Anyone want a second-
hand pitch marker or two?

Behind the goal.

Looking back at the stand, I think the building on the right
is the boardroom area, not sure though.

And a glance over to the far side, where the covered
terrace is situated.

Another look at the stand from the bottom corner.

Turning the corner there is this standing area, up to the
covered terrace.

It may look a bit ramshackle, but it looks lovely to me;
this will be a sad loss to football.

A close up of the entrance on this side of the ground.

apart from the pillars of course, what more do you really
want for a decent bit of cover?

And looking back from the other end of it.

A look at the dugouts.

A bit tight on this corner. If you want to go behind the goal
for the second half it's back round the long way, or jump over
the fence!

Open behind the goal, a nice grass bank.

I would guess this may have been covered in the past, but
the roof has long gone, but only a guess...

Yet another view of the stand, from this end.

The corner flag was still out, but blown over, almost at
half mast, maybe paying tribute to the memories of the
generations of past Edgware teams...

Under modern ground regulations I suppose this should
be converted to concrete, but I prefer the grass.

And so back to the side where we started our walk round
the ground.

A fine piece of terracing, where you can look down over the pitch
from above.

And so back to the main stand, where I notice a door was
ajar.This is the home changing room...

And this is the away one, a lot smaller, & I really do have about
half of the general changing room area in this photo!

Another snap of the terrace, by the exit.

Farewell White Lion Ground, Edgware. RIP.