Sunday 10 August 2008

Crescent Rovers

Down the low levels of the Pyramid now, for an intermediate level match on Boxing Day morning 2006, Crescent Rovers versus Worcester Park, in a Combined Counties League Division One match.
I don't usually get the cance to 'drop down' to this level, but with no Dulwich Hamlet match today I could. Icould still talk 'Hamlet' though, as one of the men in black was fellow Dulwich fan Keith Slaughter who officiates at this level.
I would suspect it doesn't get much more basic than this.
I will take you on a tour, but there's not much to see!

The entrance sign by the car park, no mention of the club I'm
going to watch there.

The bar & changing room pavilion, set way back from the
actual pitch.

The pitch was only roped off down the dug out side.
Here a view to behind one of the goals. Note that grass bank,
behind that is another sportsground. I will climb up that
slope to get a different view.

As promised, not the clearest of pictures though.

And from roughly the same spot, looking down the line.

It looks as though I'm up on some sort of terrace here, with
the wooden support in the corner. not so, just a fence from the
next door field.

Through the trees...

The away dugout.

And a glance to the far goal.

And that's it! Before you ask I have no idea why I didn't take a snap down the roped off spectator side! Sorry!

Maidenhead United

Since the demise of the old Northwich Victoria ground a few years ago York Road, home of Maidenhead United, is billed as the current oldest ground in the country to be staging continuous football.
And as grounds go it's certainly worthy of the title, apart from the strange 'open barn' along the side. You'll see what I mean as you go on!
I like this ground. Decent terracing, character rather than all new 'identikit' stands, not far from the train station, & even some old murals on the wall!
What more could you want? From memory they had a decent club shop too.
My last time for a Hamlet First Team game was way back in our promotion year of '91/2; and it was one of our seven consecutive wins at the end of the season that took us up. Still remenisced by the celebration to our goal from one of our fans who picked up a huge waterbutt, used as a dustbin behind the goal, and proceeded to run up & down the terrace with it on his head, as a mad celebration!
Much beer was consumed that day & evening (I was still drinking then) & we were entertained by one of their players in the bar afterwards, who was a member of the Magic Circle, & proceeded to put lighted cigarettes 'through' the Dulwich shirts we were wearing! The few of us who stayed on til late then went out & started drunkenly supporting their under elevens, in a cup final on the pitch by chanting 'come on Maidenhead, come on Maidenhead!'. Only for a little kid to come up to us & tell the four of us: "Excuse me mister. They're both called Maidenhead." Whoops! "Come on Magpies, come on Magpies!"
But this visit, from last season, was for a Reserve Team game. I was in town early afternoon, so headed straight for the ground to take some photos in daylight, as it would be too dark by the time the game came round.
Follow me around this historic ground now.

Here is the entrance from York Road.

Down a driveway to the ground.

Here are the turnstiles

And from the other side.

Once inside I will be walking you round in a clockwise
direction. Here we look towards the bar. And note that
roof to the right of it...
To the right of these parked cars is....

This nice piece of open terrace. I've never known it to be covered,
but I wonder if it ever was in the past? Surely it would be easy to
add a roof to it if it hasn't had one before?

Pass that stretch of terrace are the dugouts, with the changing rooms behind.

A glance across the pitch from here to the main stand.

This is that roof I pointed out, and the strange 'open barn' I mentioned in my introduction! Obviously now a car park, but what was it built for?

In front of it is an enclosure for wheelchair users.

And another look at it from the spectator side.

From here we look behind the far goal for the first time. York Road is a good ground, as far as I am concerned, simply because there is cover at both ends.

The sun shines down, after heavy rain, onto a sodden pitch. The game did play!

A look back down behind the goal from the far corner.

And down the far side, towards the seats. Unfortunately a really crap blurred photo. sorry folks!

This is the stand. Oblviously wuite an old one, but modernised as much as they can.

A look down from the back of it, with the press box in view.

And a glimpse back from the other end of it.

At the end of the terrace past it is the club shop.

And fading away, on the wall at the end, is an old mural depicting both the Club, and the town. I'm not sure how old it is, but i'm guessing it would be late seventies; early eighties at most. Though, in truth, I have no idea. It will be a shame when the weather finally wears it down completely in a few years time.

I've taken photos of it, from left to right:

And, from the side, where we faced the mural, we look to the final side of this ground.

Why can't every ground have a substantial, but not too big, bit of terrace behind the goal like this?

A glance back across to the first side we walked along.

Behind the goal one of those waterbutt rubish bins I mentioned. On my head, son!

Behind it looks like a rusty old tin shed, belying the fact it's a cracking non-league football terrace.

There's a gap in the middle of it, to an extra set of turnstiles, out through another road.

One last glance down the larger covered end

Before we pass the tea bar, in the corner, on our way out. And if you're sitting at home looking at these you deserve to go and put the kettle on & have a cuppa yourself after this 'virtual stroll' around York Road!

This ground may be 'prime centre of town' land, but it will be a real shame if it is ever redeveloped and Maidenhead United relocate to some soulless stadium on the edge of town.


I visited Chipstead again this season, on the 21st February 2009, for another Dulwich Hamlet fixture. Once you've got past these photos you'll see the ones I took last season, & these new ones are to complement them, a couple are very similar, but they basically show the open sides that I didn't feature properly originally.

I've said it before, but why all clubs don't have a simple board like this I do not know.

This is the end where my snaps, sort of, stopped last time. So I'm going to continue round the ground from here.

These are outer pitches behind the end we've just seen. There is also another behind the far side.

Looking back behind the open end.

And so down the far side. I would guess I 'ignored' it first time snapping, because I thought there was nothing worth taking pictures of.

Half way down, going past the dugouts.

Standing between them we are directly opposite the stand.

From the corner we look behind the goal, where there is some shelter in the other corner.

The same spot, but looking right along the standing area.

And closer to the covered section.

Another angle of the stand.

And from the corner we head towards it.

But not before looking back at the covered area again.

It's half time, so I can encroach onto the pitch to get another shot of the stand.

A nice sign, and-as a bonus- a home fan stopped his car as I was on the two mile walk back to Chipstead station, and both myself & Chris who was with me, were offered a lift from a total stranger! A most unexpected gesture!

And now we're back to what I originally published about the Chipstead ground...

Here are some photos taken at the High Road, home of Ryman Division One South club Chipstead, last season. There are not many by my standards on here. But 'in my defence' they were taken before I really got into the swing of taking lots of pictures when I go to grounds for this site! No doubt if I were going there tomorrow I'd take twice as many. Still I hope these give you a 'flavour' of the place.

My first visit here was at the very beginning of the nineties for a very much 'political' youth team match! It was Dulwich Hamlet Under Eighteens away to their Chipstead counterparts. This was in the Sunday morning Shirley & District League, of which The Hamlet youngsters were to finish as champions. But that season a midweek team had also been entered into the Southern Youth League, run by the Senior Section. The Sunday side came under the auspices of Dulwich Hamlet Junior Football Club. The manager brought in for the midweek side had overlooked all of the DHJFC players, and brought in Sunday players from the likes of Chipstead & Palace Guard among others. Sides who were no match for the Hamlet on Sundays in the Shirley League, but for whom the financial backers of the midweek side conveniently had their sons playing...
So this was a fired up Pink 'n' Blue side who had a point to prove against a number of Hamlet midweekers, who plyed their trade for Chipstead at the weekend. Final score? Chipstead 0, Dulwich Hamlet 7! Still one of my sweetest Hamlet matches ever watched! That Sunday side was special, & if they had made up the bulk of the midweek side the Southern Youth League championship would have been in the bag, I still have no doubt about that!

The High Road is a fair trot from Chipstead station, a mile & and half to two. Not that far a distance, but it's up a hill, and there's no pavement for a fair part of it. This really is 'sticksville'! But despite that the walk's not a bad as people like to make out, so don't let that put you off a visit, even for midweeke matches, when it is rather dark, with cars speeding past. But be careful & you'll be ok!

The entrance block.
To the left of this is the clubhouse, small but friendly enough.

This came out a bit blurred, unfortunately.
A list of First team club fines, pinned up on the noticeboard.
A rare sight in the Isthmian League.
Something which emphasises their homely village roots.

As you walk in at the corner, you can look across to the open
far side, and the also open far end. Behind that far goal is
a second pitch, used for training & their Sunday & 'A' sides.

Down the side, on the left, you can see the changing rooms, the
same building as the clubhouse; and the seats towards the halfway

The players come out to a ''guard of honour' from one of their
very young sides. A nice touch, which gets the youngsters
involved in their club.

Tucked away behind the stand is the tea bar.

Just open hard standing behind the goal, the same along the
far side, which I never took any snaps of.

Looking back across to the 'built up' side, from the far goal.

And walking back the way I took you, for this brief tour, the
covered end behind the other goal.

A tight fit, with only one step of terrace, but still adequate
enough for their crowds.