Corinthian-Casuals. One of the most famous footballing names in the world. And the highest placed truly amateur club in the English non-league pyramid. They have an amazing proud history, and after decade upon decade of a nomadic existence are now firmly settled in the outer south-west London suburb of Tolworth, after merging with the local side.
I'm not sure of my first visit here, but I think it was for a London-Spartan League match. The only thing I recall were the opponents. North Greenford United. A mate of mine went there to see/barrack one of her office colleagues who was the goalkeeper for the visitors. I went along as it was a 'hop' for me at the time. I've been back many times, watching the Hamlet First Team, as well as our Reserves & Youth Teams.
As someone who respects football history I also saw Corinthian-Casuals take on Bishop Auckland in a pre-season match in 2006.
And the most recent pre-season, 2008, I popped along to see part of their invitational tournament of FA Cup winnners Old Carthusians, Royal Engineers & Old Etonians; plus themselves, representing the old Corinthians. Undoubtedly the best team NEVER to have won the FA Cup. Simply because they didn't enter it in the 1800's!
I only arrived for the 3rd & 4th place play-off, plus the final. which were single games of 45 minutes one way. Fittingly the home side won the competition. Though whether you could count it as 'proper football' is debatable. For the pitch was shortened, with the touchlines being the edge of the six yard box,with temporary training goals used, in front of the lowered main ones. I wasn't complaining. I was just there to take some snaps, and see three other olden day names of our national game. but I'd have felt a bit cheated if I was a genuine groundhopper, ticking the venue off, with no mention of the small sized pitch in any of the extensive pre-tournament plugging on various messageboards.
One of their club signs, this one by the car park. Sadly no mention of the amalgamation with Tolworth Football Club, who previously used this ground.
But going back a bit, this is the road that leads to the King George's Field ground.
note the brick pillars on either side of the road.
Here's another sign, this one inside the ground.
And a flag of their famous Brazilian 'cousins', or 'son' perhaps, which was hanging up outside the clubhouse.
Here is the entrance to the ground.
Entry through these turnstiles.
They like their signs here! That's not a bad thing!
As you walk in you see the back of the main stand on the left, and the club house/changing rooms complex on the right. The awning in their unique chocolate and pink colours is impressive.
Having entered the ground I'm going to take you left into the actual stadium, rather than go towards the clubhouse, and turn left, where we'll go clockwise round the ground.
You can see where we came in, and look back towards the main cover, which is actually a combination of terrace and seats. Not the train behind. Tolworth station is an easy ten minute stroll away.
The touchline is NOT a long way from the touchline. It's that temporary touchline I was telling you about, not the cones helping to 'mark it out'.
This is a close up of the cover behind the goal. A few steps of narrow terracing, and obviously put together on a small budget, hence the use of scaffolding poles. There's nothing wrong with that. Not aesthetically pleasing, but in my eyes, preferable to having no cover at all...like my own club!
Sitting down on the terracing I look over to the stand down the side.
Here's a clearer view of it.
This photo perfectly illustrates how much the pitch has been shortened.
As we move round the ground we glance back at the cover.
And one of my corner angled photos. No corner flag here though, due to the shortened pitch!
The far side is completely open, just a walkway down this side, with the dugouts on the halfway line.
I get my 'corner flag snap', looking back behind the goal.
A view down the side, from the other end of the ground.
And turning behind the goal. I have no idea about the plastic covers. Perhaps the cover is being extended? Who knows?
From this corner we see the main stand again.
Looking back the other way we see the dug outs.
This is the cover behind this goal. Not a lengthy as the other end, but decent enough.
And all their own work. No doubt the Phillips' would have been embarrassed by this plaque, but honoured at the same time, as all true, unassuming club volunteers are.
Moving on we reach the last corner, and look back behind the goal.
Before turning the corner we get another look at the main stand.
Open standing down this side again, until we reach it.
From the side we see the covered terrace again.
And so we reach the stand. The fence on the left is the players' tunnel.
A few rows of seats along this section. There is a gap where the people are standing in the distance, that leads to the clubhouse.
Further along we look back down the stand.
Under the last part of the cover is some terracing, and a few strange benches at the back, view obscured in this snap.
Tour almost complete, we look over to behind the first covered end we saw.
Looking back down the terracing along the side you can see those old benches at the back.
You may have noticed that the club name sometimes has a hyphen in it, sometimes not. It DOES actually belong there, so this spelling in front of the stand is correct!
Here's a perfect view of those benches. Bizarre? Yes! But somehow uniquely fitting for a club with their amateur ethos & unusual colours! Give me those over modern plastic tip ups any day! ;-)
Before we finish our visit time to look at the wonderful kits that were on display.
Here are the famous Corinthian-Casuals shirts.
The sky blue is Old Etonians, the other the Old Carthusians.
And the hoops are the Royal Engineers.
The Cup & medals for the tournament were donated by the non-league benefactor, former Royal Engineer, and upholder of fair play, Victor Gladwish. Seen here with his assistant.
Though it doesn't stop him having this distinctly unsporting sticker on his car!
Tournament over, time for the presentations.
almost time to lift the cup...
Here we go...
The winners being Corinthian-Casuals!
Friday, 17 October 2008
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