Sunday 19 October 2008

Metropolitan Police

I've never been the biggest 'fan' of this outfit. Now allowing non-police officers to appear for them, I often wonder how players could sell their soul to a soulless outfit. But contrary to the 'urban myth' they are not directly funded by the taxpayer. As I understand it serving police pay into a weekly lottery & the money is divided up by the various police sections.

They have little to no support, but have a 'good reputation' boardroom wise. Which is presumably why they are outrageously allowed special dispensation not to play matches on bank holidays! As far as I'm concerned if they can't fulfil a fixture they should either be docked the points, awarded to the opposition, for failing to fulfil a fixture. Or-even better-bugger off to a proper police works league, where they can play whenever they want!

Oh & while we're having a moan..why is the bar service always so slow? With anyone with a police tie or t-shirt getting served first?

Despite all that Metropolitan Police have a lovely little ground. My first visit was back in 1979/60, I think, for a representative game between the Isthmian League & the British Police team. There were a number of Hamlet players in the squad, and such was out support back then, we were the only club to run a supporters' coach to the game!

This was also where we beat Kingstonian, in a 1984 London Senior Cup final replay. Finishing on the losing side-yet again- was the man most famous as the 'Leatherhead Lip' Chris Kelly. He was retirung after a wonderful career, that saw him reach a number of cup finals...but failed to pick up a single winners medal!

Here is the board advertising matches, on the main road. Behind this is the car park & a large clubhouse complex. Behind that is a gym & swimming pool, with the football ground past that.

Here are the turnstiles to get in. These are all away fans queuing, in case you're wondering! ;-)

Once inside we're going to walk in a clockwise direction. Note this pylon, within the pitch perimeter fence, hence the protective padding. The others are the other side. For many years Imber Court only had three pylons. You will see a newer, fourth 'thin' one later. The League sponsored board is new to all Ryman clubs this season. You can see the main stand in the background.

But opposite it, down this side, is just a couple of steps of open terracing.

As we start strolling down this side we look behind us and see the covered terrace behind the goal.

As we progress the trees outside make a pleasant backdrop.

And this is the same the whole length of this side.

At the halfway line we see the main stand opposite.

With this hoarding on view for those sitting in it.

Looking back down the terrace we see one of the 'old three' pylons. What I call 'proper' floodlights! And look at the touchline, with modern artificial grass, which will survive the 'wear & tear' of the linemen. I can't recall having seen this before. I've played on these modern surfaces, & would like to see them allowed, as long as they are maintained properly, in non-league football.

We've now reached the bottom corner, for one of my 'corner flag angle' photos!

At the far end there is also an open terrace. In the bottom right of the photo you can see the fence jutting out, where the new fourth pylon is.

From behind the goal we look across to the main stand.

And here is a view of the main stand.

From the other flag at this end we look down the stand side.

And also glance back along the open end, where you see the new pylon. Give me the old ones anyday!

On this side, leading up to the stand,, there is open standing. The buildings to the left are toilets and changing rooms for the secondary pitches behind the open end, as well as the rugby club, set behind the main stand here. (I have taken a few snaps of the rugby ground too)

From the side we look back to the open end.

And here is the area in front of the main stand, with more of that all-weather surface in the dugout & technical areas.

Our first look up in the seats, where we can see a nice, modern press box.

With it being half time, I 'sneaked' pitchside to take a snap of the tunnel.

And here are the dugouts.

Back on the spectator side we can look up to the officials' enclosure.

Past the seats is more open standing with no steps, before we get there we're just going to nip up these steps...

And have another angle of the stand.

From up here we can look over to the covered end, where we have yet to walk along.

And that's the direction wer'e headed.

Past the tea bar & toilet block.

Another, almost identical ,photo of the covered end.

Looking over to the corner of the ground where we came in, with the clubhouse in the background.

Here's a view of the cover from the corner.

A look up the pylon in this corner. It must be a cracking view from up there, but there's no way I was climbing that! Maybe I could 'tip off' the Fathers for Justice' brigade & slip them my camera! ;-)

In this corner are these gates. Waldron is a former Metropolitan Police commisioner.

Now we are moving along the covered end. What a superb stadium this would be if they roofed behind the other goal too.

Here is another view of the main stand, from this end now. You can clearly see the tea bar/toilet block on the right.

Looking back down the covered terrace.'s NOT just me taking photos! ;-)

so to where we came in, at the padded pylon. Note the hoarding for Chelsea Ladies Football Club, who also play here.

And finally....the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Team have played a number of away matches over the years on the outer pitches behind the open end. After one match last season we cut through the main ground after changing, & I snapped this horse taking a short cut from the adjacent mounted division!

Metropolitan Police RUFC

The rugby ground is tucked behind the football ground at Imber Court. walk round behind the open end of the football ground, and in the corner, outside, you will see a footbridge over a stream. Cross it & look right.

This is the scoreboard.

Grass banking down the side, but there was a sign saying spectators were not allowed to stand on it.

Roped off behind the goal.

With the only structure of any sort being the stand on the far side.

Here is a decent view of it. Very strange. As there's absolutely nothing underneath it. With the changing rooms & bar area, back in the Football Club area of the Imber Court sports complex.

A bench or two in front, in case you can't manage the steps.

Here's the view looking across the stand.

And now towards the pitch. Bring a blanket on a cold day!

At the back is a small press area.

And from there this is the sightline towards the other posts.

Southgate Olympic

It's very rare I delve into AFA football. But with Southgate Olympic having a 75th anniversary game I thought 'why not'? Football in the AFA is more about fair play & sociailising. So there's very rarely any spectator facilities, and sometimes the pitches aren't even roped off. But at it's top level there are sides more than capable of holding their own if they switched over to 'regular' county leagues.

Southgate play in the third division of the Southern Amateur League, & are based at the Clowes Sports Ground, in N21. If you are a 'dedicated' groundhopper it's a ground to 'tick'. But, thankfully I'm not one myself, so am fortunate enough to have plenty of built up stadiums to choose from, if I'm not supporting the Hamlet. That's not to say there was anything wrong with the place, or the standard of fare on offer, it just wasn't very 'photogenic'! ;-)

A chap came up to me & asked if I was Mishi. Replying in the affirmative he introduced himself as the man behind this site, & I had a very pleasant hour & a half chinwagging away!

This is the view of the changing rooms & clubhouse from the road.

Prsumably a council ground, maintained by the London Borough of Enfield.

A superb 16 page souvenir programme was on offer for a pound. A bargain & most unexpected!

As I said it's the social side that matters, & they're clearly proud of their history here.

With all the results up to date on the noticeboard.

Presumably these are some of those 'groundhopping' types! ;-)

Nice corner flags.

The Representative team took the leagie from the penalty spot, & finished comfortable 6-1 winners. Clearly much stronger, what was nice was they never once 'showboated', nor did Olympic give up trying.

A glance at some of the crowd down the touchline.

The Olympic number nine, clearly a veteran, played a large part of the match. I wondered to myself whether he had played in the 50th anniversary match a quarter of a century earlier!

Wating for the final whistle, not long to go, but why they're all behind the net itself I have no idea!

A look across the pitch, at the end.

Mustn't forget the corner flags!

Game over, nets down, looking over to the pavilions.

Not wuite lined up properly (whoops!) this is the Southgate Olympic club crest.

A pleasant morning, at an unusual venue, for me. the only 'disappointment' was the teams never lined up for team photos on such a historic occasion.