Thursday 1 January 2009

Cray Wanderers-Oxford Road

Cray Wanderers play their First Team games at Hayes Lane, Bromley. But Oxford Road is their true home, being forced to move away to compete in the Isthmian League, as they could not get planning permission to bring this small ground up to standard. It is still home to their Reserve & Youth sides, but has inevitably fell into a somewhat serious state of disrepair since the First Team moved elsewhere. It is also currently home to Kent County League side Stansfeld O & B Club; the 'O & B' standing for Oxford & Bermondsey, their 'roots' being in Bermondsey itself.

It is a terrible shame to see such a historic old club being forced to play away from their own area, one would hope that they find a site to return to their 'Crays' heartland sooner rather than later. If they were to find the right site, or were finally able to develop Oxford Road with their own clubhouse to bring in revenue, then I believe they could easily attract a decent following to match & take on those of other nearby sides like Bromley & Welling United.

As you approach the ground you see this Conservative club, which 'doubles up' as their clubhouse. I have no idea why they never actually had one of their own. It was certainly strange going here for various pre-season games over the years, drinking in an establishment that had pictures of Maggie Thatcher on the wall!

Past the Tory Club, and these gates get you into the ground.

The entrance is at the corner of the pitch, and we look down the length of it, towards the old stand.

Or what's left of it. What a sorry state it is! blighted by graffiti, and no seats left, though, if memory is right, I only think a certain section of it actually had seats in them.

Here is the same stand, but from the other end.

Past the concrete structure is a path to the far corner.

Open behind the goal, and even the pitch rail is in a bad way, with no need to maintain it, at the lowly levels the ground is now used for.

Directly behind the goal we look over the oppopsite side, where you can see the dugouts, and what appears to be the remains of some sort of cover, if you look carefully.

Behind the net, spectator side, you can just make out some old hard standing under the overgrowing grass.

moving on to the far side now, and you can see some sort of 'shed' by the dugouts.

As we move along we glance over to the old stand.

Presumably this old bit of covered terrace once had a back to it. There are also the barest of remains of a wooden fence along the chain link one by the field adjacent. I am guessing this wooden fence once ran all the way along this side to the make the ground 'fully enclosed'?

From the side we look behind the goal, netting to keep the ball going out past the car park, & the changing rooms in the corner, I beleive there was a tea bar here too.

There was also this 'construction' as we went past the dugouts. I'm guessing it was some sort of old shed for the groundman to keep equipment in, as it would have been a tad too small for spectator cover surely?

And here are the actual dugouts.

We are finally behind the goal, going towards the corner we entered the ground. A nice grass bank, which was a good vantage point in the past, when I've been here for pre-season games.

Looking back down the side this shot makes this ground see so rural. Which is is really, with fields surrounding the ground with horses grazing in them. you have to pinch yourself to remind yourself that we are still, technically, within the boundaries of Greater London!

For the state of the ground now, in 2009, the state of this ugly netting doesn't really matter. It somehow fits in. Despite being a 'carbuncle on the face of a once much loved county league ground' (With 'apologies' to Prince Charles!)

Of course if Cray Wanderers were to ever rerurn home here that more than adeqaute grass banking would have go for characterless concrete terracing.

Not quite 'This is Anfield', but the Wands' are rightly just as proud of their claim to be the second oldest club in the world, with the sign showing it's age as well!

A final look down the old stand side before it's time to say farewell to Oxford Road, and the true home of Cray Wanderers.

Which way Bromley?

Wednesday 31 December 2008

Cray Valley (Paper Mills)

Cray Valley (PM) play in the Kent County League, & are currently based at a very basic ground (as you'd expect) in Eltham, SE9.

I took these snaps on the last Sunday of 2008, during a Dulwich Hamlet youth team match.

The mainclub building, from the entrance on Middle Park Avenue, which is off of the same roundabout with Greenwich Borough FC by the McDonalds.

I am going from memory here, but I beleive their used to be a Junior club (that is boys football) who play(ed) here called Middle Palace.

From within the ground this is where the players come out from the changing rooms.

The rear of the main building which we have seen is the bar area, with a nice outside area for early, & end of season games.

Inside is a small club trophy cabinet, including a number of trophies from previous Kent County League glories. Note the information on the right for local Sunday side Goldsmiths United, who also use the ground, & compete in the Orpington & Bromley District Sunday League.

This fines sheet shows how amateur clubs manage to survive! ;-)

This ground isn't so much one sided, as 'half sided'. It is railed off from the clubhouse corner down as far as the dugouts, with a hard standing path. That is it! The rest of the pitch is not even roped off. I guess it's 'presumed' that spectators will stay behind the barrier.

One you reach the dugouts there's this barrier blocking your way.

The dugouts look a very recent construction.

From the open far side we look back across the pitch.

Behind the roadside goal end there are some training lights.

A nice touch on the goalnet supports, marked in club colours.

Another look down the spectator side, as there really is nothing else to see!