Sunday 8 March 2009

Whitstable Town

Whitstable Town is another delightful ground on the Kent coast, currently in the Ryman League Division One South. I visited this for a Dulwich Hamlet game at the weekend. I've been here once before, for a Hamlet Youth Team John Ullmann Cup Final, in May 1994. I vaguely recall we lost to a dodgy penalty in the last minute; but it was back in my drinking days, so don't recall too much about the ground, so it was a pleasure to finally go back, having missed the previous Dulwich Hamlet First Team visits here, as I was working.

A few minutes before kick off, I approach the turnstiles.

The local paper gives good coverage of their matches.

One of our fans shows off his betting slips from the local William Hills, which offer correct score odds on all Whitstable Town games. Sadly he never had nil nil!

As you come through the turnstiles the bar is to the left, as is hard standing in front of it. But you can't go further down this side, as it's blocked off for the changing rooms & dugouts. So we will go round the ground anti-clockwise.

To the right, as you walk in is their club shop. They sell red & white bar scarves, hand knitted by the wife of the club chairman apparently!

The Club flag flutters in the wind, sadly I didn't quite get a full shot of it.

From this corner we look across to the stand on the far side, I loved the club name on the roof, and the lettering on this gate.

Here we see the tea bar, & the covered terrace behind this goal.

Before moving round we look back down the side, where you can see how fae spectators can go, to the end of the building.

The cover behind the goal, with path at the front.

A good shot of many of the Hamlet fans who'd travelled to the Kent coast...two from Belgium!

Moving round we continue past the covered terrace.

Here we look across to the strange dugouts. A modern one, to the right past the pylon, for the away team. The home staff & substitutes in the lder ones in front of the changing room building, to the left of the pylon.

Back behind the goal two Hamlet fans are engrossed in the match.

A lovely shot of the main stand.

Here we look back behind the goal, from the corner.

With a corner flag shot over to the dugouts.

Now we're heading down the other side, with the grass behind the path, within the ground, doubling up as an extension to the car park!

From here we look back behind the goal.

Moving along we reach the stand.

I go to the back & take a picture to the left.

And one to the right.

In the centre is the directors' box, for club officials, & assorted hangers on, no doubt!

To the side of the stand, at the far end, is this entrance.

Another look at the stand, from this end.

And it's open hard standing for the rest of our journey around the ground.

Now we've turned behind the goal, there appears to be a step of terrace right behind the goal.

Or is it? This looks like the concrete base for some sort of stand that hasn't been built.

Onto the far corner at this end, a look over to the main stand again.

And down the final side, that's a toilet block on the right.

From here we look back to the open end.

There's a children's playground along this side, and these strange 'stand alone' steps. Was there once steps all the way along?

The older home dugouts, in front of the changing rooms.

This is my good friend Nicolas, who travelled over from Namur, in Belgium, with his fiancee Danuta. If anyone from Whitstable Town stumbles across this post may I say a big thank you for giving them a name check in the programme.

Flags out behind the goal in the second half (nowhere to hang them properly in the first forty five minutes!) Note the Belgian flag on the left, and the Paris Saint Germian one! Nicolas is an ardent PSG fan.

In the middle is Jack McInroy, editor of the esteemed fans' journal the 'Hamlet Historian'. He is sitting with two Hamlet old boys, who played for the club in the early fifties!

Nicolas again, with the Dulwich Hamlet First Team manager Craig Edwards.

And as they shake hands it's time for us to say goodbye to Whitstable Town as well, one of the more delightful trips at a very friendly ground in the Ryman League Division One South.