Saturday 5 September 2009

West Ham United-Community Ground Beckton

Certainly an unusual venue here! Not a regular venue, but the Community Ground in Beckton. I saw a pre-season friendly on a messageboard listed as West Ham United Under 20s versus Ilford, and so that's how I ended up here on Monday 6th July, game number one for me of the 2009/10 season!

It's an all-weather pitch, and that is all it is! No spectator facilities at all, just an enclosed playing surface with floodlights.

It's not somewhere I'd go out of my way to visit, but it tied in nicely after work, and it's not a venue I'd be likely to get to otherwise.

I have been here before, nearly thirty years ago. Well to this site anyway. As the ground is on what was once the home of defunct London Spartan League outfit Beckton United, though I count this as a totally different ground.

This is the entrance from the side road it's on, with the busy flyover behind.

Hmm...not the friendliest of first impressions! Not that I'm too bothered, as I don't drive!

This plaque was on the wall, by the entrance to the Club building. Higgins Group PLC being the main backers of the West Ham United Community Scheme.

With the club crest & website higher up.

Behind the carpark you can see the remains of the 'Beckton Alps', built on the site of the old Beckton Gasworks.

A Club vechile was in the car park.

With a minibus next to it.

Inside the metal fencing surrounding the ground is this claret & blue pre-fab 'builders type' hut. It has tables and chairs scattered inside. Presumably some sort of temporary classroom type structure, for visits from schools and community groups.

Here some of the players come onto the pitch, from the brick building behind, where the changing rooms are.

A bit of goalmouth action.

From the corner, by the entrance gate, we look across the pitch.

There was hard standing down one tochline, with a small group of groundhoppers nearest to us.

Oh well, that's your season over before it's started! ;-)

Match action.

There was a large banner of "do's & don'ts" on the perimeter fence. Here is part of it!

This is a view of the touchline along the far side.

And a banner from the people who sponsor the West Ham United Community Project.

Here we look back across to the 'spectator' side.

It was getting extremely overcast towards the end of the match.

So the floodlights were switched on.

It was blustery, but I managed to get a slightly blurry snap of the corner flags. Canning Town FC play in the Essex Olympian League, & their reserve team use this venue.

A look up the pitch from behind the goal.

Friday 4 September 2009


My firstever posting on this grounds photoblog was a small set of pictures from a visit to the Emirates Stadium, in July 2007.

At the end of last season I saw another game there, and have added a substantial new set.

To see them just click here.

Sunday 30 August 2009


A 'strange' set of photos these ones of Millwall, as I took them very much on the 'spur of the moment', having read in the local paper back in May that there was a community football competition at The Den, and it gave me the 'excuse' to take pictures of the ground, without going to a game.

I must confess that while I don't support a professional side, Millwall I do have a 'soft spot' for. They are the local team, in the parts of south-east London where I grew up in, & I work in their traditional heartland of Bermondsey.

I've lost track of the amount of times I've seen them home & away down the years,probably in the low hundreds, with a good few dozen away from home.

They are the Football League side whose results I always look out for first.

A club of more than one crest, I prefer this old one. It's the one 'I grew up with', so to speak.

This is the only approach road into the ground. Believe it or not this is nothing like as intimidating as the 'old' Den!

On the left are local businesses on this small industrial estate, who have no problem whatsoever in using the club name to drum up business!

Here we're through the railway arch, and you see the banners put up a few years ago, illustrating the club history.

The club shop is in this corner too.

The banners are excellent...

Though they have faded a bit in the sunlight over the years, which is a shame.

Here is an illustrated map of the ground, which unbelievably, I've never noticed before!

This is the outer part of the West Stand, which is the main stand, and the only part of the ground open to spectators for the community event this evening.

The main entrance.

Round the corner is 'Arry's Bar. Members only, and named after the great Lions legend Harry Cripps.

The Cold Blow Lane end. The main home end, orginally called the South Stand when the new ground opened. The Club shamefully attempted to obliterate all connection with the old 'Den'. So much so that they even originally called the place the 'New London Stadium'!

In the corner, at this end of the stadium, is an almost unnoticed green patch, with a tree.

It's actually a memorial garden, where families of Millwall faithful departed can scatter ashes of their loved ones.

In the car park, is the Millwall community bus. Ironically playing on their one round of European competition when they went to Ferencvaros, of Hungary, in the UEFA Cup in 2004. the irony being many innocent Millwall fans were protected from serious attacks by the considerable contingent of their 'hooligan element' who travelled to Budapest. Something the Club were grateful for, but have never been publically able to acknowledge!

The usual things to leave outside...who's ever heard of a pensioner throwing a thermos flask onto the pitch? ;-)

The sharp fencing is very much in keeping with the 'image' of Millwall! ;-)

Finally we're going inside. Here we see the concourses.

Pictures of old Millwall legends on the walls, in an attempt to brighten up the dour greyness of the place.

And a chance to remember your loved ones, but this doesn't come cheap, & I think it costs a couple of hundred quid a year to 'maintain' these plaques. A tad expensive, if you ask me...

Here we look at the Cold Blow Lane end. the wording in the seats being 'The Den'. I can't recall if they were there when the ground opened, but I don't see how it would have fitted into the 'New London Stadium' image.

Here we're looking over to the East Stand.

And this is the lower tier of the main West Stand, the only part of the stadium open this evening.

from the West Stand we look over to the other end, which is the North Stand, and where the away fans are housed.

Back up the other end you can see the train line through the gap between the South & East stands. On big match days you can sometimes see local tight gits climb up onto the railway line banking to get a view, depsite the fact the ground has never sold out.

Here we look across the lower tier of the Cold Blow Lane (South Stand) end.

I've wandered along here, and from behind this goal we can see the whole of the West Stand, to our left.

And the identical East Stand, to our right.

Also , from this vantage point, all the way across the pitch to the away end.

Another look at the West Stand, with the tournament in progress on the pitch.

Anyone who goes onto the pitch at a professional ground nowadays is just plain stupid, as far as I'm concerned, with the amount of CCTV everywhere.

This is the club mascot, Zampa the Lion. Zampa being the approach road to the stadium.

Down the far end of the West Stand, for a shot across the away end.

And from the same spot a last snap across the pitch, before it's time to go. Trust me, I wasn't here to watch the football this evening! ;-)