Saturday 26 December 2009

Deal Town

Deal Town is a wonderful Kent League ground on the coast. What this league lacks in numbers is more than excused by delightful little grounds like this.

My first visit here was a few years ago for a pre-season 'double header' against Dulwich Hamlet, both the First & Reserve Teams playing each other.

These photos were taken back in Spetember, when I stopped off on the way to a Hamlet match at Ramsgate.

No game listed, on their fixture board on the gate, provided by their Supporters' Club. They were away on the day I popped in, though their reserve team was at home, so I was able to gain access through a gate that was open,albeit at the other end of the ground. There are turnstiles behind each goal.

Presumably the ground has had previos sponsors, as the current one, Oatmor Harris, is tacked on top of this still tidy sign.

This is the way I got into the ground, at the Mill Road end.

A gate open, making easy access.

We are going to start our tour of the ground at this end,turning left, in a clockwise direction.
The first thing we see is the John Saunders club shop.

Placed in front of it is a bench....

Dedicated to the man, presumably a loyal club servant, with 1939-2002 on it. A sure sign of a caring club.

To our right we see the main changing room block, with the club name on the front. There can't be many smarter looking than this around. A fine corner for a football ground! But as I say, we're heading the other way round.

From behind the goal we see another covered area in front of a bar, I think, as I remember it,with the protective netting behind the goal to the left of the snap.

Standing directly behind the goal we look across the pitch and see the cover at the other end.

Stepping back couple of paces & we look over to the other side. Through the next we can catch a glimpse of the seats.

The end where we are is open, hard standing, with grass behind.

Here we see the dug out side from right by the goal, camera place through the high netting, so it doesn't block our view.

And from the other side of the six yard box, looking to our left.

We're now heading down that side, toward what looks like a bit of covered terracing...

It's actually some sort of scaffolding covered storage space!

Retracing our steps a few yards we look across the pitch from the corner flag.

Along the halfway line is this small modern stand.

On the chain link fencing next to it is a celebratory advertising hoarding. This was also the season they became the first-and only-Kent League side to win the FA Vase, marked by their victorious squad who all had identical tattoos.

From here we look back across the pitch, to the corner where we entered the ground.

From the side of the seats we look back at the 'scaffold cover'.

Turning in the other direction we glance down the stand.

Past the seating is a brand new building, almost complete. It looks like new club house.

From here we look back at the seats.

Before starting to work our way to behind the other goal, which we can see from outside the new bar.

It's similar to the other end, open with hard standing, and grass behind, except there is a covered terrace area behind the goal.

Another corner flag shot for you....are we really only half way round?

From this corner we look back along the side we've just walked along.

Behind the goal is this hoarding from the local branch of CAMRA. For the Crown Inn, in Finglesham.

Here is the tidy covered terrace behind the goal.

Directly behind the goal itself we look over to our left, the last side of the ground we have yet to see properly.

Past the cover we come to a new brick turnstile block.

This is the St. Leonards Road end, as this sign outside says, & is the main entrance to the ground.

On the exterior of the covered terrace is this sign...

An excellent fundraising idea.

This is the turnstile.

Inside the ground, on the wall of the gate, is this small plaque, which moved me, as over the decades, on & off, I dread to think how many dozens, even hundreds of times, I have voluntarily worked the Champion Hill turnstiles, both old and new. This is truly the mark of a caring club who values people.

Past this, with car park behind, is a shallow step of terrace to the corner.

This continues a little of the way, as we turn the corner.

That's this corner here, as we have another 'corner flag' shot.

From here we look back behind the goal.

Moving along we look back over the pitch to the seats.

Now we're at the old club buildings, where the roof 'doubles' as a covered standing area.

It is narrow, but it feels like a football ground,old, but still smart, painted in the club colours throughout.

And so here we are back in the corner, at the changing rooms. It may 'just' be a brick building, but it looks wonderful!

And from this corner flag, rather than looking over the pitch, we point the camera at the turnstiles and club shop where we started our tour, which is nearly over.

But not quite. In the corner, behind the goal, is this smart little garden area. I don't know what delightful, caring tale there is behind it, but there is sure to be one, as this is Deal Town.

Now we DO look across the pitch, for the 'corner flag' shot! From where see the club initials lovingly marked into the turf, where the players enter the field. Such a simple touch, but one with a bit of understated class.

Although our tour is now over, I take the opportunity to quickly walk onto the pitch and take snaps of various structures, pitch side. Here is the cover along the side, and bar area.

Also along this side are the dugouts.

Across the pitch is the 'scaffold' area.

And the main stand.

And, finally, the cover behind the goal. Which we can now see clearly is called the Chivers Stand. Unfortunately I am unable to tell you the significance of this.

Now we really are at the end our tour of DTFC!