Southwick play in the Second Division of the Sussex County League. I've been here a few times before, all with Dulwich Hamlet. The last was at the start of the nineties, when they were an Isthmian League side. My first time here was for an FA Cup 2nd qualifying round midweek replay defeat in 1985. On getting the train back we got off at Peckham Rye at around midnight, & Rye Lane was even more deserted than usual. no people, no traffic. What was going on? I turned left, walking toward the Old Kent Road, where I lived. Walking down a deserted road I got to the bottom of Rye Lane to be met by a line of riot police! They asked where on earth we'd come from, but not so politely. Turns out trains had been told NOT to stop at Peckham Rye, as parts of Peckham were burning that night, as a riot was taking place. Sadly one of the buildings to burn was the pie & mash shop, but thankfully it was rebuilt.
I took these snaps in January 2010, prior to watching the Hamlet at Worthing. After I'd completed my circuit a man came out of the clubhouse & enquired what I was doing. I explained, & he said he was the commercial manager Alan Petken. We only spoke briefly, but he was extremely friendly & gave me a free copy of their programme for that afternoon, an excellent sixty page effort, with colour cover. He refused to take any money off me for it, which I don't know if it means he is a genuinely kind person, or a crap commercial manager! ;-)
That small act of kindness ceetainly made my day.
This is the approach to the ground, where you can see the club bar.
This is the actual entrance to the ground.
In the corner are these turnstiles, this is inside the ground.
To the right, as we walk in & begin our tour, is this open area behind the goal.
From this corner we look across the pitch, to the also open far side, and the dugouts. Club name proudly painted on the perimeter wall.
We're going to go staight ahead though, down the nearside touchline, in a clockwise direction. The glass fronted patio is the smoking area for the clubhouse, with a stand urther along.
A bit blurred, but this is inside the bar.
This wonderful club crest is displayed on the wall in there.
Behind the bar area is the changing rooms, and here is the 'tunnel' to them, with the stand just beyond.
This is down the tunnel, the door to the changing rooms on the left, at the end.
Another club crest painted on the wall. This ground may be rundown a little, but there is no doubt the people of this club are extrmely proud of their home.
As if we never knew, from the amount of club emblems everywhere! ;-)
From the tunnel we look over to the club name on the far side.
This is the stand, a few rows of bucket seating.
The ones further along have a slightly higher vantage point.
Here is a shot from the front. There may not be many of them, but they're tidy, & the stand has its own individual style.
Further along this area is 'bricked in', maybe an official' area?
And a tidy stand alone press box.
Past this is open paved hard standing to the corner.
Double railed, the lower one presumably being an old pitch surround which they didn't completely dismantle when the new one was installed.
Just behind the goal is the railway line. When we saw the Hamlet play here all those years ago I don't think the bridge over the tracks had the cage over it, and a number of tight fisted locals watched the game for free on it. We nicknamed it the 'Southwick Hornby Stand'!
Turning the corner & it's more open hard standing.
From this corner we look back down the side we've just walked down.
And now we're going to stroll along this old concrete path behind the goal.
From behind the goal we glance over to the dugouts side which we're on our way to.
Set back in the next corner of the ground is this old hut. I'm guessing this is/was for refreshments.
And while in this corner we have a corner flag view (minus the corner flag!) over to the built up side.
The first stretch of this side has some old terracing, with a whitewashed brick wall at the back.
Here is a better angle of it from the front.
From here we glance back behind, to the railway end.
This is another angle of the terrace, as we move along.
It's a bit tight, and a right rubbish view(!), as we move behind the dugouts.
From by the dugouts we look across the pitch to the main buildings side.
This is one of the dugouts.
Past them is the outer brick wall, smartly painted with the club name. I don't know why the hard standing is wider here. Perhaps there was once some cover of some sort here in years gone by?
We now on the latter part of our visit. Heading for the area behind the goal.
Here we have one more look down the length of the open side.
Behind the goal it's more built up, a couple of steps of shallow terrace, rather than just a basic hard standing walkway.
A bit further along it's a decent end for this level.
Behind this goal we see the stand beyond.
Another club sign behind the goal. This one a manufactured one. they must have run out of paint! And on that note we've run out of time at this ramshackle but delight of a tidy ground...if that's not too much of a contradiction!
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My first club! My parents were programme editors in themid 80's and when Burgess Hill aren't playing we still venture down to Old Barn Way to see a game. Unfortunately it has fallen on hard times, the old stand and covered terracing where the dugouts are have gone and the ramshackle tin roof over the terrace behind the goal has gone but it still is a decent ground for Level 10
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