Tuesday 6 July 2010

Slough Town-Wexham Park

Slough Town currently groundshare at Beaconsfield SYCOB, having left their previous home, Wexham Park, at the end of the 2002/03 season, after a fallout of some sort withe the people who owned it. They've been somewhat nomadic since, while still searching for a site back in Slough itself.

Back in May I had a look in at Wexham Park, to see it in its sad, derelict state. Hand on heart, it was never my favourite ground to visit with the Hamlet, but it is still deplorable to see it lying empty & overgrown, when it couldstill be used by The Rebels.

This ground actually has one of my happiest 'schooldays' memories, as in 1982 Millwall lost here in the FA Cup. I wasn't at that match, but a few weeks before Dulwich drew 0-0 here in an Isthmian League Premier Division match. And with most of my class (well, the ones that actually went to games, I don't count armchair fans!) being Millwall fans, I prized the report from that no-score draw, the opening of which read "Millwall failed to do what Dulwich Hamlet had done a few weeks earlier-stop Slough scoring at home."

Oh, the bragging rights for me back then! Did I milk it! ;-)

I had no difficulty in getting inside today, eventually! I couldn't find a way through the fences/over the walls, so went behind the cover behind the goal. I battled through thick undergrowth, & trees, getting a bit scratched in the process. Still no luck, but getting to the end I then saw I could have walked along the path, which came to some open land beyond the far side, and part of the perimeter had been knocked down by vandals! Doh! But not to worry, at least I got inside!

This post is deticated to a Swedish man called Mats, I've only met once, at a Suburban League Shield Final match at Champion Hill, in the nineties, against Slough town. He's a proud Swedish Rebel, who I know looks in on this site, & also has his own one for Swedish grounds!

From the main road there is this large car park, the social club straight ahead.

To the left of the bar area are the turnstiles.

These are the turnstiles from inside. We are going to face the pitch & head round the old ground clockwise, as if we had entered through here on a matchday.

To our right is the back of the bar & changing rooms, with the main stand on the left of this snap.

Moving a bit further forward we see the side of the stand, & you can already see how overgrown the 'pitch' is.

Straight ahead & we see across the pitch.

In this picture we see the start of the terracing around the ground to the left.

Old hoardings and seats lying discarded.

Gingerly starting to make our way round through the overgrowth, we see the cover behind the goal.

Behind us is the main stand.

This is the view down the side, to the corner.

Such a sad state...

All the way along, behind the goal, not fit for purpose anymore.

But you can clearly see, with some hard work, this could become a football ground once more.

Back to the first corner again, another look at the stand.

Covering the area behind the goal again, we see the stand once more from this end.

And behind the goal, this narrow stretch of pitch surround is at the 'Willie Lillington' end. Nothing to do with Slough, he was a great Hamlet forward of the mid nineties, who once scored here, jumped on this fenced and somehow balanced on top of it as he got mobbed by Hamlet fans!

There now follow a number of photos from this end of the ground, which I won't caption, as they are all very similar, but I am showing them to capture the sad neglect at this end.

Here we look across the pitch, to the other end, also covered.

And to our left is old open terracing, with cover in the middle.

A last pic of the cover at this end, before moving on.

Here we see down the far side.

Hard to see the steps of terrace under all the wild encroachment of nature..

Here we glance back behind the goal, with the stand in shot.

A 'corner flag' shot, a very long time since there was actually a corner flag here.

The terracing runs along the side, to the cover in the centre.

We get closer to the cover along this side. There's really no need for some of these, almost duplicate, pictures. But it is quite unusual to see such an overgrown ground, that I thought the more the merrier, as you really don't know how long before such a venue finally disappears forever.

This is the cover, without the back. It was through the fencing past that, or the gap in the fencing I should say, that I gained access to the site.

From the elevated steps under cover we look back along this side.

And across the pitch to the main stand.

I always went behind the goal when Dulwich played here. I wonder if this part of the ground was like many others? The halfway line here, where all the 'moaners' stood?

Fencing at the end. Was this segregation from their top flight Conference days, or big FA Cup ties past?

Past this is an old tea hut & toilet block.

Wrecked by local youngsters, once the ground was vacated.

This is inside the teabar.

And here are the remains of the gents toilets.

Moving on there's more overgrown terracing past this, to the corner.

We glance back as we move along.

And here we see the cover behind the goal, where we are heading.

Turning the corner, we look back down the side terracing.

And up on the terrace we look over the pitch, from this corner.

More 'woodland' behind the goal.

How overgrown is that?

And old sign for the 'Isthmian League Cup', then called the Bryco Cup.

Note how the front of the terrace 'curves back' behind the goal.

Another 'end to end' shot.

From under the cover we look to the covered terrace, along the side.

With the main stand to our left.

On we go, toward the corner.

Looking back we can clearly see the 'curve' of this end.

There is another turnstile block in this corner.

A 'zoom' shot of the stand, through the vegetation.

Which was taken behind the big plants at the front of this picture.

Down the final side now, still overgrown, but not as bad as the rest of the stadium. Behind those blue railings is another turnstile block.

Which you can see here.

Just before entered 'the home straight', another snap from the corner, behind the goal.

Moving along now...

We reach the main stand. The remains of seats added on in front of it. Presumably this was to satisfy the then ground gradings, not as stringent as now, for the Conference?

Although some were vandalised, I was surprised at how many were still intact up in the main part of the stand.

Plenty of green foliage blocking the way in front, as we look at the steps in the middle.

Some seats were destroyed, burnt & melted.

From up in the last we look back to the old 'golf range' end.

Before it's 'eyes to the left' & an inside look down the stand.

From the first rows of the stand we see over the pitch, with the smashed dugout in front.

Not much left of what, I presume, was the press area.

More attempts at arson up here.

Moving along the front we see the other dugout, & beyond, where we started our tour.

Going onto the pitch, minding our step, so as not to turn an ankle, we look at the stand from the front.

The other side of it has the home dugout in front.

Crude drawings now adorn the plain white walls.

Looking down the old players' tunnel.

Nature taking over all over...

It looks a mess, but with a bit of hard graft, it could be brought back into use. What a waste!

Back 'upstairs' for another peek down.

More seats gone at this end of the stand.

From the end we look down to where we began our walk round, in front of the main turnstiles.

Another view across the pitch.

And down the seats again.

Before we look behind us once more, and see the old turnstiles from up here.

Did you notice the old style wooden seats in the back row?

Reserved for season ticket holders. I'm left wondering how many stuck with the Club when they were forced out of their home town, first to Windsor, & then Beaconsfield?

Underneath the stand, is the remains of the old club shop, amazingly with programmes past still in there, mostly form the last couple of years at Wexham Park, many in good condition, but with staples rusted.

And that really sad picture is our our last one of our circuit around the old Wexham Park, just a few more, of the ground we've already seen, as we cross the pitch to get out.
Here we look to the covered end, to our left.

Main stand now behind us.

Directly ahead, in this snap.

Down to the cover at the far end.

Before seeing the far side, where we will leave.

Through the back of which we depart.

The fencing gone behind it, which is the one good thing, as it meant I could get in to take these pictures! But I bet if you're a Slough fan looking at these then they must hurt like hell!


Mats said...

Hi Mishi,

Thanks for the photos.
Sad to see what has happened to Wexham Park. It was not a favourite ground but it was my team Slough Town FC ground.

Last time I visited it was in 2002. After STFC left the Stadium in 2003 I think it was used one or two season for a ladies team.

Hope STFC will get their own ground soon.


Kind Regards
Swedish Football Ground Site
(Covering mostly non-league)

ivor said...

Hi i would like to thank you for the photos it took me back to some very happy days watching my team SLOUGH TOWN.I have left slough now and live in huntingdon cambs but still watch out for Slough,s results every week. They are in my heart now and allways.It upsets me to look at them and see how they have slumped over the years, But my heart will allways be with the team.Thank you again.

Rabbler said...

Thanks to both of you for your feedback. It must be terribly sad to see your former home in such a state of dereliction...

Anonymous said...

Hi Thanks for the photos and yes it hurts like hell ! i lived in Wexham and even cleaned the players boots hear the likes off David Kemp/Paul Barron great ex players lost count how many games went to Wexham went to see Slough home and away even the huge old Dulwich Hamlet stadium etc it is such a waist i now live 300 hunded miles away and have done since 1990Gutted !

Rabbler said...

Don't mean to upset you, just record what's left for posterity!
For me the day can't come soon enough when Slough town return to their home town!

Unknown said...

How sad to see such a good old (it is another of the older "new" grounds, following Slough's move from The Dolphin stadium, in such a poor state, being unlikely even to be economically viable for re-opening for football (or anything). This is what happens (& is still happening) when "NON-football" people try & get involved with football & clubs...
I fear for Chelsea & Stamford Bridge, if & when Obramovich gets bored with English football, as he could easily sell the prime land site for development & kicj out the club! The "Owners" of Wexham park were AND ARE rather stupid, as with the ground well outside the town, the land is probably "green belted" & only can be built on for sport use!, though I am unsure of this, hope the landowner gets fed up of holding onto a white elephant & sells it to someone who can get the club back into the borough

Rabbler said...

topumpire1: Couldn't agree more! But I think Slough Town are constantly looking at other sites in the town, & wouldn't really want to go back to Wexham Park anymore.
It's a shame the local council can't find them a suitable site.

Anonymous said...

Sadly looks like it was a crap ground to begin with.Sad to see the state it has fallen into maybe FC Scum of Bury might want to move in to be closer to their "Loyal" fan base!

Joris said...

What is the address of this ground? Tried to visit it last week and thought is was close to the hospital, but coulnd't find it.

Anonymous said...

Wonder what's happening here now.

The latest Google Earth image (June 2013) shows that the foliage has all been removed, and the pitch looks almost like its in a workable state.

There is a vehicle within the turnstile area, and cars parked adjacent to the clubhouse in that image.

Ascot Rebel said...

The good news for Slough Town is that a new ground is being built quite adjacent to the Wexham Park site. The work has started and the club will be playing there from the start of season 2016/17, just over 13 years since leaving the former ground. The white elephant that is Wexham Park is still in private ownership, obviously they have some agenda for possible development, but it's green belt ........

Anonymous said...

Attended SloughTowns new ground yesterday for the first game v Hayes yeading utd a 2-1 win for the Rebels. Official attendance was 1401 . Stadium not fully complete main stand still needing completion but all frame work up. Arbour Park 1sits literally adjacent to the old Wexham Park ground, a real 2 fingers to the owners of that ground, which seems now to operate as a golf driving range and banquet hall for asian weddings and school proms.
A noted increase in attendence , with a full capicity reported to be 2000. A 20 min walk from the town centre, not to bad . Only pitfull I can see is the lack of parking facilities available. As I can not forsee people walking to the ground. It is situated going out of town slightly , no pubs too near or shops.......but overall can not really complain.. not to sure how some residents will react to a football ground oppisite tgere houses as was fairly busy yesterday Sold Out on tickets. A welcome return to the town, Conference football would be nice eventually. This is the 5th ground I have seen Sllugh play on since the 70s......really they should be called the Wanderers. QPR john.

Ascot Rebel said...

I too attended the first game at the new ground, but then I attend pretty much all home games and quite a lot of away games as well! It's been tortuous getting to this point, but full credit must go to our chairman, Steve Easterbrook, for his unstinting efforts to get us back to the town, to Slough Borough Council for delivering such an excellent facility and to those supporters who volunteer their services week in week out to ensure we are able to stage games.

Parking will be provided once the school next door, the sports hall behind the ground and stadium phase 2 (main stand and upper floor area)are finished. Agree that there aren't any adjacent pubs, however, there are in Slough centre 15-20 minutes away. Have a drink at the club, why not?!

Think you'll find the golf range at "The Park" is defunct, along with the football ground, however, it operates as a conference and wedding venue, and STFC currently uses their car park as the pick up point for away match coaches. Suspect this will cease once parking is available at the new ground.......so not quite 2 fingers yet.

Unknown said...

I spent hundreds of days stood at Wexham Park, so sad to see these photos. But onwards and upwards, our new facility at Arbour Park is fantastic - big thanks to the Chairman and Slough Borough Council for bringing us home. Feeling nostalgic and proud on the eve of our 2nd round FA Cup tie with Rochdale. Come on you Rebels!!!!!!

sixpack said...

amazing to see this, grew up in the town, only went a couple of times at the old ground off the Wexham road; there was a youngster back then (20th C sometime lol) called Paul Walker I think, played England schoolboys and got a move to a bigger club; no idea what happened to him but he wasn't 1st division or anything. I did go to see him at the old Wembley for England school boys though.

Went to primary school just along Elliman Ave with a boy Paul who's dad (Alan Davies) had played for them and then started the Amber & Blue coach company that did their travel for them in their colours! used to see him driving a coach around. His mum used to make us soft boiled eggs with toasted soldiers!! Yum!!

Surprised to see a new ground - where the old Orchard School was, terrible reputation it had, fortunately for me I passed my 12+ exam so didn't go there.
A little surprised the council was able to build the ground, they've had serious financial issues I heard and went into special measures I believe. Got their fingers in too many pies and got badly burnt, as people do when it's not their money; but I don't think they're alone in that. We've had a govt that doesn't know what it's doing and has encouraged massive borrowing to aid the finance industry.

Slough has been a great success economically because of the privately owned trading estate built there between the wars and it's locational advantages. But it's never been a destination for entertainment, just for shopping. Very disappointing but maybe that is changing going forwards? We used to go into the Buckinghamshire countryside for pubs in the days drink driving was more prevalent. Yes, we were basket cases!

The increasing immigration over the decades, particularly Indian (like me!) means that today it has excellent schools performance. Asian parents won't accept you not succeeding - kids who don't often left home early!!

Still have some links back there but I don't go, left for Uni, went far and wide around the globe since and now in London.
Very impressive how it reinvents itself industry wise from the heavy industries I knew, bearings and seals companies, (and Mars factory !!) to the shiny head offices of today. It originally was allowed to build a power station which is how it attracted many of the older companies back in the day. If you came to the country you could always go the Mars factory and get a job on a production line. As kids we always had parent's friends who would bring us big bags of sweets!! ha ! Yes I have fillings!

Great post, thanks for the effort.