Sunday 5 December 2010

Sutton United

Sutton United currently play in the Ryman League Premier Division, having in the past risen to the top of English non-league football & competed in the Conference National division.

It's strange ground, fans being a fair distance from the pitch, despite the 'track' being long since disused. I've never understood why they never 'brought the ground in' as they redeveloped parts of it.

Rightly or wrongly, (it's not for me to say!) they are 'affectionately' known to many opposition fans in London & the south-east as 'the shit & sick', due to their unusual colours of chocolate & amber! ;-)

I have no idea how many times I've been here-dozens down the decades-my first visit was back in 1979. Thier stewards have always been known as a little officious, as is the whole club, with their seeming reams of ground rules & regulations. In the mid nineties they even searched all of our bags & confiscated alcohol! One of our numbers insisted on a receipt for his half finished can, & claimed it back at the final whistle! The following year, I was on the Club Committee at the time as Youth Team Secretary, I turned up 'suited & booted', complete with briefcase. Ushered into the boardroom, & called sir as well! I declined a directors box seat, went straight behind the goal to open my case...packed with 500ml bottles of Coca Cola & Sunny Delight, mixed '50/50' with whiskey & vodka! Booze ban 0, the Dulwich Hamlet 'Rabble' behind the goal 1!!!!!

These pictures were taken on 21st March 2010, at the FA Sunday Cup semi final between Hazelhurst & Hetton Lyons CC.

The ground is on Gander Green Lane, across the road from the entrance is this pub, 'The Plough', popular with away fans, who might not use the bar.

This helpful signpost points out the drive up to the ground.

Obviously a tight turning into it!

This snap is a little blurred, but it tells you a bit of history.

There is one on the other pillar, in reference to the adjacent properties.

Moving along the drive you come to these main turnstiles.

To the right,past them, is the car park, & the club buildings, beyond.

Above the perimeter wall we've seen in the last photo, we look up at one of the pylons.

Standard Isthmian League sponsors board on display.

And one for the home supporters' trust.

Continuing on, we go past this structure, which is one of their bars.

And then get to here, the main entrance, through which admission to the FA Sunday Cup game was.

Large sign, with the main club sponsor.

Now inside the ground, we dash round to the other side of the main turnstiles, which we saw earlier. For the purposes of this tour we will start here. And head round behind the near goal at this end, in a clockwise direction. The advertisment above the exit refers to the train company that runs the services through the adjacent West Sutton station.

From the turnstiles we look to the main stand, and terrace ahead of us.

And over the pitch to the open, far end.

Across the ground we see the cover on the far side.

To our left now, we see the closed club shop, and an open tarmaced area.

This continues up to a covered terrace area, behind the goal.

We look over to the main stand, over the shoulder of a lonely steward.

Now we have reached the terrace behind the goal.

From those steps we see the stand again.

Behind the goal we then glance the other direction.

A plaque under this terrace mentions some of the grant aid received.

And also a 'roll of honour' for contributions from within the club.

Along the terrace, where we've come from.

Past the end of the terrace is an open bank of curved terrace on the corner.

Beyond that is the covered terrace along the side. In this picture you can see what I mean about how I don't understand why they never 'brought the pitch in', rather than leaving fans set back from the action.

From the corner flag we look over to the main stand.

At the back of the 'curve', public park in the background.

From this corner we glance behind the goal, where we've just been.

There is open hard standing in front of the curved terrace.

Past the 'curve', along the 'straight', is a stange small terrace block, before the next covered stretch.

Behind that small old bit of terrace is a tea bar.

The club website is advertised on the side of the covered terrace.

In front of this next bit of terace we look over the pitch.

Looking along the side terrace.

From here we turn back toward the covered goal.

Now directly over the halfway line.

Now we see the open end, set far too far back from the pitch, I think.

Before we get there we look back along the covered side.

Now heading for the next part of the ground, we go through these gates, presumably old segregation ones, from their Conference days. Note the small bit of cover ahead, too.

Glancing across the pitch, during the second half.

The cover is actually inside the pitch perimeter, & is a wheelchair area, for disabled fans.

Here we look down the ancient, disused track. What a waste of space!

Behind this corner is a fenced in 'staff area'.

Presumably a groundstaff space....

...where they dump all their old crap out of sight!

And assorted equipment.

Set back, right in the corner, is another set of turnstiles.

Also a toilet block in this area.

Now we're on the curve behind the goal. When this end was re-developed a few years ago now, they should have straightened the terrace & brought it forward.

The old terrace used to go further back, behind the fencing.

At the front we look down the side once more. Local authority bin at the front, I'm almost certain this is a Council owned ground.

The terrace continues to bend round to the main stand.

We're getting there...

Behind the goal, in fact quite a way behind the goal.

Almost at the stand now...

We've reached the corner at last.

Time to pause for a corner too!

We're now on the terrace, as it's curved to the side, with the main stand ahead.

From the side we look across the goalmouth.

Now we're in front of the stand.

And standing by one of the dugouts.

Good to see the sign ignored!

In the centre of the stand is the tunnel.

This is the pre-match 'meet & greet'.

Now we are going up into the stand. Looking to our right, at the open curved end.

Over the pitch to the covered terrace.

And along the stand, from the back of it.

Toward the front there is a cameraman from the FA website.

Directly across the halfway line.

After the match we look up into the officials enclosure, in the centre of the stand.

At the back are some press seats.

At the other end of the stand we look down to the final area of terracing, with the covered end in the background.

From this end of the stand we glance back along it.

Down at ground level once more.

This is the last section of terrace for us to cover.

Immediately to the left, at the bottom of the stand, is this small teabar.

Turning round to get another angle of the stand.

Then we're up on the terrace, toward the turnstiles where we began.

This is a quite substantial old area of terrace.

Again I cannot work out why they didn't 'bring that standd in' when they built that cover?

Dunno where he's off to...that gate is shut! ;-)

Time to turn back on ourselves, & head back to the seats for the rest of the game.

After the match I pop onto the pitch. Here is a shot of one of the dugouts.

I didn't venture too far, as it was quite muddy, but this is the covered side.

Then the covered end.

And, lastly, the main stand.

Time to exit down the tunnel, & make our leave.


RussWWFC said...

Been there 3 times

1993 FA Trophy Semi Final
Sutton 0-4 WYCOMBE

2005 Combined Counties Cup Semi
AFC Wimbledon 5-0 Coney Hall

2008 FA Cup 1st Round
Sutton 0-1 Notts County

Always found it a nice place to visit, friendly and the track has never been an issue compared to others. I had a lovely meal at The Plough once too

Rabbler said...

Maybe it was just a 'Dulwich' thing..we did play up a little in our younger days! ;-)