Saturday 6 February 2010

St. Francis Rangers

St. Francis Rangers play in the First Division of the Suusex County League & are based in the town of Haywards Heath. I have not seen a game here, but popped into the ground to take these photos in October 2009.

The ground is set in the land of a hospital, some of which I think has been converted to posh private housing. Behind the hospital site is the ground, and it is down below it. Here we look toward the ground, which is fairly basic.

At the top of the approach drive is this hut. I'm not sure if it is connected to the football or not, the ground being a couple hundred yards beyond it.

At the bottom you come to this building, which is the rear of the main club building, the front of which we will see once inside.

To the left of the above is this quaint rural type gate, which leads unto the ground, which you can see behind.

We are going to stroll round it clockwise, turning left. It is railed off with paving for hard standing to the corner. Up in the background you can see the old hospital buildings.

At the corner we look across the pitch, and down the touchline. There is no hard standing laid down at all, as to the left is the cricket square, with this part being the outfield in the summer months.

Before moving onwards we look back from the corner and see the front of the club building, which includes the changing rooms and a small bar area.

From the side we have a good view of the structure.

Now we're going further down the open toucchline, and you can see it is also very open behind the far goal.

Along the open side each post is clearly numbered. This must be so they can be taken down for cricket & then put back in the correct place come the start of the next football season.

Set beyond the pitch is this training area, with rudimentary training lights rigged up.

As stated behind the goal it very open, just railed off with grass to stand on.

Set behind the goal, are these old remains, I would hazard a guess that once upon a time netting was put up here to try to stop wayward shots ending up in the trees.

We are now behind the goal, and look to our left down the main side of the ground, where we can see the dugouts, and and area of cover beyond them.

Directly behind the goal we look down the pitch.

Almost in the next corner we glance back along the open standing, with the hospital buildings beyond.

Down this side there is hard standing laid down.

The path curves back, to allow for the dugouts by the halfway line.

Here are the dugouts, pitchside. A little unusual in that they are the same structure, right next to each other.

Beyond this is an another part of the ground with a bit of a difference. A small structure made of wood that is the covered standing area.

Here is a shot of it from in front of it, on the playing side of the perimeter railing.

Underneath it the support beams holding it up at the front must be a bit of an obstruction if there's more than a handful of fans standing under it.

We're now looking over to the club building, the end where we entered the ground.

Glancing back down the touchline the beams block the angles somewhat. Despite that I do like this 'shed', simply because it is so different.

Moving on, there is more hard standing to the last corner.

Finally back behind the goal there is more hard standing, to the maim building, where rails form a players tunnel.

We look over the pitch to the open sides.

Almost at the main building now.

And back to the gate with the club name on, from where it is time to move on & leave.

Sunday 31 January 2010

Hillingdon Borough

My first visit to Hillingdon Borough was way back in 1990. they had just moved here, roughly on the side of the old Ruislip FC ground,that club disappearing in 1989. They had re-formed, and had just joined the London Spartan League. It was an August bank holiday afternoon, and there was a decent crowd against Croydon Athletic. I 'doubled up' with another 'tick' at nearby Ruislip Manor, who had an evening kick off.

These pictures were taken in July 2009, on the first day, a Friday evening, of a four team charity competition, at their Middlesex Stadium home.

This was the entrance to the ground from the road.

The club sign on the's seen better days!

This was the poster attached to the entrance regarding the small competition.

And this banner publicising the worthy beneficiaries.

This is the entrance to the turnstiles, they were closed tonight, and you paid at a table in the bar.

Once through the bar, which was very plush for a club at this level, there was this patio looking over the pitch, which was very popular in the rain!

Better furniture than I have at home in my front room! ;-) You can see the pitch clearly in this snap.

From this bar area we look to the goal to our right, with the seats unusually behind the goal. I believe the pitch was turned round in the past, and that is the reason why.

But we're going to walk round the ground clockwise, in the other direction. In front of the bar area is this strangely angled terracing, and you can see a grassed area & hard standing by the pitch rail in front of that

Back up on the patio, we look out across the pitch.

Now on the terracing in front, we look over to the seats behind the goal.

Past the bar area we see the (closed) turnstiles from inside the ground.

This portakabin is the boardroom!

Before moving on round we look back at the area in front of the bar.

From here on it's simple hard standing all the way down the rest of this side.

From the same spot we look back at the raised terrace area once more.

From this side we see the stand behind the goal.

The man with the brolly tells you what the weather is like...and this is the height of summer in July! From here, at the halfway line we look over to the dugouts on the far side.

Towards the end of this side the grass disappears & it's all concrete. There are a number of temporary buildings on the left. These are changing rooms, in use tonight as there are four teams here. I think they are normally used for the all weather pitch behind the goal we are soon coming to.

The all weather pitch is behind this goal, where we can see a covered terrace.

This is the Slough Town changing room for the evening.

Almost at the corner, we look back down the length of this side.

From the corner the corner flag is actually a long way from the corner of the ground!

Here we see the hard standing behind the goal, with the cover in the centre.

This is the all weather pitch on the other side of the fence.

There are only two small steps of terrace under the cover.

Standing behind the goal we look over to the side we have come from, and you can see how far away the goal is from the spectator area.

As we move on round I attempt a low level 'arty' shot of some pitch maitenance equipment, with the dugouts along the side in the background.

Although pitchside it is not a danger as it's so far from the touchline.

Down the far side there is one step of terracing all the way along.

In the corner, at the start of this side, is an electriity pylon, totally fenced in. A 'resting home' for misplaced passes!

Now we're moving along the side, and we look back to the cover behind the goal.

One of the two games in progress, as we look over to the bar area.

More of the action here, covered terrace behind.

Moving along there's this chap busy with his camera. I got chatting to him later. A pleasant chap, a Fleetwood Town fan, serving in the Royal Navy, based down in Hampshire.

Further along are the dugouts.

They weren't the cleanest, so I couldn't resist the temptation to 'leave my mark!'

Moving on beyond them it is still the single step of terrace & hard standing.

The occasional weeds grow through.

Almost in the corner and we glance back down this side of the ground.

As we turn the corner to the seats the terracing becomes more substantial.

Here we have a full length shot of behind the seated end.

Another corner flag shot, like the other one opposite it is the proverbial 'miles' from the pitch!

We've finally got to the seats. They are a bit low, but it's a decent sized stand.

Up in the seats we look across the stand.

From the ones at the end we look at the terracing leading to it.

In front of the seats is a large open area, part of it is slightly raised.

Not the plushest of directors box!

Some fans ignore the seats, preferring to stand by the railing at the front, to be nearer the action.

In the middle of the stand is a smart press box, though I doubt if it's actually used that much.

From the pitch perimeter fence immediately behind the goal we look over to the far end.

Past the stand it's plain hard standing again, but with a slight grass bank behind.

This leads back to the bar area where we started, with the ground toilets also in this corner.

We're now back in front of the bar patio area, as the sun starts to set.

It's soon getting dark, with the lights on, as you can see in this last shot of the ground.