I went to Woking on the Saturday just before Christmas, for a Blue Square South game with Bath City, at the start of the great English 'big freeze' of '09/10! My first visit here was back in the late seventies, & it has changed a heck of a lot since then!
On this trip the open concrete terracing down the far side was closed for safety reasons. There used to be duckboards for 'hard standing' down this side in the past!
In the current freeze it was one price for any part of the ground, & I took the opportunity to wander through all the stands prior to kick off. This ground is a great mix of the old and the new, & well worth a visit for that reason alone. It's reminds me of the way my old man used to describe Boxer dogs...so ugly, but bloody beautiful!
The sign out of the main road looks a tad tatty.
There's a car park, with the ground set back a little.
Here are the turnstiles where I paid to get in.
They may be 'proud' members, but I think they'd rather they never went down in the first place!
Inside it looks like a building site, with these huts! The lower one is a club shop.
Presumably some sort of offices above, with the main sponsors advertised on it.
Just through the turnstiles, straight ahead, is this hut, where programmes are sold. Pricy, at £2.50, but it was a heavy, full colour, glossy 48 pager.
Next to it is a tea bar, with the covered terrace behind the goal beyond that.
But we're not going to do our usual circuit today, not least because we can't get down the temporarily closed far side. We're going to go behind the old side, with a couple of small stands along it, & start toward the open terracing further along the side past them. To get there we walk behind various club buildings, including the bar & changing rooms, the main club bar is this wooden building.
It's named after the club nickname.
There's a big screen showing the early Premier League match on the box.
The bar was busy.
Former favourites were listed on the wall.
Back outside again, and heading toward the terracing.
At the end of it another bar is listed. Presumably this is some sort of players &/or members area?
Still walking behind the pitch.
Further along we see the rear of the old stand, with the tea bar at the side.
Reminds me of Yeovil! I have good memories of going down there in their Isthmian days...and my drinking ones! The local tipple was a 'C & V'. the local scrumpy cider & Vimto! I called it a yokel lager top!
This is the open terrace, toward this corner of the ground. This is where I stood for most of the match, & where our 'tour' of the ground really begins.
To our right is the impressive huge main stand behind the goal.
Leftwards is the old fashioned stands.
At the other end is the covered terrace we saw when we came in.
And opposite is the stretch of open terracing, with television gantry.
We're going to head up to the main stand first. From the corner flag we look over the almost frozen pitch.
And back down the terrace at this end of the old side. It's actually known as 'moaners corner'!
From the bottom we see up into the stand.
Behind it, to the right, is another turnstile block.
There is a small plaque on the side, telling us it is officially the Leslie Gosden Stand.
Programmes are on sale from a table at this end.
Under the stand there is a concourse running along it. In it is another club shop.
Shirts on sale, along with scarves, & other assorted souvenirs.
This was on the wall. If memory is right I'm sure this used to be part of a town history mural, on display under a railway bridge by the train station.
Further along is a genuine matchday fish & chip shop! I've certainly not seen one of these at a football ground before. I'm well impressed.
And proper pies too.
Coming out of the concourse at the other side of the ground we can see down the closed terrace.
From the front again, reverse corner, or whatever you want to call it, we stare up into the stand once more.
Time to climb up to the top, the higher concourse is just bare brickwork & steel girders.
From high up we see down the open, but closed, terrace.
And over to the old side, where we get a decent view of the smaller stands for the first time.
In the very back row we glance across the stand, with some impressive sideburns also on show!
All the way down across the pitch.
Moving along we glance down at the side terrace & stands.
A similar shot, but with the terrace at the far end in shot.
A pillar blocks the view a little, this was a 'stick your arm out, click...& hope' snap!
Here I take a bit more care, and try to line it up.
From this corner we look over the pitch, to the shut side.
Now we've back down at ground level, having back through 'moaners corner', & are now heading down the side, here we see the dugouts.
This is a members only stand, the steward kindly lets me up there for a few moments.
Pillars partially obstruct some of the pitch.
Same, if we look over to our left.
Toward the front is an area for the press.
Here we see the dugouts below.
Above them we look across the halfway line, not that it's very clear in this weather.
Directly behind them we look back to the Leslie Gosden Stand.
Here we can see the press area at the front, as we move onward to the next stand.
Another older structure, but still fit for modern football.
A wide area of open standing in front of it.
From up here we can see into both of the other stands.
And to the covered terrace, in the other direction.
At the back are hoardings from a local radio station.
From the front we look up into this stand.
Moving on, toward the corner, we are almost in front of the 'double portakabins' we saw at the beginning. In front of them is a covered area, reserved for disabled fans.
It's getting closer to kick off, and the number of people in the covered end is growing.
A similar picture, just a little closer.
There is a helpful map of the area on the side of this terrace, for those away fans, or neutrals like me, who might not know the area.
tut, tut! Naughty people! ;-)
Now we're behind the goal, so we can look down the side.
Here we look down the terrace.
Some of the visiting Bath City supporters'.
Behind this end we see both of the side stands.
And naturally we can't miss the massive one at the other end.
Same stand, through the net.
Down the deserted side.
And right down it, but directly into the sun.
From the corner, with flag in shot naturally, we see the Leslie Gosden Stand once more, dwarfing the terrace in the other corner.
From here we look back down the covered terrace, before we head back down it.
I think you need more than one person for an army! ;-)
Another glance along the Kingfield Road end.
Some of the Bath City fans again. note the titfer being worn by the bloke with his back to us...
Back to 'moaners corner' for the start of the game, a one minute silence pre-match for a
member of their youth academy, whose life was cut short in a car accident.
Respected by all in the ground, including the main stand.
We finish with a little bit of goalmouth action.
And a mugshot of two footballing friends who I went to the game with. Dave, on the left, a London based Folkestone Invicta fan; & Andy, who follows Croydon FC.
Saturday, 20 March 2010
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