Saturday 27 March 2010

Chessington & Hook United

I took the opportunity of visiting Chessington & Hook United in the latter part of the 2008/09 season, on an Easter Monday morning, as Dulwich Hamlet were not too far away at Leatherhead in the afternoon. It was for a Combined Counties League Premier Division match against Molesey. They have plans to redevelop the ground in the not too distant future, moving thepitch,and having new changing rooms & social facilities, I was told by a friendly local. So if you haven't been here yet try to do so before it disappears in its current form.

The Chessington name is more well known for it's 'World of Adventures' rather than it's football club.

This is the lane, which leads to the ground, & it is across the road from the theme park.

It's a quiet, narrow turning, but there is a football ground at the end of it.

It looks a bit shabby on arriving at the gates.

And this sign makes it seem a bit of a dodgy location!

There's a reasonable sized car park, as you can see. The entrance ahead is for players and officials. We have to turn right, as spectators. The clubhouse and changing rooms are through there, to the left.

Another shot of the car park, ground in the background.

This is the bar area, inside.

But to get there we have to go down here, to get into the ground.

No turnstile, just one person collecting gate money.

The ground is quite open, from the '(non)turnstile' corner we look across the pitch.

To our left, behind the goal, in the clockwise direction which we will go round the ground, is a couple of shallow steps of terracing, with some more substantial covered terrace past it.

Note the 'seating' at the start of the cover!

Club sign behind it, I think those seats have seen better days!

The cover must come in handy on rainy days, but not needed for those visiting Molesey fans in front this morning.

Just beyond the cover is this pathway, the 'tunnel' where the players come from the changing rooms, which are set back behind them. The linesman on the right is a certain Mr. Nick Robinson, who is the Secretary of the Isthmian League.

Molesey fans on the other side of the 'tunnel'. I'm not sure where the one on the right is from, but he had a Scandanavian accent. Sweden maybe?

The usual pre-match handshakes.

In this corner, set back, is the clubhouse.

Pitchside is a patio, for the tea bar, which is to the left of this snap.

Which had this amusing sign on it!

Along the side is a handy ladder, to retrieve hoofed out footballs.

From this picture you can see that quite a few must go over the fence during the game.

From this corner flag we look over the pitch and see the stand on the far side.

Starting to move along the side, we look back at the Molesey fans, with their flags, behind the covered goal.

Down the side it's an open hard standing path all the way along, with dugouts a bit of a way between each other.

On the halfway line we look over to the stand.

Set back from the field of play is this pitch marker, & my attempt at an 'arty shot' for the day! ;-)

The hard standing, & shale, continue to the corner.

Almost at the next corner we look up the pitch.

From a railing down the side it's now fencing behind the goal, with a paved walkway. Second pitch behind, to the left.

Here we look back down the side we've just walked down.

Now behind the goal, a bit of action, seats in the background.

From the same spot we see the dugouts.

Here is a close up of the home one.

We're now at the next corner, more hard standing, leading up to the seats.

Almost there!

Bland modern style, but more than adequate.

Separate area for club officials.

Beyond it, set back a little from the pitch, it's a bit of a mess.

This is a shot of the stand, from on the pitch.

Past the stand it's back to the basic paved hard standing once more.

As we move along we glance back to the seats.

A similar view, just a bit further along.

And finally back to the covered end where we started our tour.

A little goalmouth action, behind that goal, where I settled for the rest of the match.

Friday 26 March 2010

Yoker Athletic / Clydebank; Scotland

This is the home of Yoker Athletic, Who play in the Stagecoach West of Scotland League Second Division. It is also home to Clydebank, who groundshare here. Clydebank were formed in 2003, after the demise of the previous club were bought, & moved to Airdrie, to become Airdrie United a year earlier.
They orginally shared at Drumchapel Amateurs, before moving in with Yoker Athletic, in Clydebank, at the beginning of the 2008/09 season.
Clydebank currently play in Division One of the same league as Yoker Athletic.

This ground is a magnificent little relic. There have been a number of improvements apparently since Clydebank moved here, I dread to think how rundown it was before! I visited here at the beginning of March 2010, and on getting here found high brick walls surrounding the ground, I didn't think I would be able to gain access, but thankfully I did.

Here are the turnstiles, firmly locked.

Past them was this entrance gate, club crest on it, but with a grim security sign on it. Luckily not so secure, as it was pulled to, but not locked. Yes, I'm in!

Through the gate we look across the pitch, surrounded by a low brick wall.

To our right is some terracing down the side.

And to the left is more terracing, and the barrelled cover.

Our tour will go clockwise, from behind the goal, as if we have come through the turnstile. To the left is the club building, securely shuttered and locked. This must be the bar & changing rooms.

It would be safe to assume that this is not the most salubrious of areas!

From in front of the building we look back behind the goal.

Beofre looking down the side, where there is some decent terracing.

This must be the recent improvements, as the terracing looks newly concreted.

A similar shot, but a slightly different angle pitchside.

Here is the cover, with a dugout in front. Scottish non league differs to English in that dugouts are often on opposite sides of the pitch.

Here we look directly into the barrel!

I suppose we could say then, that we're staring down the barrel in this picture!

From under the cover we glance back to the refurbished terrace.

This is the roof of the dugout, plenty of graffiti scratched onto it. As a South Londoner the Millwall etching made me smile!

Looking directly across the centre circle we see the other dugout.

Past the covered terrace is an old bank, possibly an old terrace, reclaimed by nature. I have no idea, but I wonder if the 'new' terrace was like this before Clydebank settled?

The cover from the side, old oil drum next to it. Big barrel, little barrel?

Almost at the corner, we look down the touchline, toward the barrelled enclosure.

No spectator standing behind the goal, just an overgrown area.

There is an old open terrace all the way down the main road side. Old being the word!

It's overgrown right in the corner, almost hidden completely. Here we see the slight banking behind the 'sterile' end, perhaps an open terrace many years ago, who knows?

From this corner we look back behind the length of the space behind the goal.

And from the flagless corner flag area we glance over to the covered shed.

Now we're moving along the terraced side. Clearly the 'health & safety police' don't venture north of the border. The character of this delightful ground actually being all the better for that!

This must have been a superb length of terrace in it's day.

But now, clearly, showing it's age.

The dugout looks fairly new though.

There's a gantry behind it, presumably for Bankies TV.

Moving along we see more old, unstable terracing.

From the halfway line we look over to the barrelled area, the exact reverse of our earlier snap from over there.

We continue along the terrace, with the turnstile now in sight behind the goal, as our walk around Holm Park is nearly over.

The club building now also in view.

This snap shows how dangerous some of the terracing is!

Our final glance along the open terraced side.

And here we are, back at the flat area behind the goal at the turnstile end.

I hope to return here one day, & go through these turnstiles, to watch a game here. Maybe I will get lucky on my next Glasgow trip at the end of May 2010?