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!