Saturday 7 August 2010

Bromley Green

Bromley Green play in Division One East of the Kent County League, which is at step eight of the non league pyramid. I took the opportunity of going there at the end of last season, when they staged a game against a Kent County League representative XI, as part of their eightieth birthday celebrations. The ground was extremely basic, in an open public park, as you would expect at this lowly level, but they were still very organised, with a good set-up, where everybody seemed to know everybody. You could see why they are proud of the community ethos of their club.

This was the commemorative pennant, presented to the club by the League.

This is the approach to the ground. I actually came from the other direction, across the park, having got a bit lost, and popping into the nearby ASDA superstore, to glance at their local A to Z, from their shelves.

The pitch is straight ahead, in the park, here we can see the dugouts on the far side.

To the right are the club buildings, the small bar, with the sign above it, and the changing rooms set behind.

I asked this local lad if I could take his photo...for no other reason than I loved his t-shirt!

The home team are ready for the start of the match.

As befits the occasion, both teams walk out together.

The only 'seating' in the 'ground'!

The pitch is simply roped off, all all four sides, with a small stretch of hard standing further along, on this side, which is the corner where the players enter the field of play.

Behind the touchline is a car parking area.

Before the match both teams lined up for the 'meet & greet' with the Kent County League bigwigs.

I wasn't the only one on the pitch to 'document' it!

The Bromley Green team were resplendent in their 80th anniversary retro kit.

Hands are shook with the Rep. side.

And then a joint pre-match team photo.

I'm not sure who this chap was, but he 'did the honours' in the ceremonial kick off.

And now for the real thing...

I head back to the corner where we came in, for our stroll round the pitch.

The fence around the car park doubles up as 'benches'.

This older group of spectators are, I think, Kent County League/Kent FA officials.

This is the hard standing along the side, apparently laid a few years earlier, when they were in the top flight of the Kent County. I overheard someone say they would have to extend it by a few more yards if they were to gain promotion once more, as the rules had changed slightly.

It continues up to the halfway line.

Beyond that it's simply roped off.

From here we look over the pitch to the dugouts.

Behind the goal the rope continues.

We're at the corner. Despite the fact there's no structures as a backdrop old habits die hard. And I still offer you a 'corner flag' shot.

A glance back down the touchline.

And moving along behind the goal we see down the other touchline.

Directly down it here, from the next corner.

Here we see across the pitch, with some spectators in the picture.

The dugouts are next.

Here is one from the front.

I certainly never expected a fourth official tonight!

Continuing along, past the dugouts, and we're going round the rope.

Almost behind the goal now.

Nice artwork on the arm from one of the home substitutes.

Now a bit of match action for you to look at...

A last picture from around the ground, of three of the groundhopping fraternity at the game.

Monday 2 August 2010

Hill of Beath Hawthorn

Hill of Beath Hawthorn play in the ACA Sports East Superleague, & I saw them at the end of May, against Linlithgow Rose, thanks to fellow Kempsterite 'progege', who kept me well up to date with fixture news, & when the Monday night one of my trip was changed from a Linlithgow home game, he offered to meet me at the station & drive to this match. Really appreciated, & he made the night for me, very good company, & educating me on some of the 'ins & outs' of Scottish football, both non-league & the stuff on our pools coupons, all of which I know far too little. The town itself is close to Cowdenbeath.

This was the entrance we used, the name of the ground, Keir's Park, displayed above the turnstiles.

Oh dear, not a good start, photowise, for this corner of the ground shot, the camera focussing on the railing & not the rest of the ground! Doh! It does get better...

From this corner we're going to walk round anti-clockwise. Simply because I started taking some snaps from along the side, during the match & am 'piecing' them together so to speak, and so am taking them in the direction I took my stroll. As I headed toward the turnstile where we came into the ground, & rather than turn back on myself I carried on. Hope that makes sense! Behind this goal is an open step of low terracing.

To our left it is open, with covered standing further along. The roof you see at the far end is the changing room.

From behind the goal we see the rest of the covered terracing along the other side. Like many Scottish Junior grounds there is no seating, but plenty of cover.

From the other post we get a clearer view of the cover down the right hand side.

Whisky sponsors, unsurprisingly, for the League.

Here we see down the length of the pitch.

And then to the cover on the left, which is where I will watch most of the match from, with 'prorege', & where he is, while I did my circuit.

Moving closer to the right hand side cover now.

A similar shot, zoomed in slightly.

No terracing along the first part of this side, just hard standing.

A better corner flag shot, not so fuzzy.

From here we see back down behind the goal, where we've come from.

Turning the corner there's a slight grass bank behind the hard standing at the front.

As we continue you can see the shallow steps of terrace under the roof, with a tea bar just before it.

Looking across the pitch again, sideways this time.

This appears to be the popular side.

The tea bar doing brisk trade during the game.

From behind the dugouts we look over to the opposite terrace.

A similar picture, a few steps back, behind the other one.

Along this side, in the middle behind the cover, is another turnstile, which we see here.

Past this is a Club plaque, by the flagpole. 'prorege' tells me that lots of Scottish clubs fly flags, as it is a tradition dating back to the old days, before modern communications, when a flag would be raised on the day of the match to let locals know that there was a match on that day.

This is the Scottish Junior eqivalent of the English non-league FA Trophy, & it is a huge honour to lift it.

We're now past the dugouts & turnstiles, & moving along the 'shed'.

Back in the open it's grass & hard standing again.

From beyond the cover we look back, & you can see the flag flying up the pole, on the left.

Now at the next corner we look across the pitch, to the next covered side.

Behind this goal is very tidy shallow terracing, & well kept grass. In fact I was extremely impressed at how spick & span the whole ground was, compared to some of the more 'well worn' Junior grounds I've seen north of the border.

From behind the goal we look back now at the side we've come along.

In the far corner of this end is the changing rooms, & club office. I stuck my head into the office to ask if they ever produced programmes, which they don't, but happily bought a badge & scarf.

Hanging up in the office was this collection of ties! Presumably not-too-forcibly acquired from various visiting officials!

From outside the club building we look back along this end.

Before looking down the final side of the ground, where we are now off to.

The last of our' corner flag' shots'.

This part of the ground is extremely narrow.

But widens by the time we reach the cover, with more shallow steps under it.

Here we look down it, with 'prorege' following the action with his back to us, in the baseball cap.

I was standing next to him earlier, as the match kicked off, before we did our circuit.

Here we move along this side.

And look over the halfway line, through the gaps between these elderly spectators.

Same view, a few steps along.

Here we look back down the terrace, with an old metal club sign at the back.

Leaning over the barrier, I take a shot down the touchline, with the turnstiles where we began in shot.

Past the cover the shallow terrace continues, in the open.

A last look back at the cover on this side.

A very smart example of the 'traditional' Scottish football outtside roofless toilet.

And now back at the corner where we started.

This is the end we began our walk.

This, to an Englishman, stereotypically Scottish hoarding caught my eye....

Before we finally reach the turnstiles where we entered the ground.

Now we finish with a few, brief action shots for you:

Game over, it will be a penalty shoot-out, but up the other end, as they're already taking the nets down at this one!

Here the players get ready for the shoot out, as we get ready to dash back to the car! Thanks again to 'prorege' for his generousity in offering me a lift, his company for the evening & for just being an all-round decent chap!