Friday 8 October 2010

Battersea Ironsides

Battersea Ironsides play way down the pyramid in the Surrey Elite Intermediate League, & I saw them last season on Easter Monday morning, when they beat Spelthorne Sports 4-2.

The ground, as you would expect, is almost as basic as you can get, just partially roped off, but it was still an entertaining enough match to watch, for my first ever dip into this league.

The ground is on Burntwood Lane, photo only taken because it was such an old fashioned street sign.

This is the entrance to the ground.

As you walk up the driveway the club buildings here are on the left. From this angle the changing rooms are on the right, and the bar area straight ahead.

The bar wasn't open for service, but I saw there was plenty of sports memorabilia in it.
There are also cricket & rugby union sections of the club.

This appeared to be the football corner.

This is the corner by the entrance.

The touchline is roped off down this side.

But not behind the goal.

A little bit of match action.

There's not even any space to stand and watch along the other side.

From this corner we look back across the pitch.

No dugouts even, just a few chairs!

Cricket square protected, so no standing here!

Many sportsgrounds at this are shared between football & cricket.

More chairs for the other side. As the myth goes...there is a dog at the gamr, but more than one man watching!

No rope behind this goal either.

Just along the 'chairs for dugouts' side.

An old 'road closed' sign now indicating that the 'cricket square is closed'!

Thursday 7 October 2010

Carshalton Athletic

Carshalton Athletic play in the Ryman League Premier Division, & it has one of my favourite stretches of terrace, along the far side; as you will see.

I've lost count of the amount of times I've been here down the years, none more so than the 1986/87 season, when-without going into the full, boring story which I will save for my mythical memoirs!-I followed the Robins' rather than The Hamlet! I had been banned by the then Dulwich Hamlet shyster masquerading as chairman Dave Milsted, & being younger & a bit naive, I didn't really stand up to him, as i would have done a few years later! Our previous manager went to Colston Avenue for the start of that season, along with a lot of the players, so it was natural, to me, to follow them too. In the close season of 1987 the Dulwich committee came to their senses & told him to go, in a rare show of balls from them, & I returned to the Champion Hill terraces.

These snaps were taken at the Surrey Intermediate Cup Final last season, on 7th April, when Sutton United reserves beat Mole Vale SCR 5-4 0n penalties, after a one all draw.

Who needs one sign, when two will do?

They are pointing from the road down this drive.

At the end of it is the ground. Turn right as you reach the ground, and this leads up to the club buildings, offices, changing rooms and so on. Many years ago, when I was there certainly, they had the best social club set up for miles, and this was here, on the right, but it sadly burnt down a few years ago.

Here we see the back of the main stand.

Turning back to the corner, here are the turnstiles.

This is the same turnstile block, from inside.

As we walk in we are in the corner of the ground. We look across the pitch, & we can see the far end, with a small section of cover, & the large covered terrace I mentioned in the introduction, along the far side.

To our right the terrace is covered as well.

But we're going to head round the ground the other direction, clockwise. Open hard standing, with various buildings along the left, until we get to the main stand.

In the corner is the tea bar.

A good selection too, shame really, as I'd had fish & chips in Sutton!

We move along the side, all this 'space' was where the old social club was.

From the side we look back to the covered end.

This is the inside of the current bar. more than adequate, but not a patch on the old one.

Plenty of photos on the wall, making it 'homely' for their fans.

I'm not entirely sure if I'd like my mugshot up in our bar! (Not that it matters, our one has not Hamlet memorabilia in it, all hidden away in the 'old gentlemans club', sorry boardroom!)

Back outside again, we continue toward the stand.

Here is the caged players' tunnel.

And here is the main stand, from just on the pitch. If you look carefully it is actually 'two' stands. The one on the left their 'old, original'; the section on the right added many years later.

Before we go up into the seats we get a glimse 'down the tunnel'.

Smart club gates as you come onto the pitch.

This is the older part of the stand, with the wooden seats.

And in this snap the old & the new 'merge'.

Now up in the seats we look over the tunnel toward the full length covered end.

And along the area we've already covered.

Across the pitch we see the main covered terrace, with dugouts in front.

From the back we look across the stand.

Press area at the back.

With a club poster at the back, there are a number of these around the place, of differing designs.

Moving along now, not sure what these buildings are, possibly for ground maintenance equipment? Note the bench...

Placed in memory of an old club stalwart.

From this side we look behind the next goal, which has some small cover directly behind the penalty area.

Before we turn the corner we look back at the seats.

Behind us is a bit of a 'junk area', that quite a few clubs have. The gates nicely boarded over in club colours.

From the corne we look down the pitch, which slopes a fair bit.

Now behind the goal it open hard standing.

And from this end we look back at the stand.

In the centre there is this small terrace, the back clearly dented by lots of vocal supporters 'tapping' away with their feet!

Anyone know who Fred is?

By the net we see the stand again.

Now directly behind it we look down the length of the pitch.

And to the left is the large terrace.

Getting closer...

At the next corner flag it's all eyes on the stand once more.

Now we're getting our first proper glimpse down this superb terrace.

It must have been quite a sight when their crowds were in the low four figures, rather than three figures, half a century or so ago.

From up on this terrace we look back at the 'shed' behind the goal.

Exits run along the back of the terrace, no longer needed.

Here we look over to the stand. You can hardly see the 'join'!

Moving along we are behind the dugouts.

I didn't jump over the pitch barrier, choosing to stick my camera in the 'right' direction & hope...

I'm getting too old to vault fences like that!

Smokers to the front.

Directly over the halfway line, opposite the tunnel.

Moving along the terrace.

An unusual advert...point spectator side, rather than toward the pitch.

Not far to the covered end now.

Now we turn round & look back up the terrace.

Behind the goal is a hoarding for bicycles...not one of my loves,cyclists! They'd certainly be in my 'Room 101'.

Another 'behave yourself' sign, that seems to tick all the modern 'P.C' boxes.

Behind the goal now...last leg along this narrow, but adequately covered terrace.

One last peek at the covered side, from behind the goal, before we move on.

Heading to the corner where we began our tour of Colston Avenue.

Behind the goal, as night begins to draw in, we see the main stand under the lights.

And-I promise-another 'last' look at the covered side!

And here we are back at the corner where we began.

Time to take my seat as the teams meet the bigwigs from the Surrey FA.

Kick off!