Friday 8 April 2011

Hitchin Town

Hitchin Town currently compete in the Zamaretto League Division One Central. for many years, until the re-organisations of 2004, when they were an Isthmian League side. Their supporters' were among the friendliest there were, & had a great relationship with the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Team, whose tournament we entered for many years, until it stopped in 2004. In fact we were the only ever-present side to compete in it for the twelve years it ran, apart from the hosts! The competition was always held on the main stadium, at the end of the season. Top Field also hold fond memories for Hamlet fans,as it was where we clinched promotion on the last day of the season way back in 1992! I took these photos in May 2010.

These are the main turnstiles on the road.

The bus stops right outside at this bus stop.

To the right of the turnstiles, by the car park, is the club bar.

A billboard on the main road, as they try to compete with the many local pubs.

We are going to start our tour from the 'bar corner'; I may well be ignoring this sign! ;-)

Behind the goal at hte turnstile end there is the club shop, then tea bar, hard standing in front, before terracing further on.

A whiteboard on the side of the shop, for team changes.

And an advert for a special charity pin badge.

Here is the tea bar, look carefully for the plaque between the second & third green hatches.

We knew him at the time, he played against us.

From on the pitch you can see the clubhouse, behind the teabar.

Behind the goal, we see the main stand, to our left, and the big open terrace at the far end.

We now reach the old wooden terrace behind this goal, covered in the centre. Back at our promotion game i mentioned, almost two decades ago, I had the winning golden goal number (three minutes) but when we scored I lost in the melee as we all went mental! I told irvine, in their club shop, that I had won it, but lost it, & he kindly paid me out afterwards, as he knew me & trusted me, after no-one else clearly claimed it. That's exactly the sort of friendly Club they were.

The ticket may still be under there somewhere! ;-)

The covered terrace, from the other side of the fence.

Behind the goal (yes, I realise it's been taken down!) we see the main stand.

The wooden terrace goes up to the corner, the gaps lead out to the turnstiles behind, which we saw out on the street.

An appeal to fans was still pinned onto the back of the terrace.

As was this poster, for their Trust AGM.

Looking back along the wooden terrace.

Same here, but ful length.

The 'corner flag-less' shot, you can see some more cover on the far side.

Looking along the stand side now. open hard standing, up to the seats.

I'm not entirely sure, but there may have been some old buildings here in the past. I think the tea bar used to be around this spot.

From the side it's back over to the covered end.

Almost at the stand.

Before we get there another glance to where we've come from.

Modern plastic bucket seats in an old structure.

Over the pitch perimeter.

The tannoy box & press area. This was from where the trophies were always presented at their tournaments.

In the centre is the officials area.

Which we see properly now.

The players tunnel, which leads into what must be the smallest changing rooms at this level, sadly I've got no photos to show you exactly how small they are!

Stepping back, a wider angle.

Under the roof, from the 'posh seats', we turn right.

Directly over the halfway line.

And to the left, the large terrace in the background.

Another view over the halfway line, you can see the cover & dugouts opposite.

Old bench seating continues along the rest of the stand.

A memorial plaque on the back remembering a lifelong fan.

The front of the stand, from the far end of the planks.

It continues with more bucket seats past the benches. This stand is a real mix!

This is where we're heading.

A hard standing path takes us to the corner.

Turning round, glancing back.

This is a substantial terrace, rumours of how it was built I won't repeat here, as I'm not sure how legal it all was at the time! ;-)

It is an impressive end, barriers smartly painted in club colours.

From the back we have the far side as backdrop.

This end is set back a little from the pitch, & has a curve in it.

Still at the back ,we see along the stand side.

Straight down the pitch.

Before heading onward.

The large terrace from on the pitch.

Almost at the corner we now see over the other side.

The stand from this corner.

Down at the front, this must be one of the best terraces at their level of the pyramid.

Over the pitch, from this corner.

Moving along the last side now.

We come to more open wooden plank terracing. This ground is such a delightful contrast.

The centre section is covered.

Well maintained, despite looking old fashioned.

Looking from on the pitch, you realise it's actually two sections of cover.

The first section.

And the other one.

Back on the supporters side of the fence, we are behind one of the dugouts.

A little worse for wear. Punched by a frustrated manager, maybe?

Here we see the home dugout, with extension!

From this side, we look over to the end where we started.

Past the cover is the last stretch of terrace, more of the wooden variety.

Our final look at the covered end.

We have now completed our circuit, at the corner where we began.

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