Friday 16 September 2011

Banstead Athletic

Banstead Athletic play in the Combined Counties League Premier Division, having been a long-established lower division Isthmian League club for many years.
It is undoubtedly one of the coldest grounds you can go to in the south-east, widely recognised as so by local non-league fans, sitting above Epsom Racecourse, on the edge of the North Downs.

There are two pitches here, the main ground, and a secondary one behind that, which is/has been used by both their reserve & youth sides, & also the same XIs of Epsom & Ewell, when they groundshared here for what must have been a couple of decades.

I re-visited to take these snaps on Bank Holiday Monday 29th August 29th 2011, for an 11.30am early kick off, when they beat Croydon by the odd goal in five.

The approach to the ground, from the road.

Clubhouse straight ahead.

This is the main bar, there is another function hall through the gap on the top left.

A jockey's vest, in the club colours, on the wall.

Back outside, in the corner of the car park, some old London buses are parked up, used by some corporate functions & party staging company.

Former turnstiles, now used as a players entrance.

Spectators carry on, through this gate at the end of the car park, past the shut burger van.

These turnstiles are not in use anymore either. Presmably you don't need to under CoCo ground gradings?

Instead, past them, is an 'admission table', where you pay your money & buy a programme.

To the right of that is a path leading back to the changing rooms, which are in the clubhouse area.

This is the 'tunnel' back to them.

The way into the ground is in this corner. Ancient rubbish bins too!

First 'corner flag' shot of the day, with the main stand on the far side.

To our immediate left is the toilet block, open beyond it, with some cover behind the goal.

Just in case you wanted a better look at the bogs!

To the right, along the side, is another covered terrace, but we're going behind the goal first, heading clockwise round the ground.

It's open hard standing leading up to the cover.

Three steps of terrace under the roof.

Behind the net we have the main stand as a backdrop.

To the right is the other cover, & the dugouts beyond them.

Under the terrace.

The cover from on the pitch.

Directly behind the goal.

Past the covered terrace is more open standing, to the corner.

Beyond the goal we see the 'mass' of floodlights, some are for the second pitch behind. Not sure how true, but I recall being told that originally they were the pylons from the old Epsom & Ewell ground.

Heading on to the next side.

A glance back from the end of this end.

The stand side, down the touchline.

Next corner flag picture.

Down the side now. Same style open hard standing to the seats.

From here we look back to the covered end.

And over the eighteen yard line, to the cover opposite.

Almost at the stand now.

The dugouts are opposite.

The small but loyal band of Croydon followers standing by the stand.

Rogues gallery or what? ;-)

Looking down on them from in the stand.

Backless bucket seats in the other direction.

A press area in the middle.

With the part for club officials next.

Across the halfway line.

At the back of the stand.

Toward the end, glancing back down it.

Here's the stand from on the pitch.

The centre section.

Club name on the roof.

Directly in front of it.

Beyond the seats is more of the same open flat hard standing.

Turning back to the seats.

It can be lonely following The Trams, as Croydon are known!

Very lonely! Love the old speaker box on the pylon!

Almost at the next corner now.

Last look directly down the side.

From the corner once more.

A very slight step of terrace at this end.

From here we see the stand, now to our right.

Almost at the goal.

On our way to the final side of the ground, to our left.

Strolling on to the last part of this open end.

A goal through the open gate.

This is the second pitch, with a small bit of cover & dugouts on the far side.

Looking directly at them.

From left to right, the first dug out.

Covered shed.

And the other dugout.

Part of this side is also roped off.

Under the shed. I don't know if anyone uses this pitch in lowly local leagues for matches, I know Banstead do for some pre-season games, but they have tentative plans to lay all-weather mini-pitches on it.

Across the halfway line, toward the main stadium.

Which we are now back inside, through the corner gate.

More of the same hard standing down the last side.

Heading to the dugouts area.

Getting there...


Here we are behind them.

Across the halfway line, to the main stand.

From the front, this is the away dugout.

And the home one.

Beyond the home one is the side covered terrace.

Just before it are these pitch access gates.

Chewing gum by the home bench!

Finally arrived at the side terrace, which we saw just after we came into the ground. Note those two 'characters' in red & the light jacket...we'll come back to them.

Three steps of shallow terracing under this roof too, just like behind the goal.

I presume they were built at roughly the same time, as they are so similar.

Moving along, toward another of the old bins, which you may have noticed earlier.

Here is this terrace from on the pitch.

I wonder how old those R.White's dustbins are?

The end where we began.

By the gate where we started, & now finish our tour of Merland Rise.

Back to the's about to begin!

To finish...who were those two blokes I mentioned? Two hoppers from Eastbourne in Sussex, who are working their way through the Step Five leagues, heading to Sevenoaks Town in the afternoon. They saw my Dulwich colours, & put 'two & two' together with me & my camera, & asked if I did this blog. Pleasure to meet you Trevor & Stuart!

1 comment:

stuart said...

Great to meet you too,and again at the Fisher game.
Love the blog