Rayleigh Town play in the Essex Olympian League Premier Division, which is a Step Seven league, the eleventh rung of the English football pyramid. I saw them play on an early midweek kick off at the end of the 2010/11 season, on an overcast evening, with some light drizzle coming down. Most clubs in this division only have the most basic railed off pitches, so it was nice to see a small bit of cover here.
This approach leads to the ground from the main road.
At the end of it are the club buildings, changing rooms to the left; clubhouse to the right.
This is the way to the chaging rooms.
While the bar is through these doors.
Here it is.
A number of old photos line the walls.
As do various pennants.
This one being from their cup final victory the week before.
By the entrance to the bar was this wonderful old set from when club volunteers built the building in the 1970s!
Moving back outside there is this covered verrandah looking out toward the pitches.
Here are the changing room buildings next to the bar.
Stepping back we see the clubhouse.
There are several pitches here, the main one is in the 'middle'.
Here we are at the corner of the main pitch, it's roped off all the way round, & we're going to head round moving left, walking in a clockwise direction.
The rope goes behind the goal.
Along the far side we can see the two dugouts either side of a small area of cover.
A similar shot, from behind the net.
Moving on there are cricket nets to the left, traditional cricket in the summer, football in the winter.
Toward the main side again, from the other side of the net.
Directly behind the goal.
Zooming in on the cover & dugouts.
At the second corner now.
The rope continues down the side.
Set back immediately behind us, in this corner is the cricket building.
Moving on we are heading toward the dugout & cover.
The first dugout is the visitors.
Then we reach the shed in the centre.
Here it is from the front.
Directly acroos the halfway line.
Ryman League footballs in usse in the Essex Olympian League!
Now at the next dugout. Note a secondary pitch to the left.
There are also dugouts along the side of it.
Back to the main one, we are behind the home dugout & cover.
Here we look directly at the covered section.
And the home dugout.
Now it's open & roped off from here on, as we head to the corner.
From the same area we step back a few yards, & look at the main pitch through the posts of the adjacent one.
And then continue our walk.
At the third corner now.
Turning to the area behind the goal, still roped off, high netting to save wayward shots.
With an old roller dumped behind.
At the penalty area now, a glance back to the covered side.
And onward to the goal.
Almost behind it.
And to the last corner, still roped off, with the clubhouse across another pitch, to the left.
Glancing across that pitch.
Dugout occupied during the match.
Not a huge crowd at this level!
Over the halfway line from this side.
And the away dugout.
Now on the last stretch, to where we began in the corner.
This was the rest of the crowd!
A little bit of match action to finish with.
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