Thursday 17 February 2011

Guildford City

The current incarnation of Guildford City play in the Combined Counties League Premier Division. They play at, in my view, a bloody awful ground, behind The Spectrum leisure centre. That's not their fault, of course, a home is a home, I have read they are looking for alternative sites to build a 'proper' ground & I wish them well in their efforts.

I saw a game here several years ago, when I saw the Dulwich Hamlet Reserve Team play a game here, in the Surrey Premier Cup, I don't think the cover was there in the middle back then. This is-to all intents & purposes-a one sided ground at an athletics stadium, they are doing wel lthis season, challenging for the title, but I would be very surprised if this ground had the gradings to go up to the next level.

I took this set of photos toward the end of the 2009/10 season, in late March, & was on my way to see the Hamlet at Godalming Town, so I was pushed for daylight time, as I wanted to get there in time to take a set of snaps in daylight, & thus only took photos here from the main spectator side, & didn't venture round the track.

As I mentioned, the ground is part of The Spectrum complex.

From one of the car parks we look back to the sportscentre.

Walking across this car park we see the floodlights from the ground, which is on the level below.

The centre is also home to the Guildford Flames ice hockey team.

And the Guildford Heat basketball one.

Whilst this banner on the side of the fence around the ground tells us who the local athletics club is.

From up in the car park we look into the ground.

This is the other end, in the bottom left of the picture you can see the roof of the stand.

It was up on that open higher level car park where we looked into the ground.

This is the matchday entrance for the football.

Inside now we see behind the goal, clearly no spectator area.

Along this main side, above the pitch & track, is 'open terracing'. a seated area without any benches really, with the covered seated area bolted on in the middle, presumably to meet Step five gradings.

Down below we see the tops of the changing rooms, and associated athletics areas.

Here we reach the seating. Adequate enough, but it just doesn't feel like a football ground.

Here we look across the seats, from under the cover.

Looking over the halfway line from here, we can just see the dugouts over the far side.

Eyes to the right, the end we've already seen.

And back along the terraced steps.

Then we turn to our left, again absolutely nothing behind the goal.

With the steps continuing along the rest of this side, past the stand.

Up at the next corner the grass bank peters out, as mentioned, nowhere for supporters at this end.

Looking over the pitch from this corner.

A snap down the spectator area, our 'one side' ground tour almost over.

From down on the track we see how high up the seats are.

Directly in front of & below the stand.

Finally, up on the grass bank at the end where we started.

And, from up here, we look along the only side of the ground, with the sports complex behind it.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Johnstone Burgh; Scotland

Johnstone Burgh play in the SJFA Central Division One, & I visited their ground in March 2010. It took a while to gain access, but when I did it was worth it just to see the wonderful old barrelled covered terrace! Johnstone is in Renfrewshire, & easy to reach by train from Glasgow. It's certainly one of many Scottish non-league grounds I'd love to see a game at, but almost certainly never will!

This is the back of the club building from the road outside.

To the left of that structure are the turnstiles. Firmly locked. I treked round the outer perimeter fence to try to find a way in.

And eventually found this gap. wasn't me! I am happy to gain access into grounds if there are ways in, but am not prepared to leave myself open to a charge of criminal damage, if someone objects, or thinks I've broken in somewhere!

I am now inside, on the opposite side of the ground to the road.

For the purposes of this tour we head back to the turnstiles, & will start from here.

Just beyond them, to the right, are the still traditional in Scotland roofless open toilets.

Tucked/dumped right in the corner are a pair of dugouts.

To our right we see the club building, with a small bit of cover in front of it.

Here we look across the pitch to the magnificent old barrelled terrace roof.

To our left, behind the goal, it is open grass banking. We are going to head this way, clockwise, around the ground.

From up on this slope we look down to the red & white striped building, with the cover in front, & we can also see a few steps of terracing.

The banking is substantial.

Here we are up at the top of it, looking across the pitch. There is banking up the other end too.

Down at the front we look through the goalposts to the main are of cover.

To the right the strange smaller flat cover.

At the back, on the outer perimeter, is a hoarding for the local newspaper.

Back up the slope, we look over to the right, once more.

And to the left, to where we are heading.

Back down the bottom, here we look along the pitch rails.

And back up the top once more beyond the top of the slope is what looks like wasteland. And don't worry, I wasn't running up & down the slippery banking, it's just the way I've put them on here for some reason!

Now we're moving along the slide, where you can see the slope is nowwhere near as pronounced.

We reach the covered terrace. Cinders style steps, under an old barrelled roof! Football beauty!

From under it we glance back at the part of this side we've already seen.

Here we stare over the pitch to the striped roof. Is it me or would it have been a little more aesthetically pleasing on the eye if it was still covered in snow? ;-)

Looking down the terrace from the back of it.

Not entirely safe, due to the local wildlife.

Beyond the covered shed is more grass banking, but underneath it appears there was once some terracing.

The cover, from the bottom corner of it.

And on the pitch.

Moving along, banking to the corner.

And round the next curve, behind this goal. The rails are set far back from the goal. I am wondering if there was once a running track here, or maybe some sort of racing held. Maybe animals or motor?

From the top of the corner banking at this side we glance back along to the barrelled stand.

Heading behind the goal now, we see over the pitch, toward the dugouts & changing rooms.

Almost reaching the last side of the ground.

Here we are, wow, almost a flat side!

From this angle we can see where the grass banking abruptly stops.

When we reach the first of the dugouts we see some concrete terracing behind.

And then the 'tunnel' to the changing rooms.

More steps of terrace behind the home dugout, and small backless bit of cover.

From this side of the ground we look over to the barrel.

Here is the cover on this side. Weird, I can't imagine it giving much protection from the elements in the rain, as even a slight wind would get you wet.

In front are a few steps of concrete terrace.

Here we are under the cover, looking over the pitch.

And to the other side.

Our last shot, in the corner where we began, a nice view of the terrace & cover on this side.