Ebbfleet United play in the top flight of English non-league football, having been promoted to the Blue Square Bet Premier via the play-offs at the end of last season.
Call me 'old fashioned' but I still refer to them as 'Gravesend', their previous name being Gravesend & Northfleet; changing their title in 2007, as part of a sponsorship tie-up with the new local train station.
The ground itself is one of my favourites, despite 'attempts' at 'modernisation'. It reeks history, as imust be one of the best old 'traditional' grounds in the country. I took this set of photos in 2010/11, at an FA Youth Cup tie against Cray Wanderers.
The name Ebbsfleet United will always be linked to their notorious/bizarre/innovative*
internet ownership scheme. *delete as appropriate!
The nearest station is Northfleet, from the platform you can see the Ebbsfleet International one behind it.
You can see a Eurostar train at the platform.
The ground is not far away at all.
These are main turnstiles, closed for my visit, as it was not a first team match.
There is this old plaque attached to them.
And this too.
With a more recent one commemorating Wembley glory.
Lots of plugs for their name sponsor, whose silver they took in return for their soul!
At the far end of the ground is this car park, which is where we will get in tonight.
I wonder how old that sign is?
There's also some scrapped, wrecked buses adjacent!
Must be a bus spotters nightmare scenario!
At the end of the car park is the players entrance, & a newer turnstile block, for away fans.
It's through these that we get into the ground tonight.
List of regulations pinned up. Come on, this is still supposed to be non-league!
In the ground now, we're in one of the corners. Main stand straight ahead, which is where we will will head first.
To our right is a large open terrace.
But in the corner along the side is a jumble of huts & football equipment.
Just past that is the wonderfully preserved old wooden stand. The ground was home to Northfleet United, prior to the merger with Gravesend United in April 1946, & is believed to date from the early 1900s.
It is cramped inside, a mix of old wooden benches in the wings, with plastic tip up seats further along.
I'm not sure if the benches are actually used on match days, as the views from parts of it are somewhat restricted.
Moving along slightly we can see the goalmouth at the open terraced end.
Toward the centre.
Seats behind the dugouts.
The players tunnel.
The home dugout.
A full length shot, from on the pitch.
Back up in the stand, the press seats; with the covered end, once a terrace, now seated, in the background.
Down by the pitch, this time by the visitors dugout.
And up at the back of the stand near to the end of it.
Even though they are a bit obstructive, I love the old beams.
There is an old door at the back. The old graffiti in the dust is the only mention of the old name that I saw anywhere!
Up in the corner, looking back down the stand.
Beyond the stand is a tea hut, then a small open terrace.
Here's the tea bar.
Behind the stand are club offices.
This is the section of open terrace past it. Note that funny wall, ahead to the right...
A corner flag shot, over the pitch, with the covered terrace on the far side.
This section of old terrace is fenced off, seating placed to the front of it.
The 'wall' we saw is some sort of fund raising gimmick.
A plastic version of the engrave a brick type of thing.
From in front of it we look back to the main stand.
These are the new seats behind the goal.
Old terracing left behind it, what a shame, I guess the seats were added for ground grading reasons?
Behind the goal we see down the pitch.
Turning to the right again, to the main stand.
Then the other direction, to the covered terrace.
Similar shot, down the front, by the net.
No plastic wall at the other corner behind the goal, just a plain 45 minute clock.
A sideways look from this side of the old & new.
This is the end, from on the pitch.
Heading to the side is open terracing, with a club shop at tea bar at the back.
Before we head there a peek behind the new seats, the club nickname still clear at the rear.
Behind this corner is the other side of the main turnstiles, which we passed at the beginning of our tour of Stonebridge Road.
Traditional old fashioned iron turnstiles, as you would expect here.
By them are 'traditional' gents toilets, 'posh' ones, as they have a roof!
Proper old fashioned bogs!
As you come in the main turnstiles you are behind the old terrace/new seats. There's a hut for matchday programmes, & the clubhouse is beyond that.
A narrow bar, but quite smart.
A tribute to a loyal fan, from his trade union.
Wembley memories on the wall.
As is this amazing old poster.
Back outside again, returning past the main turnstiles. This is what you will see if you turn left from them, instead of going for a pint.
Love the phraseology 'whatever action is required'...take 'em round the back of the stand for an old fashioned kick in! ;-)
Almost ready to move along the covered side now, not before we've seen over the pitch from this corner...
Well not quite the corner, this is the corner.
Now we are finally moving along the side.
A poster for upcoming matches.
Tea bar menu.
Almost under the shed now, Trophy glory never to be forgotten on the side.
The view from under one bit of cover to another.
Along the terrace from the frony, note the overhanging gantry.
Similar view, but at the back.
Seeing across to the main stand.
Nearly at the halfway line.
Past that is some nominal segregation barriers.
On the open terrace past the cover.
Another shot of the main stand, as it starts to get dark.
The terracing along the side, leading up to the larger open bank behind the goal.
Just in case games are too bad! A number to call...
My favourite 'corner flag' picture from here.
At the bottom of the open end terracing.
At the back, to the covered terrace, to the right.
Over the pitch, straight ahead.
And main stand to the left.
Finally the terrace to the corner where we came in.
Last snaps when the night had drawn in.
This one came out better, in the other direction.
Finally, down the pitch, at the final whistle.
Saturday, 17 September 2011
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