Friday 8 June 2012

Fleetdown United

Fleetdown United play in the Haart of Kent County League Division One, this is level twelve in the English footballing pyramid. I saw them play Hildenborough Athletic on Saturday 5th May 2012. The visitors had to win to claim the title, & came from behind to do so, with a goal about ten minutes from time. Fleetdown play in Dartford, about a mile or so from the train station, &-as you would expect- at this level, it is a very basic venue.

The entrance to the ground, from the main road, is along this path.

This is pre-match, looks like the keeper has forgotten something!

Heading up to the ground.

The building past the car park is the changing rooms and clubhouse.

Changing rooms are either side of this corridor.

Ouside there are steps, as you can see, down to the pitch. To the left of this photo is the bar area.

Inside the bar.

Back outside, as we go to the pitches, there is this all-weather surface on our right.

Pitches are straight ahead.

Down a grass bank, the main one is straight ahead, there are three pitches in total here.

Carefully down the well worn slope.

Atop it, to the right you can see sponsors banners along the fence.

Here is an example from one company.

Still up on the bank we look down to the pitch, at the corner.

And back behind the goal itself.

We shal lstart at the corner, and stroll round the pitch, clockwise. As you have seen there are no structures, or rails. This is basic. Level twelve in the English football pyramid.

So we're heading toward the goal, grass bank behind.

To our right is the touchline, where the majority of spectators will watch the game.

At the net, looking over to the other side, where the managers & substitutes are.

Now right behind the net.

Past the other post, line of fans down the line, in the background, another pitch behind them.

One groundhopper take advantage of the higher view on the grass bank behind us.

On to the next corner, the banking curves round behind.

At the corner flag.

Down this touchline it is partly roped off further along.

Before we get there, we climb up onto the banking in the corner, to see down onto the ground.

And down this side too. Past the big tree there is a third pitch down on the left.

We have reached the rope.

Past the wheelbarrow.

And to the (non existant) dugout areas.

The 'technical areas' are marked out though.

Over the halfway line.

Glancing back, as we pass it.

And onward past the next 'dugout'.

No rope down this end, just a line marked out, presumably for any specatators to stand behind, and keep away from the touchline?

The field behind, which houses the third pitch.

Now at the third corner.

Completely open behind this goal, too.

From behind the penalty area, substitutes to the right.

With the main spectator side the other way.

Moving on past the goal.

If you want a seat bring your own!

Almost at the last corner.

Some of the supporters along the side.

But not a this end of it.

They are further along, nearer to the halfway line.

Including Disco Dave, on the halfway line!

And onward, to the corner where we began.

The crowd is thinning out ,as we near the corner.

One away fan films the match, hoping they clinch the title.

Turning round, a last glance along this touchline.

Before we do finally rach the end of our circuit. Note the chaps in the corner..

Not quite a stand, but good enough for one!

And so to the match...

No trophy to present, but still a team photo for new champions Hildenborough Athletic.

There are speeches though...

With expectant fans...

League officials are present.

Praising the club.

As the management get the 'manager of the month' award, to complete our visit to the lower end of non-league football.