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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Youtube page

I now film a walk around a non-league ground most Saturday's with clips of the match.

View the channel here

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Great Yarmouth Town FC

Great Yarmouth Town 1 Godmanchester Rovers 3

Benches at Great Yarmouth FC

Good God.

Great Yarmouth Town 1 Godmanchester Rovers 3

Pretty much a red letter day. Loads of different trains to catch and all of them left and arrived on time. I had a while for my connection at Cambridge and decided to have a nose outside. What a nice job of regeneration is going on there. There used to be no shops at all, now there is a Wasabi, Sainsbury's and various pubs and cafes.
Very little time to transfer at Norwich and I had to break into a run to ensure that I caught my connection. Why can they not just leave a few minutes longer?
Great Yarmouth is less than attractive around the station area, the walk to the ground is straightfoward though. I stopped for a bag of chips, there is one table in the shop that had an old couple sitting at it, enjoying their Saturday lunch. I wouldn't be surprised if they have been following the same routine and sitting at the same table for the last 40 years.
I walked past the Minster which was a bit of an after thought having visited York a few weeks earlier and all the shops looked a little bit tired and generally unappealing.
Having found the ground, I discovered that it is literally over the road from the beach. So selfie on the sand it was with a little walk up and down the promenade including sticking my head through one of those cardboard things with a woman in a bikini.
The ground itself is Royalty as far as non-league grounds go. Alleged to be the oldest surviving grandstand in the World, having been opened in I think 1892. Lots of space around the ground, loads of benches to sit on, a long covered area on the far side, a club shop, bar, tea hut and running track which you really didn't notice as the rest of the ground was so interesting.
As for the game, Godmanchester scored twice in the first 20 minutes, despite conceding a goal from a penalty just before half time, they actually won comfortably with a third coming with about 10 minutes remaining.
Great trip.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Sheppey United FC

Giant Minion at Sheppey United

Emily At Twenty One - Sheppey

Island in the sun

Sheppey United 4 East Preston 0

Hold the front page, the trains worked. All left on time and even though I only had three minutes for my connection at Sittingbourne, it was not an issue. My first ever visit to the Isle Of Sheppey, I'm not sure what I expected but it did not turn out to particularly be a green and pleasant land in the area that I saw. An impressive bridge that you crossed on the rail to herald your arrival, after that it was a 15-20 minute walk along a fairly busy, residential road.
I saw a roadside sign advertising the game which immediately lifted the pressure from finding the ground, I was in good time so kept walking to see if I could find some lunch. I eventually bumped into an area called 'halfway' that is the rough halfway spot between the three island towns. I discovered a nice little cafe called 'Emily At Twenty-One'.  It was so ridiculously warm that I chose to sit outside and for the first time ever in my groundhopping days, lunched on macaroni cheese with chorizo which came served on the sort of plate you got when you went camping with the scouts.. Filling, but very tasty.
The ground itself was nice. A reasonable stand, a nice upstairs clubhouse that gave an interesting view down on the ground, tea hut facilities, a mascot and a giant minion in one corner of the ground!
The game itself turned out to be a comfortable home win for Sheppey. Three up by half time, they cruised through the second half adding one more towards the end.
A town who are rightly proud of their club, do visit if you can.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Redhill FC

Redhill 2 Forest Hill Park 1

Covered standing area at Redhill fC

Red. letter day

Redhill 2 Forest Hill Park 1    

Have a walk around the ground and see some clips of the game here

Yep, my scheduled first train of the day was cancelled. Apparently, it was because a member of the train crew was not available. There is only one member, so that would be the driver. The reason was because he was coming to the station by taxi and "Something had happened on the way". Seriously, this is what a platform attendant told me. I told him that i didn't believe a word of what he was saying, his follow-up was that this was the first cancellation of the day as if this is a record to be proud of. One cancellation a month and I would be mortified!
On the other hand, what a splendid job has been done on the new London Bridge station. It used to be a five minute walk from the mainline to the tube and you ended up on a crowded, windy platform. Now there is a magnificent concourse full of shops and loads of room. Very impressive!
I travelled to Earlswood station, roadworks were taking place just outside the entrance and I felt most unsafe having to navigate under a sinister looking grabber that was lugging hard core around. Earlswood Common just up the orad looked a nice spot and the walk along the Horley Road was busy but quite pleasant taking in a golf course and the local recycling centre.
The ground itself has a small stand on one side, a little covered standing area at one end and the 'Redhill Canteen' serving hot drinks and the usual football ground food.
The game itself was a bit of a slog for Redhill, they took the lead just before half time but were pegged back just after the break. The winner finally came in the first period of extra time.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hassocks FC

Hassocks 0 K Sports 2

Bird's eye view at Hassocks FC

Bank at the far end

K sera sera

Hassocks 0 K Sports 2

First up, I now run a little Youtube channel and you can have a walk around this ground and watch a few clips from the game here

Following the railway timetable fiasco, our half hourly service into London is now only every hour. Despite the fact that you now get 8 carriages instead of 4, I still did not manage to get a seat. On arriving at Kings Cross, there was clearly some kind of event going on as there were people everywhere and lots of security types with high viz jackets. It seemed to be something to do with Harry Potter but I'm not sure what. Platform 9 3/4 is an amazing money spinner, it doesn't matter when you go, there are always crowds at least 25 deep waiting to have their photo taken.

I had a 45 minute wait at St Pancras, most of which i spent people watching down on the platform. People are strange at times, let's just leave it at that.
I had a young Asian girl next to me who spent the majority of the journey to Hassocks on her phone, talking to a friend about a property she was going to view. After about 45 minutes, she announced that she thought she was going to take it. The tension leading up to this had been almost unbearable from a one side of the conversation perspective, yet how she could suddenly make this decision without laying eyes on the premises, baffled me somewhat.

I took a slight wrong turning out of the station and ended up in the high street. Not overly long with a handful of shops including a Sainsbury's. I actually bought a wrap from Marks & Spencer and had that as my lunch on the train, definitely a sign of being middle aged.

The ground is only a 10-15 minute walk. AS so often this summer, it was a beautiful day and the perfect surroundings to be at. The ground has a bank at one end giving you a nice raised view, there are a few wooden benches littered around the ground, there was a smallish clubhouse with a tea hut, a stand with about a 100 seats. Lovely views across the Downs (Why are they not called Ups?) where you can see two windmills that sit hand in hand next to each other, charmingly known as locally as Jack and Jill.

The game itself was a fairly even affair, although Hassocks had not cutting edge. K Sports won it with a low drive on 41 minutes and a lob on 87 minutes.

The perfect location for a warm, summer day.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Melksham FC

Melksham 2 Tring Athletic 1

Small stand at Melksham

It's a 'sham

Melksham 2 Tring Athletic 1

Oh, if I could just get into London reliably, this groundhopping lark would be so much easier. Some issue on my first journey meant that trains were running at least 25 minutes late. I actually ended up getting the train before the one I headed for which then didn't stop at two of the usual stations. Very harsh on people who had to get off and wait another 30 minutes for the next one. Shambles!
Then the tube line wasn't running, so I had to re-direct taking two different tube lines and finally made it to Paddington with little time to spare.
I had to take the train to Chippenham and then change for a short journey to Melksham. The female train guard on this service seemed to know everyone and pulled one young lady up for not buying a ticket two weeks earlier. She seemed to have a complete handle on who everyone was, what they were doing and where they were going. It was great to see her in action.
Melksham was a slightly odd place, walking from the station to the town, I came across a subway with a weirdly big spiral footpath. Would work for people with pushchairs etc, but a simple flight of steps for other people would have saved a lot of time and effort.
I was happy to unexpectedly bump into a Wetherspoon's and was intrigued to discover that they had started selling pizza on their menu. My pizza came quickly and although it would not win any awards, it was not half bad.
I was slightly unsure of my direction, so went up an alley that pointed towards the tourist information. I must have walked 5 minutes and never did find it, or the post office that was supposedly down the same track. Where are they??????????
I eventually figured out my route which was a longer walk than I had anticipated.
It was about 20-25 minutes from town, it was set just off a new looking housing estate and is actually in an excellent location.
Once I reached the turning to the ground, it still took 5 minutes walking up the path until I actually reached a good sized car park and the entrance.
The ground was a modern looking construction, an interesting looking high stand, but it didn't seem to have mush cover from the elements. A small, more traditional stand was on the other side. The whole place was neat and tidy with plenty of room for expansion.
I liked the touch of having ball girls during the game and their rotation of sitting spots every 5-10 minutes was a bright idea to keep themselves warm.
Melksham scored twice in the first quarter of an hour and despite Tring getting one back on 40 mins, they held on to win reasonably comfortably.
A bugger to get back from on public transport. I actually booked a cab to take me to Chippenham and picked up my train from there.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Desborough Town FC

Desborough Town 2 Stourport Swifts 4 aet

Floodlights and water tower at Desborough FC

Desborough's day turns Stour

Desborough Town 2 Stourport Swifts 4    aet

Hold the front page!  My first train actually arrived 3 minutes early. I think in 20 years it had once turned up 1 minute early, 3 minutes is simply unheard of. A simple start to the journey, no tube involved, just a stroll across the road to St Pancras. I had a bit of time on my hands, so decided to search around for lunch inspiration. I really  wasn't feeling it. No sandwich either caught my imagination, or if it did, it seemed to be ridiculously overpriced. I ended up buying a very reasonably priced packet of chocolate digestives from M&S for 86p. Took me all day, but I'm embarrassed to say that I ate the whole lot of them.
The train journey from London to Kettering went without incident. I don't know Kettering so well having only been there once before and that was when I had to divert on my way home. So the issue I had was to find the bus stop. I headed towards the town centre signs, headed for the shops and more by luck than judgement, bumped into a whole row of bus stops. Took me a while to find the right one and when I did, there was under 5 minutes to wait. Good job as it was bloody freezing and felt like it was in a wind tunnel.
The bus journey to Desborough was supposed to take 35 minutes but I was there in only 15-20. A small town but with good facilities and a fair number of shops.
In search of a proper lunch, I walked into a pub next to the bus stop and promptly walked straight out again. Sometimes you just get a bad feeling about places.
So I ended up with a bag of chips from the chippy in town, unremarkable but very nice and warming.
I then popped into Coral's to pass a bit of time, through an each way bet on a 12/1 shot at Wincanton that led all the way from the start until about 50 yards from the finish when it got beaten into second. Still left with a proffit though.
The walk to the ground was about 10 minutes from the town, all along a straight road and extremely easy to find.
It is a striking ground, visit if you can. The floodlights are old school affairs, towering into the sky at each corner and looking like they were pulled straight out of my 1970's Subuteo set, I loved them! There is also a water tower in one corner that again, gives the place a unique look. There is a clubhouse just before the ground entrance that was absolutely packed when I popped in at half time. However, they had sensibly seperated the hot food and hot drinks counter which enabled the queues to keep moving. Lots of cover, standing cover along the majority of the near end, more covered standing on the near side along with a seating area that had wooden benches.
I was sitting in this area before kick-off reading the programme and was joined by an ex UCL referee. He was good company and i actually stayed in the stand for the whole game, something that I rarely do.
The game itself was great, Stourport took an early lead, but Desborough always looked dangerous in attack and equalised before half time. Stouport went ahead again right at the start of the second half but Desborough once again equalised midway through the period and took the tie to extra time.
Stourport eventually won it with 2 goals in the final extra time period.
One of those grounds that I was so pleased to have made the effort to visit, take a  look around if you want on my Youtube channel through the link below, even better, visit if you can, you will not be disappointed.