‘Ricay hail from Essex. Not the scuzzy bit near Romford,
but near the posh bit where all the Cockernee Gangsta types retire
to when the boy done good drive their 4x4s and get shot in country
lanes. Never been myself, but I understand that they’re a
lively bunch who have a healthy hatred of Aldershot.
The Iron’s club shop sells Groundtastic magazine. That’s
it – you don’t need another reason to go.
Sound so grandiose with the suffix “City”, don’t
they? Well, I’ve got some news for you – you’re
not a city, you’re a suburb of Brentwood, you slaaaggg. That’s
thing with Essex, you’ve gotta talk da talk. Groundshare with
This lot play in orange and threw away the Northern Division to
Yeading. Don’t know anything else about them apart from they
play somewhere above London and under the rainbow. I’ll let
you know if I find anything else out.
They could have been a contender. Went as high as third in the
big non-league league, lost an FA Cup Replay to the Rebels on their
own patch, then it all went pear. Have a big support, and a nice
ground (The Crabble) perched on the side of a small mountain in
A small-town side who have benefited from a large cash injection,
and the know-how of ex-Saints substitute David Hughes (a man who
once said of Ken Monkou on local radio “sometimes you wish
he’d just open up his legs and go for it”). They play
at Ten Acres, handy for Southampton Airport and the M27, and not
too far away from The Cricketers, where a certain Horseman used
to drink in his college days…
With two bars in opposite corners, a proper walk-in club shop,
cover behind one goal and a steep terrace behind the other –
I could be in love. A lovely ground, but no so much fun when you’re
losing 4-0 on a Monday (yes, Monday) night, all because your goalkeeper
has forgotten what he’s wearing gloves for. A fair trek, but
could be handy as a staging post for a Saturday night jaunt to France.
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Like something out of a Carry On film, the Beaver’s play
just next to Bushy Park, along the road from Hampton Wick. Draught
Budweiser and nice burgers are a saving grace, as the small stand
behind the goal seems prone to attracting the local village idiots
trying to goad visiting fans. If you’re lucky, you may even
get to see Bertie Beaver (or his sister, Betty) on the pitch before
Not renowned for having a big fan base, Harrow share their “borough”
with Wealdstone, who seem to attract the louder fans. A non-descript
team, with non-descript things to say about. I have heard it’s
on the hill, though.
They bottled from going up to the Conference South, letting Basingstoke
off the hook. I’m not sure where I’d rather have gone:
Hampshire’s roundabout capital, or the home to the Met Police’s
college? We played them a few years ago in the showpiece competition
that was the Puma Cup, losing narrowly to a late goal – unfortunately
for Hendon, since then, they have failed to capitalise properly
on that glorious success and didn’t use it as the springboard
it should have been. We were also the victims of a Walter Mitty
character claiming to have been Hendon chairman a few seasons ago
– but don’t let that prejudice our views of them! Their
ground has hosted TV cameras recently with Bravo’s Fash FC,
but they are planning to move somewhere else soon – just make
sure you turn up at the right ground!
Way, way out in the Essex swamps, on the very eastern edge of the
British Isles (it’s practically Belgium!) lies a little town
called Maldon. Just a little bit north of there, on the way towards
Tiptree (where they make jam, apparently) is a tiny village called
Heybridge. And on the outskirts of that village is a football ground,
home to Heybridge Swifts: a Barton Rovers for a new generation.
A friendly enough bunch, they hosted Worthing in an epic FA Cup
tie last season – a lovely bar and a nice covered terrace
down the far end. Mind and get your Aftershock orders in early this
time – they’d run dry of red by half-time!
Kingstonian fans still seem to be under the delusion that they
are still a big club, as evidenced by them singing “what’s
it like to see a crowd” at last season’s league cup
(crowd: 300). A woefully inept surrender to Lewes in the play-off
final means they will be slumming it with us oiks. Used to have
a nice ground, but are now squatting in it. Nice big bar, mind.
Made it to Wembley two years in succession with the Trophy, and
finished third in the Conference one.
B*ggered if I know anything about this lot. They’ve probably
changed names a dozen times in the last ten years, which is what
makes all these East London clubs with about 20 fans so tricky to
pin down. Expect them to be called something like “Stratford
Woods” or “Becontree, Upminster and Wanstead Avenue”
by around Christmas.
We continue our tour of posh London suburbs (no, I’m not
still talking about Leyton) with this visit to Pinner. A small ground
next to a cemetery – which always boasts far more atmosphere
than the "stadium" itself. One of those clubs that suffers
from having a bar in the car park, rather than en suite, and a small
one it is two. Have a pedigree for unearthing useful players and
selling them on (Yaku, Fitzgerald) – whether this will continue
now their old manager’s moved on is yet to be seen.
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In a straw poll of “the best places to get smashed off your
face drinking scrumpy and annoying the locals by constantly singing
Wurzels songs in the Isthmian Premier”, Salisbury edged into
first place. Expect to see at least one Worthing fan smashed off
his face on scrumpy singing about his brand new combine harvester
then. Tragically, as is the case with oh so many Southern League
clubs, the stadium is a monument to the medium of breezeblock. And
only has two sides. And is quite a way out of the town. Still, Salisbury
has the biggest Waitrose known to man – bear in mind the parking’s
a problem though, with all those Massey Fergusons in the way.
Come lovely bombs and fall on Slough… well, almost. It was
bulldozers that put an end to Sluff’s old home, and they now
squat at Stag Meadow in nearby Windsor. They were quite handy last
season, scoring silly amounts of goals, but they now have to build
a new strikeforce.
No matter how many times they wash those shirts, they still have
“Staines” on the chest! Ho, ho, ho – it’s
the way I type ‘em. Staines play at the Wembley of Middlesex.
Oh, okay, Wembley is in Middlesex. Well, you know what I mean. They
actually play on a rough patch of grass next to a grazing paddock
for horses, a bit of corrugated iron covering some rough stone steps,
and a ridiculously posh “health and lifestyle” club,
with plasma screens in the bar and over-priced Guinness. Strangely
only choosing to put seats in one-third of the available stand space,
they’ve still had the blind optimism to build a ticket office
window. They’ve got a lovely shed for their tractor, too,
Not Tunbridge as in Wells, but the place next door. No idea where
the "Angels" bit comes from, unless they go in for Corinthian-esque
tactics of missing penalties and the like. All I know is this is
likely to be our Boxing Day/Easter Monday derby, and therein lies
a problem – do we go via Lewes or up to the M25? Hardly going
to conjour up the intense rivalry of the games against the Green
Slime, or the frenzied vitriol of recent games against the Pikies,
is it? They get big crowds, even bigger than us, so there must be
quite a few of them.
So, the league pits us against the toilet-smashing, seat-ripping,
gutter-tearing, baby-eating Wealdstone again. Actually, things might
be a bit nicer now – the Stones are moving to shiny new lego-brick
ground at Prince Edwards Playing Fields, and have old rivalries
to renew with the likes of Hendon and Harrow, and a Worthing supporters
team duly trooped up to north-west London last summer to be summarily
humiliated by all-comers in a Stones’ run tournie. Here’s
to sharing a few real ales at several of fine establishments in
Had Div 1 South in the bag, then threw it away big time. Do a nice
line in big bald thugs at centre back. The ground and the bar aren’t
up to much, but there’s plenty of fun to be had in the town
itself. Two stalemates last season, when the Rebels really should
have won both of them – could be a close thing again this
year, but I can’t see the Royalists sustaining any challenge
in this higher league. Prince Phillip HRH is their President –
wonder if we’ll see him in the pie queue at half-time?
Err, that’s us, you muppet. What do you need to know about
us for? Surely you know enough already, dontcha?
Rhymes with Reading (the party capital of the Home Counties) rather
than reading (what sultry librarian types do), and play at the bottom
end of an industrial estate, where pizza delivery boys fear to tread.
Apparently, their clubhouse makes a fortune doing lunches out of
all the film luvvies and act-tors (dahling!) who hang around the
industrial units opposite, but I can’t see it myself. The
Gents toilet window is handily placed for keeping an eye on the
action if you’re the right height. I like to think of it as
my own personal Executive Box.
– nope. Didn’t
find anything else out.
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