Saturday, 21 January 2017

Chertsey Town F.C. - Alwyns Lane

Chertsey Town F.C.
Chertsey Town F.C.
Alwyns Lane Stadium
Alwyns Lane
Chertsey
Surrey
KT16 9DW


Ground Number: 38
Date: Tuesday 27th December 2016
Score: Chertsey Town F.C. 3-4 Horley Town F.C.
Competition: Combined Counties Premier Division
Attendance: 104

The day after Boxing Day is normally a day where you have a nice lie in and recover from the three stressful days of Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day) but not for me, if there is a game of football on that is local to me then I will be there and for me, this was the case because only yesterday I found myself at Bromley v Sutton United and today, there was two fixtures that I go to and they were Chertsey Town v Horley Town or Hanworth Villa v AFC Hayes and seeing as I have been trying to go to Chertsey Town for the past couple of months, I decided that I would go to Chertsey Town F.C. instead of Hanworth Villa.
I decision to go to Chertsey Town was made on Boxing Day night and this meant I had time to prepare for the game as I would be filming the game instead of physically watching then game because I had recently set up a new YouTube channel called NonLeagueTV which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSQeBoE5YmdjGzxOF6M7X1g. The channel is where I film non-league games and upload the highlights and I thought that today`s game between Chertsey Town F.C. and Horley Town F.C. would be a good game of me to film my first game. After deciding to film the game, I charged up my new camcorder that I got for Christmas and got the tripod and all my camera equipment ready. I then looked into the history of Chertsey Town F.C. as I do did not know a lot about them.
Chertsey Town F.C. were founded in 1890 and their nickname is `The Curfews`. They play in the colours of blue and white and they currently play in the Combined Counties Premier. The club play their home games at Alwyns Lane which is located just around the back of Chertsey high street and the stadium has a capacity of 2,500 and there are around 300 seats. The reason why the clubs nickname is `The Curfews` is because it is the name of the local famous bell that was in the nearby St Peters Church.
The club started out in the small Surrey leagues and in the very late 50`s and the early 60`s, the club played in the Surrey Senior League and then they played in leagues such as the Spartan League. Then the club was in the Isthmian leagues during the early 80`s and then was relegated to the Combined Counties and since the mid 80`s and the early 2000`s, the club has been Isthmian leagues with many promotions and relegations between the Isthmian leagues but in 2006, the club was allocated to the Combined Counties. After getting promoted and then they had a spell in the Southern League Division One Central but they were relegated back down to the Combined Counties where they still are today.
I woke up around 7:30am and then I had to go round the shop to get bread and milk and once I did that, I checked all of my camera equipment and then we left my house at 9am. The original SD card for my camcorder was too big so we stopped off in Curry`s PC World on the way and got a 64GB mini SD card for £25 and then we drove to my mate Johnnie`s house who is also a Sutton fan and he runs a YouTube channel called FITBHighlights which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/user/FITBHighlights
After picking up Johnnie we drive to the ground and then we paid to get in and I got a programme and then we went to the main stand to set up our cameras and we finished setting up our cameras at 10:55am. After this I walked around the stadium to get some photos and as I was walking round the stadium, I kind of started to fall in love with the stadium because it is a lovely stadium.
Alwyns Lane had a capacity of 2,500 and there are around 300 seats. The main area of the ground holds the main stand which has the 300 or so seats and is the location where me and Johnnie filmed the game from. Next the main stand is a open terrace and the bar. Opposite the main stand is a really nice covered terrace and the roof of the terrace is striped in blue and white to represent the colours of Chertsey Town F.C. Behind one of the goals is a covered terrace which is around half the width of the pitch and behind the other goal is a very small traditional covered terrace which is around the width of the goal.
The teams came out and this was when I started to film the game, the first 20 minutes were very boring but after that the game started to pick up and from my point of view, Chertsey looked the better team for the first half and went into half time winning but in the second half there were more goals to come and the game eventually finished Chertsey Town 3-4 Horley Town which was a very good game for me especially as it was my first game that I have ever filmed for my new YouTube Channel (NonLeagueTV).
I took my camcorder off the tripod and dismantled the tripod which takes around 2/3 minutes and then me, my dad and Johnnie headed back for the car which was parked in Chertsey High Street and we dropped Johnnie off home. I got back to my house at 3pm and I uploaded the footage to my laptop and I had over 120 individual clips I had watched all of them to see what ones I need to delete. After doing this I uploaded the clips onto the editing software that I used at the time of this game which was called videopad and after putting all the clips together, the video took around 6 hours to export onto a single video file and I uploaded the highlights to YouTube at 12am.
You can find my highlights here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLuDI8Hb9r4&t=3s
I would personally like to thank Chertsey Town for allowing me to film the game and I would like to thank them for a great morning of football. I would also like to thank Johnnie who was given me the confidence to start a football YouTube channel.
Alwyns Lane is a really nice stadium to groundhop to and for me, I feel that this is a ground that you must visit because the ground is very traditional and the ground has so much character and there are not really any modern features to the ground which makes it better because the ground is very traditional and just has that feeling of a ground that is special.

The bar is not the best but it is quite warm which was good especially as it was really cold out today but the fans who go inside the bar are very friendly and when my dad went in there at half time, they said hello to him. The staff are very friendly and will generally have a quick conversation with you which makes you feel very welcome.

I will admit the food at Chertsey Town is not the best but at half time, I did get a burger which costs around £2 but it was quite small and felt very dry but I always say that it is better than nothing so if you are planning on getting something to eat at Chertsey Town, then I wouldn`t really suggest getting a burger.

The atmosphere was not the best if I am honest but there was some form of atmosphere as the Horley fans that were sitting in the main stand were shouting some motivational quotes like "come on Horley" which was quite good as it showed their passion for their team. The Chertsey fans did a few chants which for this level of football is quite good as you do not see many teams have fans that chant in the Combined Counties but the Chertsey fans did so I do give those fans a lot of credit.

Chertsey Town F.C. is a very friendly club, the fans are friendly and welcoming, the players will generally say "hello" of you bump into them, the away fans were also very friendly and the people who run the club are also very friendly. So if you are planning on going to Chertsey Town, you should not be expecting to witness any form of abuse because it is very rare that this happens at Chertsey Town F.C.

The overall experience as a groundhopper is Chertsey Town F.C. is a must do groundhop if you live in London or Surrey or if you are within an hours drive of the ground because it makes a great day out and it will give you a great experience and you will feel very welcome and will experience a well run non league club.

Rating:
Stadium: 6/10
Bar: 6/10
Food and Drink: 6/10
Atmosphere: 3/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Experience As A Groundhopper: 9/10
Average Rating: 6.5/10

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Bromley F.C. - Hayes Lane

Bromley F.C.

Bromley F.C.
Hayes Lane Stadium
Hayes Lane
Bromley
Kent
BR2 9EF


Ground Number: 37
Date: Monday 26th December 2016
Score: Bromley F.C. 1-0 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: Vanarama National League Premier 
Attendance: 2,036

Boxing Day, a day where you normally spend the day with family but for the most loyal football fans, Boxing Day is a day for football and this year was no excuse for me not to go because this year, Sutton were playing against Bromley which is the most local team to us in the league this year and in the past few seasons, this fixture has evolved a small rivalry between the two club`s but some of the Sutton fans do not class Sutton and Bromley as rivals, but for me and a few of the other Sutton fans, we see this game as a rivalry as both club`s are in South London and both clubs play in the same league.
Boxing Day fixtures tend to be very optimistic sometimes because you are pretty much guaranteed to get a team that is very local to you on Boxing Day but the game itself is normally not as good as a normal league game as less people turn up as they are spending time with family and the players may not be at their best as it is the day after Christmas.
Boxing Day finally arrived and I woke up good and early as we had to pick up my Uncle Ben who was coming to the game with us and I had to go round the shop to get bread and milk. After I had breakfast and went round the shop to get bread and milk, I had a quick look at the Bromley history as I have forgotten most of it as I have not been to Hayes Lane since the 2014/15 season.
Bromley F.C. were founded in 1892 and their nickname is `The Ravens` and they are also called `The Lilly whites` The club currently play at Hayes Lane which has a capacity of 5,000 and there is apparently 1,300 seats but the main stand only holds 320 and there are wooden seats behind one of the goals and a few plastic seats which looks like it can hold around 600 people seated. The club currently play in the Vanarama National League Premier which is one league below the football league. When Bromley were founded in 1892, they started in the South London League. Throughout the late 20th Century and the early 21st Century, Bromley were playing in the Isthmian League (Ryman League) and in the 2006/07 season, they were promoted to the Conference South and they won the Conference South in the 2014/15 season.
After looking at the history of Bromley F.C. and looking at their form this season, I felt quite confident that we could get a least a point today and with this positive mind set we set off to my nan`s to pick up my Uncle Ben. Whilst on the way to pick up Ben, I had to go into a shop and top up my Oyster Card as I had over spent on it and this stopped my free travel. After topping up my Oyster Card we headed to my nans and had a cup of tea, well for me, a cup of orange juice and then we got in the car at 11am and drove to Five ways near Croydon to catch the 119 bus which would take us to the stadium.
We parked just up the road from Five ways and we only had to wait 1 minute for the bus which was very handy and once we went through Croydon, we realised that we would get to the ground earlier than we were expecting so we got off near West Wickham and had a McDonalds. After finishing our McDonalds, we went back to the bus stop to get back onto the 119 and we had to wait about 10 minutes for it and once we got on the bus, it was busier than the one that we got off earlier. We stayed on the bus for about 15 minutes and then we arrived at the bus stop we had to get off at for the stadium. The stadium is about a 1 minute walk from the bus stop and once we approached the stadium entrance, I took some pictures of the entrance. Then we walked past the home fans entrance and then walked around the back to the away fans entrance and there was already a few Sutton fans waiting for the turnstiles to open.
The turnstiles opened after waiting outside for around 10 minutes and before we went in, we was body searched which felt quite intimidating especially as a non-league fan because people generally do not attack non-league clubs and for me, I feel Bromley F.C. feel like they are always having a suspicion against the away fans but I suppose with threats being so high, they are just taking it as a precaution. After passing the body search I went through the turnstiles and I paid £5 as I am a student. We had been given a corner of the stadium and at the ends of our section where large metal segregation fences which made us feel enclosed and feel quite intimidated. I then put up both of my flags and then around 5 minutes before kick off, we started to get the atmosphere going by starting some chants and through the first half, we didn't stop chanting which was really good. Then in the second half, we got a lot of violent/abusive quotes from the Bromley fans and at some points in the game, they were forcing themselves up against the segregation fence and we decided to just start some chants which went a bit too far and were fully meant for banter but the Bromley fans took it very seriously when it was clearly banter so we decided to stop and get back to the Sutton chants. Then in the last minute, Bromley scored and all of their fans were attempting to climb onto the fence and a few of their fans tried to get into our area and this started to cause arguments between the Sutton fans and the Bromley fans. I have to say that Bromley`s support is terrible as they do not even chant and they are silent for the whole game which is embarrassing. On the way out of the stadium a few of the Bromley fans started throwing abuse at me and a few of the other Sutton fans so I just said "support your own team and I`ll support my team, you chose to support your team how you want and we support our team how we want".
We then got on the 119 straight away as it was not very busy and it was coming as soon as we got out of the ground. Me and around another 7 Sutton fans got on the bus and they all got off at Croydon and we stayed on until Five-ways. We then got in the car and dropped my Uncle Ben off and then we drove home and got home at around 6pm.
I did learn a lesson after today`s game and that is I should just concentrate on supporting Sutton and get the atmosphere to benefit Sutton instead of just annoying the home fans and after this I have changed the way I act in a football match and I would also like to apologise to anyone who found my actions stupid in the game and I will not do it again.
Hayes Lane is quite a nice stadium if I am honest because you do not find these kind of stadiums anymore and this kind of stadium is very rare and even as a Sutton fan who is not very keen on Bromley, I really like Hayes Lane and I would be quite disappointed to see it get knocked down in the future. I feel that if you are going to visit Hayes Lane, then I would probably suggest standing opposite the main stand with the Bromley fans as I stood there before the match when I visited Hayes Lane in the 2014/15 season and that part of the ground is a great place to stand and gives you a great view of the game.

As the game was segregated, we was not allowed in the bar but I did ask some Sutton fans whether they had been in the bar in their past visits to Hayes Lane as I have never been in there and they said that the bar is a good size and you do sometimes get welcomed when you enter the bar. If you are an away fan visiting Bromley and the game is segregated, you will not have access to the bar.


I will be honest, I did not get anything to eat whilst I was at Hayes Lane as I had brought left over Pringles and other picky bits from Christmas Day but again I did ask some of the Sutton fans who had brought something from the tea hut in the ground and they said the food was really nice and my mate Luke who was eating chips said "the chips are really nice" and I asked out of 10, what would he rate the chips and he said "8/10" so the chips are really nice at Bromley F.C.

The atmosphere was generally really good through the match as we were chanting for the whole game but it was a shame that in the second half, the Bromley fans were annoying us as it was a local derby but in these kind of games, you will expect to get this response from the home fans.

I feel that if the game was not segregated, the Bromley fans would not have a such big problem with us and when they scored in the 95th minute, they was a bit cocky but if we scored in the 95th minute, we would be a bit cocky so I don't really blame them for being a bit cocky but some of their fans were just really rude to us when we walked past us which was a shame because we have never really had a problem when visiting Bromley as their fans were generally really nice to us in the past.

The overall experience as an away fan is Bromley F.C. is a quite intimidating place to play football and if you are in the segregated area, you will generally experience the Bromley fans generally being annoying and trying to `slag` off your team, this is what we experienced but I hope that if you are going to Bromley F.C. in the future, you will not experience what we experienced. I am very disappointed that their fans acted the way they did towards us but it was a local derby so in future, I will not have as high expectations but we were annoying there fans as well so I don't really blame them for acting how they were against us.

Rating:
Stadium: 7/10
Bar: 6/10
Food and Drink: 8/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Friendliness: 4/10
Experience As An Away Fan: 4/10
Average Rating: 6.167/10