Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Chessington and Hook United F.C. - Chalky Lane

Chessington and Hook United F.C.
Chessington and Hook United F.C.
Chalky Lane Stadium
Chalky Lane
Chessington
London
KT9 2NF

Official Website:


Ground Number: 35
Date: Saturday 2nd May 2015
Score: Chessington and Hook United F.C. 5-3 Alton Town F.C.
Competition: Combined Counties Division One
Attendance: 387

So the end of the season had sadly arrived for most leagues but there will always be a few fixtures left at the start of May and me being a groundhopper made me eager to try and get in one more ground for this season and being a groundhopper always gives you that extra motivation that you need to be able to do what you can to go to as many grounds and games as you can in one season. After looking in the Non-League Paper for around 15 minutes, I finally found a fixture that would be good to end the season and the fixture in question was Chessington and Hook United v Alton Town in the Combined Counties Division One which is the 10th tier of English football.
To be honest, I am quite thrilled to be able to put this season at rest because Sutton have not had the best season as they finished 15th in the Conference South after finishing 2nd in the Conference South the season before (2013/14) and losing in the play-off semi-final to Dover. QPR has also had a really bad season as they were relegated from Premier League and will be playing in the Championship next season. So overall my teams this season have not been very good but one of the challenges of being a loyal football fan is you go through good and bad times and this season just seemed bad for both teams but there are many positives to look on this season such as the games we won and avoiding relegation to the Ryman Premier which was not the club`s aim at the start of the season but in all honesty, things could have been much worse for Sutton this season.
So it was now the day before the game between Chessington and Hook v Alton Town and all I had planned was to play some football manager and to do a little bit of coursework, but before I did any of this, I looked into the history of Chessington and Hook United F.C. so I have a better understanding of the club before I went to the game.
Chessington and Hook United F.C. were formed in 1921. The club`s nickname is `The Blues` and `Chessy`. The club currently play their home games at Chalky Lane which has a capacity of 3,000 and there are 167 seats. As of the 2016/17 season, Chessington and Hook United F.C. currently play in the Combined Counties Division One which is the 10th tier of English football. The club started out in the Division Four of the Kingston and District League back in 1921. In 1971, the club changed its name to Chessington United and moved to the Surrey Senior League and in 1978, the club koved into the Home Counties League and then they joined the Combined Counties League in 1979. In 1986, Chessington United merged with Hook Youth/United and Chessington United was renamed Chessington and Hook United F.C. In the last 5 or so years, Chessington and Hook have been promoted to the Combined Counties Premier and relegated to the Combined Counties Division One a number of times.
I woke up the next morning feeling very happy because today was the day I am visiting Chessington and Hook United which is a team that I have been trying to go and groundhop to for a couple of months now and today is the day when I can finally tick off Chalky Lane and Chessington and Hook United off my list of local teams that I have been to.

to. I went downastairs and had breakfast then I had a bath and then played some football manager until my dad arrived at my house at 1pm. At 1:30pm we left my house and drove up the A3 to Chessington and then drove another 5 minutes to the ground which is down a small side road next to Chessington World of Adventures. The car park was fairly busy but we managed to find a parking space and then we went to the turnstiles and paid to get and in we also got a programme at the same time as they were selling them. I then walked around Chalky Lane to take some pictures for this blog.
Chalky Lane is a really basic stadium but is a good ground for the 10th tier of English football. The main area of the ground is on the far corner of the ground which is where the clubhouse and tea hut is located. Behind one of the goals is a wooden covered terrace which has a banner on the back saying "Chalky Lane, Home of Chessington and Hook United Football Club". Behind the other goal is just a pitch side fence and no form of terracing, just a pathway. On one of the sides of the pitch is a small seated stand which holds 167 seats. Opposite this stand is the dugouts and this side of the stadium also has no cover. The stadium has a capacity of 3,000 which for the 10th tier is pretty average.
After walking around the ground to take some pictures I went to the seated stand until kick off and I watched the first half from the seated stand and the seated stand gives you a great view of the game even though the stand is quite small. There was plenty of excitement in the first half as there were many goals from both sides. At half time I went round to the tea hut and got a cheeseburger and a drink and the cheeseburger was really tasty. The burger was also quite large and the cheese had been melted onto the burger which gave the burger a better taste.
For the second half I decided to stand behind the goal that Chessington and Hook were kicking towards which wad towards the covered terrace and the terrace is quite tall and wide in terms of size and from this side of the pitch, you get a good view of the game and the second half was not to be boring as there were more goals and Chessington got another goal via a penalty near the end of the game to make it 5-2 but Alton got another goal back and made it 5-3 and Chessington win promotion to the Combined Counties Premier which made the visit to Chalky Lane even more special and more memorable. I would definitely recommend going to Chalky Lane because it is a decent size stadium for county level and it is really friendly.
Rating:
Stadium: 5/10
Bar: 6/10
Food and Drink: 8/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 6.8//10

Friday, 23 December 2016

Boreham Wood F.C. - Meadow Park

Boreham Wood F.C.

Boreham Wood F.C.
Meadow Park Stadium
Broughinge Road
Borehamwood
Hertfordshire
WD6 5AL

Official Website:


Ground Number: 34
Date: Tuesday 22nd November 2016
Score: Boreham Wood F.C. 1-0 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: Vanarama National League Premier
Attendance: 371

There are many things that a football fan will experience in their time of watching football from things such as a scrappy 1-0 away defeat in mid-week, experiencing rudeness from stewards, singing in the high street on the way back to the station and having your train cancelled and having to wait until nearly 11pm to get onto a train back home and having to get the tube to your nearest station to try and find a way home and getting home at after midnight. Funnily enough this all happened in one night for me and the rest of the Sutton fans travelling to Boreham Wood.
After being a Sutton fan for over 3 years, I have not been to many mid-week away games mainly due to them being quite far away and going far on a Tuesday night isn't very popular with my parents so whenever Sutton are playing away in mid-week, I tend to groundhop but this Tuesday, Sutton were playing away to Boreham Wood and they are one of the more local teams in the league and my dad was not working on Tuesday and Wednesday so we decided that we would go to this game. Visiting Boreham Wood will also allow me to visit another team/stadium within the M25.
So I woke up this morning and as soon as I lifted my head off my pillow, I thought to myself "this is going to be a long day". I was really excited for tonight's game but as it is Tuesday, I had to go to college first which was not too bad today as I am only in college between 9am and 12:30pm on a Tuesday. Once I finished college I got the bus back to my house which takes around an hour as I go to college in Epsom and I live in Colliers Wood.
Once I got home from college at around 1:45pm, I went and got changed and sorted out my small flag that I am taking to the game and sorted out myself by having a quick wash. At around 2pm my dad arrived at my house and we got in the car and went back to his house so he could get changed as he had just finished work. As I had a spare 10 minutes or so at my dads, I decided to go online and look at what Boreham Wood is like as a place and look at their team and the club`s history so I had a better idea of what to expect.

Boreham Wood F.C. were founded in 1948 and they were formed by the merger of Boreham Rovers and Royal Retournez. Boreham Wood started playing in the Mid-Herts League and in 1951 the club joined the Parthenon League. Then the club joined the Spartan League and then they joined the Athenian League. Then in 1974 the club joined the Isthmian League. Then in the early 2000`s the club was transferred to the Southern League. Then in 2010 the club won promotion to the Conference South and in the 2014/15 season they went up to the National League via the play-offs and they currently still play in the National League. The club has a strong rivalry with St Albans City F.C. and Hemel Hempstead F.C. Boreham Wood F.C. currently play at Meadow Park which has a capacity of 4,500 and there are 1,700 seats. The clubs nickname is `The Wood`. Boreham Wood F.C. ground share Meadow Park with Arsenal Ladies and Arsenal youth teams and because of this, Boreham Wood F.C. have a strong partnership with Arsenal.

We was planning on meeting our friend Tony who also a Sutton fan at Sutton Station as we were planning to get the train with him to Elstree and Borehamwood and then go to the ground together but when we left my dad`s house, we passed Tony at the bus stop around the corner so we picked him up and drove to Angel Hill and go the 280 to Sutton Station. We got to the station at around 4pm and we got on the Thameslink train which would take us straight to Elstree and Borehamwood at around 4:20pm. On the train we had a chat about the game tonight and what we had gotten up to recently. The train was not very busy but when we got into Central London the train got a bit more busy. I was really tired when we finally arrived at Elstree and Borehamwood at around 5:15pm and I was so tired that I didn't even notice that we were at the station.
Once we got off the train we walked down Borehamwood high street which felt very friendly and was a very nice high street and a couple of the locals said "hello" to us and we felt very welcome. We decided that we were going to have KFC for dinner and just before we went in KFC, a couple of people said to us "you`re gonna lose tonight" and we just ignored them because there was a high chance that they were not true Boreham Wood fans and they were probably not Boreham Wood fans when Boreham Wood played in the 8th tier. In KFC I got a boneless banquet and we finished our dinner at around 5:35pm.
We then headed for the stadium and during the 10 minute walk we passed a couple of other Sutton fans and whilst we walked past the stadium towards the entrance I took some pictures of the stadium. Once we arrived at the stadium, we purchased a programme and then went in the bar and a couple of the Boreham Wood F.C. fans said "hello" and asked about our season etc. and we felt very welcome in the bar. There was a pool table in the bar so me and my dad had a couple of games and me being me, I lost both games.
We then headed out to the stadium at 6:20pm and we went straight in and I put my flag up on the seated stand to take some pictures of it and then we walked around the ground to get some more pictures. Meadow Park is a really nice stadium. The ground has a capacity of 4,500 and there are 1,700 seats. The best part of the stadium is the West Stand which was opened in July 2014. This great looking stand, has a capacity of 1,200 seats and is covered. It is quite steep, meaning that fans are kept close to the playing action. There is a 'plinth' area above the stand which is used as a television gantry, which gives the stand an interesting look.
Opposite is the Main Stand, which again is a modern looking all seated stand, that has a capacity of 500 and is covered. It runs for around half the length of the pitch and sits astride the half way line. Like the new West Stand it is free on any supporting pillars, giving a good view of the playing action. The team dugouts are situated in front of this stand. Both ends have portions of open terrace and flat standing areas. In the South East corner of the stadium there is a rather tall and ugly looking mobile telephone mast, but it has been put to good use, serving also as one of the four floodlight pylons. Meadow Park is also used by Arsenal Ladies FC for their home games as well as Watford FC reserves. (Description of Meadow Park is sourced from Football Ground Guide).
I then headed to the burger van to get a cheeseburger and whilst I was getting my burger, my mates Johnnie, Owen and Ryan were just coming into the ground and we had a chat and then started a couple of chants as we were a bit bored and then we headed around the other goal as we were kicking that way and once behind the goal we then put our flags up.it  The cheeseburger was not the best but it tasted okay and I would recommend buying one but like I said they are not the best. Sutton had a good few chances in the first half but Boreham Wood looked a stronger side and it clearly showed as they went 1-0 up.
Me and the rest of the Amber Alliance who had turned up tonight were chanting for the whole first half. During the first half, the steward to take down Johnnie`s flag as it was covering advertisement which is something we can understand as people pay to advertise their company but the steward was really rude about it as he just ripped the flag off the barrier and he didn't even ask Johnnie to take it down himself and luckily enough the steward did not rip the flag material.
Me and the rest of the Amber Alliance who had turned up tonight were chanting for the whole first half. During the first half, the steward to take down Johnnie`s flag as it was covering advertisement which is something we can understand as people pay to advertise their company but the steward was really rude about it as he just ripped the flag off the barrier and he didn't even ask Johnnie to take it down himself and luckily enough the steward did not rip the flag material.
The funny thing is we had flags clipped on the fence behind where we were standing which were covering advertisement but the steward did not moan about that but then in the 2nd half he moaned about it so really Boreham Wood F.C. need to sort out their stewards as they clearly do not know what they are enforcing. The 2nd half was not any better for Sutton but they just could not seem to get the ball in the back of the net and in the last minute, Sutton goalkeeper Ross Worner went for a bicycle kick and the bicycle kick was successful on target but the Boreham Wood goalkeeper saved the shot and the full time whistle was blown and we lost 1-0.
When we was walking back to the station, me and the other members of the Amber Alliance were chanting our Sutton songs to make the most of the night and to show our support for our team and when we got to the station we was in for a massive shock. When I walked into the station there were around 30 Sutton fans just crowding the ticket hall and I thought it was a queue for the ticket barrier but we looked at the information board and all trains to Sutton and that area had been delayed until around 11pm or cancelled. We were all really annoyed as we just wanted to get home and all of the Sutton fans went out onto the platform and waited and we were all thinking of ways to get home and we were chanting things in the station to keep us busy but even though we lost the game and our trains were really messed up, we were all having a good old laugh.
A train did finally arrive at around 10:45pm and as soon as got on the train, we did a few Sutton songs but then sat down for the rest of the journey. We decided to get off at Kings Cross St Pancras as we could get the tube back to Morden and then get the bus back to the car. We got off the train at around 11:20pm and did some more chanting before we got on the Victoria Line down to Stockwell and then got on the Northern Line down to Morden and we got back to Morden at 12am. We then got on the 164 to where the car is parked. We got back to my dads at 12:30am feeling very tired. 
Rating:
Stadium: 7/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 7/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Friendliness: 7/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Overall Rating: 6.8/10

Sunday, 20 November 2016

York City F.C. - Bootham Crescent

York City F.C.
York City F.C.
Bootham Crescent Stadium
Grosvenor Road
York
Yorkshire
YO30 7AQ

Official Website:


Ground Number: 33
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016
Score: York City F.C. 2-2 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: Vanarama National League Premier
Attendance: 2,037

So once again Sutton have an away game and I have only just started to freshen up from our long away trip to Southport last week and this weekend I will be going even more north than Southport as this weekend Sutton are playing away to York City and I was really looking forward to this game.
As York City were relegated last season from the football league, we made this fixture a priority because it would allow us to go to another city up north, visit another ex-football league stadium and will allow us to get another away game under our belt and it was also important that we go this game because it means that we do not have to come all this way to groundhop to York in the future for groundhopping.
So I was really excited for this game because I will be going more north than I have ever been before and the furthest north I had previously been is Southport which is where I went last week. So it was a couple of days before the game and me and my dad went online and booked the train tickets and we was going to get the train from Kings Cross straight to York. It was kind of weird booking the train tickets only a few days before the game because we normally book train tickets for away games weeks and possibly months in advance but this time, we left it to the last few days. After booking the train tickets, I looked into the history of York City FC as I don't know a lot about them.
York City were originally founded in 1908 as an amateur side but the club we reformed in 1922 as a professional side. The clubs nickname is the Minstermen due to the Minster cathedral in York. The club play in the colours of blue and red and they play their home games at Bootham Crescent which has a capacity of 8,256 and there are 3,409 seats. In the 2003/04 season the club was relegated to the Conference Premier and they played in the Conference Premier until the 2011/12 season which was the season when they were promoted back to the football league. The club remained in the football league for the 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and the 2015/16 season but they were relegated at the end of the 2015/16 season and now they play in the Vanarama National League Premier. York were in the football league from 1946-2004.
The day of the game finally arrived and I woke up nice and early at 5:30am and quickly got dressed and brushed my teeth and we was in the car and on our way to South Wimbledon tube station at 5:50am. We got to South Wimbledon at 6am and we got on the tube up to Kings Cross St Pancras feeling very tired but we got to Kings Cross at 7am. We then collected our train tickets from the machines in the station and we then went and had a McDonalds breakfast. We finished our breakfast and walked back to the station and the platform that our train was at was announced at 9:15am and we got on the train and found our reserved seats and I plugged my phone in as it needed charging then I put my headphones in and listened to music for most of the journey.
We finally pulled away from Kings Cross at 9:29am. Around half way through the journey we decided to get up and walk down to the buffet car and get something to drink and me being me decided to get a bottle of coke. By this time I was feeling fully awake and not long after this the train started slowing down and we finally arrived in the beautiful city of York at 11:34am. York train station is one of the most beautiful stations that I have ever been to and the roof and architecture of the station is something that anyone should be able to witness. Like many of the people going to York we followed the crowd which was towards the Minster and we got a few photos of the beautiful cathedral and the surrounding areas and started walking to the ground. We did get a bit lost and walked down a wrong side road and we asked for directions and 10 minutes later we found ourselves at the wonderful Bootham Crescent.
As we got to the ground early we decided to go in a free house pub right next to the ground and we had to pay £1 to get in and we got some drinks but me being 16 still but nearly 17 meant I had to deal with a J20. We sat in the pub for around an hour and had a friendly talk with the York fans and at around 1:30 we headed into the away fans bar inside the ground and we saw that Paul Doswell (Sutton manager) was there and we said "hello" and sat down in there for 5 minutes. We then went back outside and waited for the turnstiles to open and the turnstiles finally opened at just before 2pm. I paid £12 as I am classed as a student as I am at college and my dad paid £18 as he is an adult. We then walked into the ground and took some pictures.
Bootham Crescent has a capacity of 8,256 and there are 3,409 seats. Bootham Crescent hasn't seen any major investment for a number of years now, which has resulted in it looking a little tired in places. However it does have character, something that a lot of newer stadiums lack. On one side of the ground is the York Pullman Main Stand. As you would expect it is the tallest stand at the ground, but only runs for around two thirds of the length of the pitch, with open corners to either side (one of which houses the supporters club). It is a covered all seated stand and to the rear it has windshields to either side. It also has a number of supporting pillars running across the middle. 
Opposite is the Benenden Popular Stand. This is a simple affair, being small and covered. It too has a number of supporting pillars this time running across the front. On its roof is a rather basic looking television gantry. At one end is the David Longhurst Stand, which is a fair sized covered terrace, which has a row of supporting pillars across its front. Opposite is the open terraced Prostate Cancer UK Stand, reserved for away supporters. The ground is completed with a set four modern looking floodlight pylons. (Description of Bootham Crescent is sourced from Football Ground Guide).
After taking some pictures of the ground I put up my two flags and seeing as we had a small section of the ground I was limited to where I could put my 18ft flag so I put both of my flags over a metal support bar that people lean on and the flag looked really good. 10 minutes later my mates Johnnie, Theo, David and Gabriel arrived and they also put their flags up. Then I went to the tea bar and got a bottle of coke. Then the teams come out and the York fans had some large hand waving flags which looked really good.
During the game Sutton were chanting for the whole 90 minutes and an amazing 138 fans had travelled from South London to York. Sutton were creating the better chances and were awarded a penalty and Jamie Collins stepped up and put Sutton 1-0 up. Then a few minutes later Sutton full-back George McLennan gave the ball away and York equalised and at half time it was 1-1. Then during half time I got a cheeseburger which was not the best but was better than the pie I had at Southport last week.
After I had finished my pie, the Sutton fans were singing don't look back in anger and a bit of oasis which was one of the highlights of the day. The second half started and York were dominating and then out of nowhere in the second half York took the lead from long distance and then with only minutes to go it looked like it was gonna be our lucky day as Ross Stearn was tripped inside the box and Sutton were given another penalty and Jamie Collins stepped up again and with minutes to go Sutton made it 2-2 and the full time whistle went and it finished York City 2-2 Sutton United.
Whilst walking back to the station we had a chat with 2 of the York fans and they were very friendly and we wished each other the best for the rest of the season. When we got back to the station the Sutton squad were there are most of them said `hi` to us but they was not on the same carriage as us. We got on the train that would take us back to London at 5:52pm and we left York at 5:59pm. Like the journey to York I listened to music and charged my phone and we finally got back to London Kings Cross at 7:54pm and we got the Victoria Line from Kings Cross to Stockwell and then got the Northern Line back to South Wimbledon and we finally got back to the car at 8:41pm. After getting back we went straight to bed and slept the good day away.



Rating:
Stadium: 8/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 7/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Friendliness: 10/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.8/10