Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Hendon F.C. - Earlsmead Stadium

Hendon F.C.

Hendon F.C.
Earlsmead Stadium
Carlyon Avenue

Ground Number: 28
Date: Sunday 17th May 2015
Score: Hendon F.C. 0-1 Margate F.C.
Competition: Ryman Premier Play Off Final
Attendance: 1,228

So it was the end of a very long season as a Sutton fan as we had the worst season that I have ever experienced as we finished 15th in the National League South which was annoying because we finished 2nd last season but this season we had a good squad but it just did not work well as a whole and we found ourselves in terrible form for most of the season. I thought the season was over but I suddenly remembered that the season was not over yet because the play off finals for all the leagues had not been played yet and seeing as Sutton did not even make the play-offs this season I decided that I would try and groundhop to a local play-off final to round off this terrible season.
The end of the season is normally a time of year when any football fan no matter whether you won the league, finished mid table, avoided relegation or got relegated is a time when you look back on the positives and the things that your team have achieved this season but for me as a Sutton fan I felt like we had not really achieved anything except for avoiding relegation to the Ryman Premier and keeping our place in the Conference South which is a positive.
So it was 3 days before most of the play off finals in non-league were due to be played and I was really desperate to get in one more game this season so I went on my groundhopping app and looked at the fixtures for all of the play off finals and I saw that Hendon were playing at home to Margate in the Ryman Premier Play Off Final and seeing as the winner of this game would go into Sutton`s league this game seemed the ideal game for me to go to. This would also allow me to get another London football team and another football ground within the M25 under my belt as one of my goals is to visit all of the stadiums within the M25.
So it was the night before the play off final between Hendon and Margate and I was so excited that I started a season on football manager in charge of Hendon and I managed to get them to the FA Trophy quarter final, the FA Cup 2nd Round and go up in the play offs by beating Maidstone which for a nights work was not too bad. It was about 1am in the morning when I finally finished the season on football manager and before I went to sleep I looked into the history of Hendon F.C. so I know a bit more about the club.
Hendon F.C. were founded in 1908 but back in 1908 the clubs name was Christ Church Hampstead F.C. At the start of the 1909/10 season the club changed its name to Hampstead Town F.C. In 1926 the club changed its name again to Hampstead F.C. and in 1933 it became Golders Green F.C. The clubs nickname is `The Greens` and `The Dons`. The club play in the colours of green and black. Hendon F.C have played at a few stadiums for their home games in the past and at the time of this game they were groundsharing with local rivals Harrow Borough F.C. at the Earlsmead Stadium which has a capacity of 3,070. Hendon were groundsharing the Earlsmead Stadium with Harrow for the 2013/14, 2014/15 and the 2015/16 season and at the start of the 2016/17 season they moved into their new Silver Jubilee Park Stadium and is a stadium that I am hoping to visit in the next 2/3 years. The club currently play in the Ryman Premier which is one promotion away from the Conference South. The club have won the FA Amateur Cup 3 times in their history and the seasons that they won the cup was in the 1959/60, 1964/65 and the 1971/72 season. The club won the Athenian League in the 1952/53 season and joined the Ryman League in 1963. The club was reprieved from the Conference in the 2005/06 season when Canvey Island resigned but now Hendon find themselves in the Ryman Premier.
After a good nights sleep the day of the Ryman Premier Play-Off Final had finally arrived and when I woke up I was not really energetic for some reason but after having a shower and some breakfast I felt a bit more excited and felt a bit more energetic. The plan for today was to keep myself busy until around 11:30am until my dad got to my house then we would drive up to Harrow via Heathrow Airport and hopefully get to the ground for around 1:30pm.
After having a shower and some breakfast I went on my laptop and played some football manager to keep myself occupied until my dad got here. I then edited some YouTube videos that I needed to edit and upload and this took me to around 11am. My dad arrived shortly after and I made him a cup of tea and started to get ready for the game. My dad shouted "come on then lets go" and I rushed down the stairs as I was eager to leave. We then got into the car and left my house at 11:53am. We drove up the A3 and some other roads which took us to Heathrow Airport. We then joined the M4 and then exited and joined the A312 which took us to Northolt.
We then followed the signs to Harrow. When we finally arrived in Harrow we started to look for the floodlights of the Earlsmead Stadium to tell us whereabouts the stadium was but we could not see any so I went on Google Maps and found out that we were only 5 minutes away and we followed the suggested route on Google Maps and got to the estate where the stadium is at 1:03pm. We then parked the car around 5 minutes away and walked to the ground to see that the stadium was not very busy but only because we are 2 hours early. We then went into the ground and bought a programme.
The Earlsmead Stadium is a really nice stadium and has a lot of character. It has a capacity of 3,070 and is a stadium that is at a really good level for the Ryman Premier and would definitely fit in the Conference South. The main turnstiles are located opposite the main side of the stadium. The main stand holds around 200-250 seats in red and is a really nice stand especially for this level and on the roof facing the other side of the stadium there is a sign with the text "Harrow Borough F.C. Then beside the main stand is two covered terraces which really fit in next to the main stand. Then opposite this side of the stadium is a covered terrace which can hold around 600. Then behind one of the goals is an uncovered terrace which behind this is the stadium car park. Then behind the other goal is another uncovered terrace and behind it is what I believe to be the bar and the clubhouse. I really like the Earlsmead Stadium because it has a lot of character and you do not see a lot of these kind of stadiums anymore.
The excitement grew in my body as the game neared to kick off and as the teams came out the stadium roared with clapping and shouting from all of the fans inside the ground which told me that this game is going to be a cracker. As I live in  London I decided to stand with the Hendon fans as they are the London and more local team to me. I was neutral for this game but I was preferring Hendon to go up deep in my heart. The game kicked off and both sets of fans were chanting and to be honest the Hendon Loyal were quite loud but the Margate support was very strong as the have taken around 300 fans today to watch this game and they was very loud and the game was strong with both teams creating many chances.
5 minutes before half-time I went to go and get a cheeseburger and to our surprise Margate took the lead and I only just managed to see the goal. The second half seemed quite daunting for Hendon as the support had seemed to go a bit downhill and Margate`s support had grown louder. Margate had the better chances and could have made it around 4-0 but the full time whistle went and it was Margate`s day to celebrate and all the fans who supported Margate pitch invaded. The Hendon players clapped their fans and we stayed to clap them back and we headed out quite disappointed that Hendon had lost but it was still a great day as I was able to get another ground and London team under my belt. The journey back home was very long as there was quite a lot of traffic in Harrow but we managed to get out of Harrow in 10 minutes and drove back to Heathrow and drove back onto the A3 back to South West London. The journey home was full of football as we talked about the game and our expectations for next season and we finally got home at 6:08pm.

Stadium: 7/10
Bar: 7/10
Food & Drink: 7/10
Atmosphere: 9/10
Friendliness: 8/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.7/10

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