I’m Ryan, an 18 year old who travels to various football grounds around the UK and then writes about his experience on his visit to the game. Target: 100 Grounds - Visited: 82 Grounds | Doing The 92 - Visited: 9 | Every ground within the M25 - Visited: 50
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.
The decision to go to Chertsey Town was made on Boxing Day night and as soon as I got home from Bromley, I looked into the history of Chertsey Town F.C. as I do did not know a lot about them but I knew that they had a really nice ground and were very friendly because I have seen lots of pictures of the ground and I have read a lot of reviews from other people that have been to Alwyns Lane and they said it is a really nice ground.
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 then we left my house at 9am. The original SD card I had 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 I needed a new SD card as I was going to be filming a football video later on that day. We then 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 help Johnnie set up his camera. 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 and it was a ground that I really like because of the character of the ground and the club have kept the ground traditional and have not ruined it by adding any new terracing or seated stands.
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.
By the time I had gone round the ground taking pictures, the teams had started coming out so I quickly walked back round to the main stand as it is where the best place to watch the game in the ground as you are not pitch level and you can see the whole pitch better. Chertsey started the game confidentially and had a few chances to take the lead but narrowly missed the goal but in the space of 10/15 minutes, Chertsey managed to grab two goals and after only around 20 minutes, Chertsey were 2-0 up. This lead didn't last long as Horley got a goal back a few minutes after going 2-0 down and soon after they scored, they got another goal back and at half time, the score was 2-2.
During half time, my dad went in the bar and got me a cheeseburger which was quite small in size but it tasted nice so I suppose the taste kind of levelled out for the size of the burger. I then had a drink and a few snacks from the food and drink that we had taken with us to the game and by the time I had finished my drink, the second half had just started. Horley started the second half well as they had two excellent chances to take the lead but the shots went wide. Horley did eventually take the lead and soon after going 3-2 up, they scored again to make it 4-2 and it looked like Chertsey were out of the game but with a few minutes to go, Chertsey scored a goal from a free-kick via a deflection from a Horley player and the game was 4-3. Neither team had any more chances for the last few minutes and the game finished 4-3 to Horley.
Once the game had finished, we clapped both teams off for an excellent performance and what a game, 7 goals on a cold December morning, well you can't moan at that. We walked back to the car and then we dropped Johnnie off home and then we drove back to South West London feeling very happy that we had finally visited Chertsey Town and we had also seen 7 goals. I would definitely go back to Alywns Lane and I would highly recommend visiting Alwyns Lane.
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 I took some pictures of the ground.
Hayes Lane is an interesting ground that has a mix of old and new. The old look is from the two partly covered stands (to the rear) located at each end of the ground. They both have, by modern standards, a disproportionate amount of supporting pillars running across the front of them. The north end has one row of sturdy crush barriers along its length at the front, whilst the other, the Norman Park End, has surprisingly been fitted out with seats in the central section with benches at each side and to the front. This arrangement seems rather odd. I presume that these were fitted at some point to fulfil some league regulation for the number of seated spectators, as otherwise they don’t really make sense.
On the west side is the more modern looking John Fiorini (Main) Stand. This covered all seated stand doesn’t have any supporting pillars and sits astride the half way line. Opened in 1993, it has a capacity of 285 seats (believed to have come from Wimbledon’s Plough Lane). Opposite this is a reasonable sized open terrace that has two rows of some classic looking crush barriers from end to end, with a newish black wooden fence at the back. Both the north terrace and this stand have fences that can be used when segregation of spectators is in force. Behind the east side terrace is a cricket pitch. I hope that the batsmen can’t hit a ‘six’ that far! The trainers benches are situated on that side, but the dressing rooms are behind the Main Stand. During 2017 the Club installed an artificial 3G playing surface at Hayes Lane. (Description of Hayes Lane is sourced from Football Ground Guide).
Around 5 minutes before kick off, we started to get the atmosphere going by starting some chants and through the first half, both teams (mainly Sutton) had chances to score but we didn't take our chances like usual but this didn't dampen our spirits as we kept our heads high and continued to chant to cheer on the team but it just couldn't edge the team to score and this meant at half time, the game was goalless. I didn't feel to hungry at half time but my dad had got a portion of chips and he offered me a few so I had a couple and they tasted quite nice so I would recommend buying chips if you visit Hayes Lane.
The second half was a 45 minutes I will never forget because most of the Bromley fans were next to us as they were kicking towards us and this meant a lot of their fans were getting cocky towards us but we ignored them and continued to support our team. The second half started and in the first 20 minutes of the second half, both teams had chances but again both teams didn't take those chances. Towards the last 20/25 minutes of the game, Bromley seemed to grow stronger and become more confident as they were creating a lot more chances but by the time the clock had reached the 90th minute, we was hanging on for a point but in the last few seconds of injury time, Bromley scored and it seemed like our luck had run out. The Bromley fans were climbing on the segregation fence and trying to act all hard and big and it was just a total embarrassment because they hadn't ever chanted but now they are giving it all but the game finished 1-0 to Bromley and we can say that we supported our team and created an atmosphere which is a bit more than the Bromley fans can say.
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 5 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 feeling annoyed that we had conceded with literally seconds to go. We dropped my Uncle Ben off and then we drove home and got home at around 6pm. I would recommend going to Bromley if you are going in the home end but if you are going in the away end, the Bromley fans make it intimidating.