Monday, 31 July 2017

Wealdstone F.C. - Grosvenor Vale

Wealdstone F.C.

Wealdstone F.C.
Grosvenor Vale Stadium
Grosvenor Vale

Official Website:

Ground Number: 46
Date: Saturday 15th July 2017
Score: Wealdstone F.C. 1-0 Watford U23
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly
Attendance: 310

So the football season had finally returned and I have already been to a 5 games so far as I like to go to a lot of local games in pre-season as it allows me to see what changes have been done to stadiums over the summer and it was coming up to the weekend that Sutton were playing at home to Hemel Hempstead in a pre-season friendly and I didn't really feel like going to the game because I like to groundhop during pre-season and there were a few teams playing at home that I wanted to visit on the same day so I decided that instead of going to watch Sutton vs Hemel Hempstead, I would go to a game to visit a ground that I have never been to before.
After looking on some non league forums and websites, I found a few games that looked quite appealing to go to but there was one game that stood out amongst the fixtures for this weekend and the game was Wealdstone vs Watford U23. The reason why this game stood out for me is because I was unable to go to Wealdstone to watch Sutton in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 season because I was either on holiday or because the game was in mid-week and I wasn't able to go and ever since I have missed the away games against Wealdstone, I have been trying to go to Wealdstone but now I had the opportunity to go as I didn't really fancy going to watch Sutton vs Hemel Hempstead.
Luckily enough, my dad had this weekend off and he liked the idea of going to Wealdstone vs Watford U23 instead of Sutton vs Hemel Hempstead because he has been eager to visit Wealdstone just as much as me. After agreeing to go to Wealdstone on the 15th, we told our friend Tony who is also a Sutton supporter that we would be going to Wealdstone instead of Sutton and he also liked the idea of that so we asked if he wanted to come with us and he said yes.
The week before the game dragged as I was really excited for the game because I have been trying to go to Wealdstone for the past 2/3 years and this weekend, I was finally going to be going to Grosvenor Vale. I spent a lot of time watching highlights of Wealdstone games as I wanted to see the kind of football they play and what to expect from their players. I also went online and looked into their history as I don't know a lot about them.
Wealdstone F.C. were founded in 1899 and they are based in Ruislip which is only a few miles from the small town of Wealdstone. The club play in the colours of blue and white and their nickname is 'The Stones'. They currently play their home games at Grosvenor Vale (located in Ruislip) which has a capacity of 3,200 and there are 709 seats. They currently play in the National League South. In the early years of Wealdstone FC, the club played in the local district leagues. During the 1930's, 1940's, 1950's and 1960's, the club played in the Athenian League. The club then joined the Southern League in 1971 and then in 1979, the club were involved with the founder of the newly formed Alliance Premier League (now the National League). In the 1984/85 season, the club won the FA Trophy after beating Boston United in the final.
Wealdstone had a lot of financial problems during the 1990's and they had to sell their ground and groundshare with other local teams. In 2004, the club were promoted to the Premier Division of the Conference as the Conference North and South were created. In 2006, the club switched to the Southern League Premier and a year later, the club returned to the Isthmian League. In 2008, the club acquired Ruislip Sports and Social Club (Grosvenor Vale) and they invested into the expanding of the stadium so it met the league rules. At the end of the 2013/14 season, the club was promoted to the National League South which is where they currently play.
The day of the game finally arrived and I woke up at 8am feeling quite refreshed as I slept really well as I slept round my dads last night and for some reason, I seem to sleep better when I stay round my dads. After waking up, I had breakfast straight away as my dad had already made some muffins which was handy as I had a appetite when I woke up. After eating a very tasty breakfast, I had a nice refreshing shower which really woke me up and I got dressed into my jeans, polo shirt, Adidas jumper and my Adidas gazelles ready for the big game.
We left my dads house at 9:20am and we drove up the road to pick up Tony who was already waiting outside for us. We then drove up to Heathrow to get the Piccadilly Line up to Ruislip. After getting to Heathrow, we parked up at Hatton Green at 10:10am and then got the bus up to Hatton Cross tube station. I then put £5 on my oyster as I didn't have a lot of money on it. We then got on the tube and then we talked about the game and our expectations of the game. We then changed at Acton Town and got back on the Piccadilly Line but on the branch up to Uxbridge via Ruislip. Whilst on the tube, we realised that we were quite early so we decided to go three stops up the line to Uxbridge to get some lunch.
We arrived into Uxbridge at 11:30am after a rather long trip on the tube from Hatton Cross. Whilst we was in Uxbridge, we went into the shopping centre quickly to go to the toilet and then had a look in Cex for some DVD's that I was looking to buy. Unfortunately they didn't have any of the DVD's I was looking for so we went back to Uxbridge tube station and we remembered that last time we went to Uxbridge, there was a little café by the station so we walked up to the tube station and the café was still there. I decided to get a bacon sandwich and a strawberry milkshake as it is my normal order when I go to a café.
After finishing our lunch, we got back on the tube and got back on the tube and got back off 3 stops up the line at Ruislip. Once we got off the tube, we walked to ground which is only a 5/10 minute walk away and is quite easy to get to as you don't need to get a bus as the ground is within walking distance of both Ruislip and Ruislip Manor tube stations. We finally got to Grosvenor Vale at 1:40pm and by this time, I was feeling very excited. We then went in the clubhouse for 15 minutes and the clubhouse is really large especially for a club in the National League South. The turnstiles opened at 2pm and we went straight inside. The admission price for me was £2 and we also got a programme for £1 which was very reasonable. After paying to get in, I saw there was a man selling pin badges and as I collect pin badges, I purchased a Walton and Hersham FC and a Banstead Athletic pin badge as they were quite high on pin badges that I needed and it only cost £7 for both of them. I also saw some other pin badges list that I needed but I didn't have a lot of money with me so I just decided to get two. I then walked round the stadium to take some pictures.
Wealdstone’s Grosvenor Vale is a typical non league ground. The ground has a capacity of 3,200 and there are 709 seats. The ground is most notable for a unique feature in British football stadia: A towering concrete gun turret at its North East corner used to protect nearby Northolt Aerodrome from German bombing during World War II. Nowadays, although brightly painted in white & blue like the rest of the stadium, it is slightly overshadowed by the 'Couch Corner’ stand at that end of the ground, which is a section of covered terracing. In 2017 a six row covered seated stand, with a capacity of 360 seats, was put in place at that end next to Crouch Corner, which is the newest addition to the Vale. The stand looks a little odd as although it is level, the pitch in front slopes down from left to right. It also has a temporary roof with a number of supporting pillars running across the front of it, which could impede your view. On one side of this stand is a catering unit.
At the opposite end is the Bulla Stand. This elevated covered terrace, with steel steps, has been added to again during 2014 and is home to the club’s most raucous fans. The original Ruislip Manor buildings are still there, with the Main Stand a low, corrugated-iron structure of six rows of sets and holds 250 white seats. On the opposite side of the ground, a small area of 80-odd seats (with an overhang roof from the Social Club) is flanked by another area of covered terracing (Brian Collins Corner) and a much longer stretch of open terracing that is added to every summer, backed by blue-painted container buildings that house the club’s excellent club shop (the WFC ‘megastore’, which is well worth a visit). (Description of Grosvenor Vale is sourced from Football Ground Guide).
After walking round the ground to take some pictures, we then went to the burger van at the far end of the ground and got a drink and weirdly I didn't fancy a hot chocolate so instead I went for a diet coke. We then went and sat in the new seated stand behind the goal and even though there are supporting pillars, you do get a decent view of the goal and of the pitch. We sat in the stand and watched both teams warm up and the young Watford players didn't seem to be very confident when shooting which is something you wouldn't expect from youth players of a Premier League club.
The teams went in at 2:45pm and I read through the match day programme and then I heard a loud roar as the teams came out. The game finally started and both teams started the game really well, mainly Wealdstone as they were creating a lot of chances and they were lucky to not score because they were showing a lot of confidence and were creating chances but the ball just didn't want to go in the back of the net. Watford also had some chances to score but thankfully, Wealdstone keeper Jonathon North was on hand to keep Watford at bay. With 15 minutes of the first half to go, I went over to the burger van and decided to get a bacon burger, chips and another diet coke and it only cost around £5.50 which was very cheap for a burger, chips and a drink. The burger tasted really nice even though there was only one piece of bacon on the burger. The chips also tasted quite nice and the portions were quite large
By the time I had finished my burger, chips and drink, the first half had finished and it was still 0-0. We then walked round to the Bulla Stand behind the other goal but whilst walking round, I quickly went to the toilet and then got another diet coke from the tea hut near the Bulla Stand for me to have in the second half. The teams came back out and the Wealdstone fans roared to show their support. The second half started and both teams started the second half well as ex-Sutton players Ricky Wellard and Dan Fitchett were showing good chemistry together and were creating a lot of chances but Watford were keeping Wealdstone at bay. Watford themselves had a good few chances to take the lead but Wealdstone managed to control the situation and prevent Watford from scoring. Then with roughly 15 minutes to go, ex-Sutton winger/striker Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick came on and he looked quite confident and he got in a good few crosses and with a few minutes of the game to go, Wealdstone finally scored and the Wealdstone fans went wild and so did I and Shaquille was involved with the build up to the goal which made the goal even more special.
Wealdstone played the rest of the game slowly and stopped Watford from creating anymore chances and the game finished 1-0 to Wealdstone which made me very happy. We then clapped both teams off and then we walked out of the ground feeling very happy because we had watched a really good game of football and we had really enjoyed our afternoon at Grosvenor Vale. We then walked back to Ruislip tube station. We then got on the Metropolitan Line to Rayners Lane and then got back on the Piccadilly Line to Acton Town and then changed trains and got back on the Piccadilly Line down to Hatton Cross. We then got the bus a few stops up the road to Hatton Green and we got back to the car at 6:20pm. We then drove back home and we also dropped Tony off and we got back to my dads house at 7pm. I felt very tired but I had really enjoyed my visit to Wealdstone FC/Grosvenor Vale and I would highly recommend visiting Grosvenor Vale as it is a really nice stadium and it is really friendly.
Stadium: 7/10
Bar: 8/10
Food and Drink: 9/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Overall Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Bedfont and Feltham F.C. - The Orchard

Bedfont and Feltham F.C.

Bedfont and Feltham F.C.
The Orchard Stadium
Hatton Road
TW14 9QT

Ground Number: 45
Date: Saturday 13th May 2017
Score: Redhill FC 2-3 AC London F.C.
Competition: RPM Records Division One Challenge Cup Final
Attendance: 375

It is the time of season when all of the leagues have finished and there are no more league games and the only games that are taking place are cup games such as local cup finals and the play-offs and this is a good time for groundhopping because your team has finished their season and it means you have the time to go and watch cup finals and play offs in other leagues and counties and this means you have the chance to visit grounds that you don't have time to visit when the league season is taking place.
During the week, I was looking on some non league forums and the FA website to see what play-off games and cup games were taking place this weekend and there were a few local games taking place this Saturday but the game that most stood out was Redhill FC vs AC London in the RPM Records Division One Challenge Cup Final which was being held at The Orchard which is the home of Bedfont and Feltham and I have wanted to go to The Orchard for the last two years but I have never found the time to go there but this weekend, me and my dad had nothing planned so we decided that we would go to this game.
The days before the game really dragged as I was at college and I was still doing coursework but there was one good thing about this and that is I wasn't stuck at home bored all day. The last few days of the college week went by and by the time Friday had arrived, I was exhausted because I had worked really hard all week doing coursework so that I wont have to worry about doing coursework this weekend. I got home on Friday evening feeling so exhausted that I nearly fell straight asleep but I had a nice hot chocolate to keep me awake. I then spent the rest of the evening researching into the history of both the teams as I don't know a lot about Redhill FC and so my knowledge of AC London can be strengthened.
Redhill FC were founded in 1894 and they play their home games at Kiln Brow which has a capacity of 2,000 and there are 100 seats. The clubs nickname is 'The Lobsters' and they play in the colours of red and white. Redhill have spent most of their time in the lower leagues of non league in the county leagues and was in the Athenian League. This season (2016/17), Redhill finished 2nd in the Combined Counties Division One and they will be playing in the Combined Counties Premier Division for the 2017/18 season.
AC London F.C. were founded in July 2012 by a 16 year old called Prince Choudary. The clubs full name is Academic Club London FC. The club was originally founded as an amateur youth team but after its first season, the club established a men's first team and a reserve squad and academy for the 2013/14 season.  By June 2015, the FA committee allocated the club to the Kent Invicta League for the 2015/16 season and the club has become the first club to ever become a semi-professional side after three years of being founded. The club were moved to the Combined Counties Division One for the 2016/17 season and they recently started groundsharing the Merland Rise stadium which Banstead Athletic who are the main club who runs and owns the stadium.
The day of the game finally arrived and I woke up at 8am feeling very tired as I didn't sleep very well so instead of going back to bed for an hour, I had a nice warm shower and that worked the trick as I felt much more awake. After having a nice and refreshing shower, I got dressed and then I had breakfast which was a few warm muffins. Today I was going for a casual look which was my Adidas jumper, jeans and my Adidas Gazelles as I like to wear casual clothing when I go groundhopping. By 11:15am, we was ready to leave and we made the hour long journey to Heathrow and we arrived in the Bedfont area at 12:20pm.
After parking the car in a housing estate opposite the stadium, we went and did some plane spotting on Mrytle Avenue as you get some good views of the planes coming into land when they are landing on runway 27L and for me, visiting stadiums near airports is a treat for me as I have two passions which is football and aviation and when I go to grounds near airports, I get to watch planes and watch football. After plane spotting for around an hour, I had gotten some great pictures to add to my collection. We then walked up to Hatton Cross and got the bus up to McDonalds as we was feeling peckish.
Normally when I go to McDonalds, I will get a quarter pounder meal but as they were doing the American burgers, I decided to have the New York Stack and it tasted really nice. I also noticed that my phone was on 20% battery and luckily enough we was sitting by some plugs, and luckily I had my charger on me so I plugged my phone in to get some extra battery. I managed to get my phone up to 45% which wasn't too bad but it would be enough to last the rest of the day.
We then got the bus back to Hatton Cross and then we walked to the ground from there and the ground is roughly a 10 minute walk away from Hatton Cross Tube Station. We got to the ground at 2pm and there were already quite a few people there. I took some pictures of the exterior of the ground and then we paid to get in and we also got a programme. We then walked around the ground to take some pictures.
The Orchard is a fairly open stadium and it is mostly standing. The ground has a capacity of 1,200 and there are around 100 seats. On one side of the ground is a small seated stand located on the halfway lane which has around 60 seats and the seats are in white, yellow and blue to represent the colours that Bedfont and Feltham play in. Then opposite this side of the ground is another small seated stand that is a bit smaller than the other seated stand and it holds around 40 seats. Then on the far end of the ground behind the goal are two small but tall covered terraces that look weird but add a unique feeling to the ground and then behind the other goal is a uncovered terrace and a small covered terrace, clubhouse and tea hut. The stadium is also located right next to Bedfont Sports, the grounds are a 1 minute walk away from each other.
As we were walking around the ground, I started to really like the ground and even though it is one of the smallest grounds that I have ever been to, I really like it because it has a unique feeling to it and you get really good views of the planes coming into land and I even managed to get some pictures of an A380 coming into land. After taking some pictures, we saw the same Sutton fan that was at the AC London game and we had a talk about how our season was and the thoughts on our new summer signings so far. We then went to the tea hut and we got a cheeseburger and a hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was really nice and so was the burger. We then headed to the seated stand to eat our burgers and drink our hot chocolates.
By this time, the game had started and both teams had a few chances to score but both teams didn't take their chances. We then went and stood behind the goal and for today, we were supporting Redhill because I know a couple of their fans. The majority of the first half saw some good football from both sides but it was AC London who took the lead in the 42nd minutes as they slotted the ball past the Redhill keeper to go 1-0 up and the remained 1-0 up at half time. During half time, we went and got another drink and I decided to have a diet coke as it had started to get quite warm.
We then went and stood behind the other goal and the second half started and AC London started the 2nd half very well as they scored again in the 48th minute and this seemed to spark some energy into Redhill as they seemed to start responding to AC London and Redhill were starting to look like they could get back into the game. AC London then scored again but the goal was not given as there was an incident with one of the officials during the build up to the goal. Redhill then took the opportunity to let AC London that they were still in the game and Redhill had another great chance but failed to score.
Redhill did finally get a goal back in the 70th minute via a header and I went wild even though I don't support Redhill but I was supporting them for the game and this was a good enough excuse for me to celebrate them scoring. Then out of the blue, Redhill equalised 2 minutes later via another header and me and my dad went wild because within the space of 2 minutes, Redhill were back on level terms with AC London. Both teams had chances to take the lead for during the last 18 minutes of the game but at full time the game remained 2-2 and the game went into extra time. We then went round to the other goal and AC London scored after 8 minutes of extra time and they went wild. After 15 minutes, the scored remained 3-2 AC London but Redhill were not finished with as they continued to fight for the last 15 minutes but the game finished 3-2 AC London and they had won the RPM Records Division One Challenge Cup.
We headed out of the ground with mixed emotions, we were happy that we had seen a great game of football and that we had been to a ground we have wanted to go to for 2 years but we was unhappy that Redhill didn't win but we had really enjoyed our afternoon at The Orchard. We walked back to the car and then we drove back home to South West London. I got home at 6:30pm feeling quite happy because I had finally visited The Orchard and I had enjoyed my time there and it meant that after 2 years of wanting to go there, I had finally been there and I would definitely recommend going to Bedfont and Feltham as the staff are really friendly and the ground is quite small but unique.
Stadium: 6/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 9/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 10/10
Overall Rating: 7.8/10