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

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