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
Woking F.C, a team that I have watched at the Kingfield before but never to watch them play Sutton. The first time I ever went to Woking F.C. was back in October 2013 when I watched Woking play FC Halifax Town and the game ended 0-0. In fact, Woking was one of the first grounds that I ever visited outside of watching Sutton. I then returned to the Kingfield Stadium in March 2014 to watch Sutton play away to Hayes and Yeading back when Hayes and Yeading groundshared with Woking. That game also ended 0-0 and after that game, I made it my mission to go to Woking when Sutton were playing against Woking.
I then groundhopped again to Woking in December 2015 to watch Woking play against Boreham Wood and funnily enough that game also ended 0-0. This means on the three occasions that I have visited the Kingfield, all the games have ended 0-0. When Sutton were finally promoted to the National League in the 2015/16 season, I knew that the 2016/17 season would be the chance for me to finally go and watch Woking v Sutton United at the Kingfield Stadium.
I have liked Woking F.C. for a few years as it is only down the road from where I live and it only takes around an hour to get to the stadium. Woking away was one of the standout fixtures of our season because it is one of the more local games and can be classed as a local derby as both teams used to be in Surrey but Sutton is in London as of 1965.
The build-up to the game was larger than most of the other away games because it is Easter half-term which means I am at home just doing coursework and waiting for the day of the fixture to arrive. The days before the game just seemed to go really slowly and to pass the time, I watched some old highlights of when Sutton had played against Woking. I also looked at the history of Woking F.C. so I could get a better understanding of what they had achieved in the past.
Woking F.C. were formed in 1889 and they play in the colours of red and white. Their nickname is `The Cards` and they play their home games at the Kingfield Stadium in Woking and the stadium has a capacity of 6,036 and there are 2,500 seats. They currently play in the Vanarama National League. In the 1895/96 season, Woking FC joined the West Surrey League. In 1908, Woking played against Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup 1st Round and lost 5-0.
They then joined the Isthmian League in 1911 and they stayed in the top division for 72 years but in the 1982/83 season, they were relegated. The club won the FA Amatuer Cup in the 1957/58 season in front of 71,000 people as they beat Ilford 3-0. At the end of the 1984/85 season, they had plunged to the bottom of the Isthmian Division Two South. They then clinched the title of the Isthmian Division Two South in the 1986/87 season. They were then promoted back to the Isthmian Premier in the 1989/90 season. In the 1990/91 season, Woking reached the FA Cup 4th Round after beating West Brom and in the 4th Round they lost 1-0 away to Everton.
Woking then achieved promotion to the Conference in the 1991/92 season. Woking won the FA Trophy in the 1993/94, 1994/95 and the 1996/97 season. The club stayed in the Conference until the 2008/09 season when they were relegated to the Conference South but a few season later, Woking won the league in the 2011/12 season and were promoted back to the Conference Premier to where they still are to this day (2016/17 season).
The day before the game finally came and the whole day was spent doing coursework and finishing off editing some YouTube videos but the day didn't go as slow as I was expecting but this was mainly due to me being busy for most of the day. I had dinner and then my dad came round to pick me up as I would be sleeping round his tonight. I made sure I had my camera with me and then I went to my dads. I got to my dads at 7:30pm feeling very tired as I had done a lot of video editing and coursework. I went to bed at 9:30pm which is a normal time for me as I rarely stay up late unless I am doing extra video editing or doing long assignmnets for my coursework.
I woke up the next morning feeling both tired and energetic because today was the day that I had been waiting for after months of waiting. I looked at the clock and it said 8:04am and that is a lye in for me for a Saturday because I am normally up at around 5am for away games or usually 9am when I am not going to a football match. I had some breakfast which were some muffins and then I woke myself up by having a warm refreshing shower.
I got out the shower and got dressed and I made sure that I had my flags, and my camera all ready. We set off on the 20 mile journey up to Woking. We left my dads at 10:35am and the roads were very quiet which is partly due to it being a Saturday morning. We drove down the A3 to Woking and talked mostly about our previous visits to the Kingfield Stadium and how boring they were and we were both hoping for a better result than a 0-0 today.
We got into Woking at 11:30am which was a little bit earlier than we was hoping but we had arrived safely which was the main thing. We parked the car in the car park opposite the ground and then we walked 20 minutes up the road to the Crown and Anchor pub which is where we was going to be meeting our friend Jason and his friend who are also both Sutton supporters. We got to the pub at 11:50am which was 10 minutes before the pub opened, so we waited outside and once the pub opened, we purchased a pint of coke for me and my dad purchased a pint of larger. I then quickly went to the toilet and then we played darts and then at 12:15pm, Jason and his friend arrived and by the time they arrived, the Liverpool vs Everton game which was on TV had started so we watched the game on TV whilst playing darts.
We then had a game of snooker and we got so carried away, we had around 8 games to pass the time and we finished our drinks. We then left the Crown and Anchor at 1:40pm feeling very excited for the game. We walked up to the Kingfield Stadium and to our bad luck, it had started to rain but I had a jumper on so it didn't really matter. By the time we had gotten to the Kingfield Stadium, it was 2pm so we decided to go straight inside and it cost £13 for a student which is very expensive especially for the National League. Once we were inside the stadium, we went inside the club shop so I could buy the Woking FC pin badge as I collect pin badges and it cost me £3 which is not too expensive. I then we around the Kingfield Stadium to take some pictures.
The Kingfield Stadium has an impressive and fairly modern looking single tiered stand situated at one end of the ground. This stand, the Leslie Gosden Stand, towers above the rest of the stadium. At the other end is a small covered terrace, called the Kingfield Road End, whilst on one side there is a small open terrace, called the Chris Lane Terrace. This terrace looks a little ugly as it has quite large warehouse type structures, sitting behind it, which comprise the David Lloyd gym and tennis club. On the other side are a couple of small strange looking, covered seated stands, I guess one of which at one time was the Main Stand, as this has the team dugouts located in front. There is a portion of terracing to one side of this and some portacabin offices at the other end. These stands seem quite old and unfortunately they look to have better days. However, one nice feature is the abundance of greenery, with lots of trees surrounding the stadium. (Description of the Kingfield Stadium is sourced from Football Ground Guide).
I really like the Kingfield Stadium because the large Leslie Gosden Stand gives the ground a partly modern feeling to it but the traditional terraces and stands keeps the non league feeling inside the ground. If Woking were to ever get promoted to the football league, then the Kingfield Stadium would fit in quite well with other League Two stadiums. After taking some pictures of the stadium, we went and got something to eat from the burger van and I decided to go for a cheeseburger and a diet coke. The burger tasted really nice and the diet coke was also really nice as it had been refrigerated and had not been left out in the sunshine.
After eating my burger, we went and stood with the other Sutton fans who were standing in the corner of the Kingfield Road End terrace and we had been given soft segregation which meant we could go anywhere in the ground if we wanted to but they insisted that we all stayed together but we could go anywhere in the ground if we wanted to sit in one of the stands or stand in one of the other areas of the stadium. I then clipped my flag up on the back of the Kingfield Road End terrace and by the time I had done this, the teams were coming out and I started the "come on Sutton" chant to get the atmosphere going. Unfortunately for us, Sutton were kicking towards the Leslie Gosden Stand for the first half which meant we had to walk round to the covered terrace alongside the pitch and in the corner nearest to the goal.
There were around a good 60 Sutton fans all standing together and once the game had started, we could see that we wasn't very confident as we were struggling to even pass the ball and this lead to Sutton starting the game badly, so badly in fact that we conceded only 4 minutes into the game and after only 4/5 minutes into the game, we found ourselves chasing the game. Sutton didn't react well after going 1-0 down as we continued to play badly but we were creating the odd chance but we just couldn't find the back of the net with the few chances that we were creating. However, going 1-0 down didn't really affect the atmosphere because we continued to chant throughout the first half to stick with the team and to support the team.
Half time and we were 1-0 down but we felt that we were still in with a chance of getting an equaliser and getting something from the game. We walked back round to the Kingfield Road End and I had a chat with the other Sutton fans about our first half performance and before I knew it, the teams were back out and as soon as the teams were back on the pitch, me and Johnnie started some chants to get the atmosphere going and to tell the players that we are behind them and they are still in the game. It seemed to work as within the first 30 seconds of the second half, we were showing a lot more confidence and we were passing the ball better and after a minute of the first half being played, Sutton had gotten themselves a corner but the Woking goalkeeper caught the cross from the corner. Sutton had a few more chances to equalise but our chances were being deflected into corners but we did finally find the equaliser as the ball was put in the box and Kieron Cadogan shot deflected off the Woking player and went in and all 200 travelling Sutton fans went wild and I started the goal chant by banging on the back of the terrace to the tune that we do when we score a goal.
Sutton then had a few more chances to take the lead but we didn't take our chances and it seemed like in the last 20 minutes, we was hanging on for a draw because we wasn't playing as good as we were at the start of the second half and with only around 15 minutes to go, Woking were awarded a free kicked but Will Puddy was on hand to punch the shot away from goal. Then Sutton's luck was thrown in the bin as Woking striker Gozie Ugwu shot from a tight angle and Woking went 2-1 up with only 7 minutes of the game to go. Sutton then pushed for a late equaliser but failed and Woking had won the game 2-1 and had gotten a vital 3 points to keep the from relegation.
We felt that we had deserved a point after are second half performance but it wasn't to be as Woking needed 3 points to increase their chances of survival in the National League and they had gotten those 3 points. I took my flag down and we headed out of the ground feeling annoyed that we had a bad first half performance and we had conceded with only minutes to go but that's football and as a Sutton fan, I am used to experiencing this. We went back to the car and drove home feeling annoyed that we had lost but happy because we had a good day out in Woking. I would definitely recommend going to the Kingfield Stadium because it is has a mixed feeling of football league and non league and the Kingfield is also quite unique in its own way.