Monday, 23 October 2017

Raynes Park Vale F.C. - Grand Drive

Raynes Park Vale F.C.
Raynes Park Vale F.C.
Grand Drive Stadium
Grand Drive
Raynes Park
London
SW20 9DZ

Official Website:

Ground Number: 56
Date: Tuesday 17th October 2017
Score: Raynes Park Vale F.C. 0-6 Worcester Park F.C.
Competition: Combined Counties Division One Cup
Attendance: approx. 40

Raynes Park Vale, a team that is around 15 minutes from my house and yet a team I have only been to twice. I first went there in April 2015 to watch Guildford City win 1-0 and then later on in April 2015, I watched Molesey F.C. beat Raynes Park 2-0 and Molesey were crowned champions of the Combined Counties Premier. I have never really liked going to Grand Drive because the attendance is rarely over 100, there is nothing much of an atmosphere and the stadium is one of the worst I have ever been to but none the less, I needed to re-visit Grand Drive as I needed to do my blog on my trip there.

For the past few months, I have been trying to find a Tuesday night when Raynes Park are home so I can finally go back there to do my blog. A few weeks ago, my friend Jason who went with me to Chipstead, Wrexham and a few other games said that he was going to watch Raynes Park Vale on a Tuesday night in two weeks and asked if we wanted to come and seeing as Sutton weren't playing and I needed to re-visit the ground, we said "we would love to come along".
There wasn't really any build up to the game during the week before as I was concentrating on college and I had Paulton Rovers away on Saturday which you can read about in my previous blog post. I said to Tony who is a fellow Sutton supporter, that we are going to Raynes Park Vale on Tuesday night and we asked if he wanted to come along and he said that he hadn't been to Raynes Park Vale before so he said "yes I'd love to come along".
By the time Tuesday had arrived, I was feeling a little bit of excitement that I could finally tick off Grand Drive for a re-visit and for another ground I needed to write about. I woke up on Tuesday morning at 7:30am and got dressed, had a wash then went downstairs for breakfast. I then spent some time doing coursework before setting off for college at 12pm. I arrived at college at 1pm and college was quite chilled this afternoon as we only had two lessons and they were both for typing up coursework.
I finished college at 4:30pm which was a bit early and seeing as my dad was picking me up from college and he wasn't here yet, I went into the Starbucks in my college and got a chocolate frappuccino and then walked to the car park as my dad was waiting there. We then went to McDonalds for dinner and weirdly I wasn't very hungry but that was probably because I just had a frappuccino but I got a quarter pounder meal. I also had a chance to look at the history of Raynes Park Vale whilst I was in McDonalds.
Raynes Park Vale were founded in 1995 and they were formed via the merger of Raynes Park FC and Malden Vale FC. The club currently play their home games at Grand Drive which is located in Prince George's Playing Fields in Raynes Park and they currently play in the Combined Counties Division One. The club joined the Combined Counties League and have stayed there ever since and in their 22 year history. The club reached the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round in 2014/15 season and reached the FA Vase First Round in the 2007/08 season. At the end of the 2016/17 season, they were relegated from the Combined Counties Premier to the Combined Counties Division One.
We finished our McDonalds at 5:30pm and seeing as we weren't picking Tony up until 6:20pm, we decided to go back to my dad's house for 20 minutes to let our dinner go down. We went back to my dad's and watched a bit of Pointless and Eggheads and by the time that had finished, it was nearly 6:15pm so we left my dad's and the drove round the corner to pick up Tony who was already waiting outside for us. We then drove to Grand Drive and it only took around 10 minutes as it is only just up the road from my dad's house.
We parked in a side road near the ground and then walked to the ground. We arrived at Grand Drive at 6:40pm and we went straight inside the bar as it was cold outside. The bar itself is quite large but has basic facilities such as a TV, pool table, toilet facilities and the main bar area where you can buy food and drink. We each got a drink inside the bar and I decided to go for a coke seeing as they didn't have any coke zero, my dad got a coffee and Tony got a glass of blackcurrant juice. After finishing our drinks, we went outside and after waiting for a few minutes, Jason arrived and when the turnstile opened, we paid to get in and it only cost £3 for me and the match day programme was free. We then walked round the ground to take some pictures.
Grand Drive is a very simple and small ground and only has a capacity of 1,500. There is a small stand alongside the pitch and it has wooden benches inside and can hold around 150 people. Behind one of the goals is a very small covered terrace which can hold around 20 people and behind the other goal is a tiny wooden shelter which was built for the ball boys. The rest of the ground is open with no cover.
After walking round the ground to take some pictures, Jason gave me a Chipstead FC programme from their previous home game as my blog on my trip there was put in their programme and Jason was able to get the club to save me a copy. The teams then came out and I took some pictures of the teams to add to my groundhopping photo collection. The first half started and I was thinking to myself that this level of football compared to what I am used to is not the best and I would hate my team (Sutton United) to be playing at this level.
We got speaking to some other Sutton fans that were at the game tonight and the famous Geoff Martin was here and he was the person who wrote the Sutton song 'Back On The Shoebox Terrace Again' which was released on iTunes and has over 3,000 views on YouTube. After getting slightly distracted by talking to Jeff, Worcester Park took the lead and there was a small cheer from ourselves as we were supporting Worcester Park tonight. Raynes Park Vale were not creating many chances and they were not playing very good football. Worcester Park were awarded a penalty just before half time and they scored and it was 2-0 to Worcester Park at half time.
We went inside the bar and to only find out they had no food available apart from a packet of crisps but they had hot chocolate which was something. The last time I was here, I did have a bacon roll and it was quite nice so if you manage to come on a day when there is hot food, them I would get a bacon roll but I would bring your own food with you. The hot chocolate tasted horrible and it tasted really weak and I only ended up having 2 sips before throwing it away. My dad managed to get two small chocolate bars from the bar as well and my one was melted, so the food and drink is very bad at Grand Drive!
We then headed back outside to find that the second half had already started but the score was still 2-0 so we didn't miss anything. We walked round to the other goal and a few minutes after going behind the goal, Worcester Park made it 3-0 and by this time, Worcester Park had killed the game off because Raynes Park Vale didn't even look like scoring. Worcester Park then got two quick goals and with around 10 minutes of the game left, it was 5-0 to Worcester Park and they managed to get another goal before the end of the game and it finished Raynes Park Vale 0-6 Worcester Park.
We walked back to the car feeling happy that I had re-visited Raynes Park so I could do this blog and I am happy that I will not have to go back there for another few years because it is a very bad ground and the overall experience is very average. My dad dropped me off home and then I went straight to bed. I wouldn't recommend going to Raynes Park unless you live in the local area or unless it is a ground you really need to tick off.
Rating:
Stadium: 4/10
Bar: 6/10
Food and Drink: 3/10
Atmosphere: 4/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Overall Rating: 5.2/10

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