Sunday, 26 November 2017

Chesham United F.C. - The Meadow

Chesham United F.C.
Chesham United F.C.
The Meadow Stadium
Amy Lane
Chesham
Buckinghamshire
HP5 1NE

Official Website:

Ground Number: 62
Date: Saturday 25th November 2017
Score: Chesham United F.C. 2-1 Gloucester City A.F.C.
Competition: FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
Attendance: 246

One of the best feelings as a football fan is going to away games and I have been to quite a few Sutton away games this season and I have been to 4 out of our previous 5 away games and this was something I am quite proud of but unfortunately, I wont be able to go to Guiseley away this weekend because we haven't got the funds to go as we are saving up for some big away games in 2018 and this meant only one thing, we would have to groundhop on Saturday.
After beating FC Halifax Town at home on Saturday, we found out that train tickets were too expensive and we couldn't get a place on the coach because we hadn't renewed our supporters club membership as we generally don't use the supporters coach as we like using the trains and seeing as we had some big and expensive away games in 2018, we decided to miss out on going to Guiseley and we decided to look for another game to go to next Saturday.
I spent most of Sunday night on non-league forums and Football Web Pages to look for some possible games that would allow me to go to another new ground and I was spoilt for choice as there was quite a few tasty options such as Chesham United, CB Hounslow (recently moved into their new ground), Ashford Town Middlesex and Welling United and seeing as all of these ground were on my top 25 non-league grounds to visit, I had a hard decision to make so I said that I would make the decision on Wednesday night.
Monday was spent doing coursework and doing some bits and pieces in my room as it needed a clean-up and then back to college on Tuesday which was not as chilled as I was hoping but wasn't too bad as I only had two lessons and then after college, I got the train to my dad's house and then had something to eat and then went to Gander Green Lane for Sutton vs Torquay. It was a bad game for Sutton and finished Sutton 0-1 Torquay United.
After a long day at college on Wednesday, I once again went through the list of games that I could go to on Saturday and I firstly ruled out Ashford Town Middlesex because I wanted to go there when it was a bit warmer, we then ruled out CB Hounslow because we said we would like to visit them during the spring/summer months and that left us with Chesham United and Welling United. I had read some reviews on both Chesham United and Welling and they both seemed very appealing but Chesham seemed to have more traditional non-league ground and if you know me well, I love really traditional non league grounds, so I was favouring Chesham over Welling and decided that I wanted to go to Chesham. I then called my dad to see what he thought about going to Chesham and he said "yes why not", so that was our Saturday afternoon sorted as me and my dad will be going to Chesham United.
I felt like I had made a good choice by choosing to go to Chesham United on Saturday and this put me in a really good mood. Thursday and Friday were good days for me because I was all up to date with all my college work and I didn't have any work that needed doing which meant I was just spending the two days doing a new assignment. I got home on Friday evening at 5:30pm and had dinner then had a nice warm bath and then sat in bed playing some Football Manager 2018 and I also looked through the history of Chesham United before I went to bed.
Chesham United were founded in 1917 via the merger of Chesham Town F.C. and Chesham Generals FC and their nickname is 'The Generals'. They are based in the small town of Chesham in Buckinghamshire and they play their home games at The Meadow which has a capacity of 5,000 and there are 284 seats. The club currently play in the Southern League Premier (England's 7th Tier). The club was formed  The club joined the Spartan League in 1919 and won a few league titles in the 1920's. During WW2, the club played in the Great  Western Combination League and soon after WW2, the club joined the Corinthian League. The club then joined the Athenian League in the 1960's. The club reached the FA Cup 1st Round in the 1966/67 season but ended up losing 6-0 against Enfield.
The following season, they reached the FA Amateur Cup Final but ended up losing 1-0 against Leytonstone. In 1973, the club switched to the Isthmian League and in the 1979/80 season, the club made it to the FA Cup 3rd Round but ended up losing 2-0 against Cambridge. In the 1992/93 season, they were denied promotion to the Conference because their ground didn't meet standards. In the 2005/06 season, they finished bottom of the Southern Premier and they were relegated down to the Southern League South & West. In the 2008/09 season, they got to the play-off final but lost to Nuneaton Town but the following season, they defeated Slough Town in the play-off final and were promoted back to the Southern League Premier which is where they still remain.
I woke up this morning at 7:30am feeling very excited for today’s game between Chesham United and Gloucester City in the FA Trophy. After waking up, I sat in bed to check to see if any of the games had been postponed and conveniently, it had been snowing up North and in Guiseley, so I was quite relieved that we weren't making the trip to Guiseley as it could be called off. I then had a quick shower before having some toast for breakfast.
My dad arrived at my house at 9:35am and I then got my stuff ready for today which was some bottles of water, headphones and some other bits and pieces. We left my house at 10am and walked to the bus stop and got the 200 up to Colliers Wood and I put £10 on my Oyster Card and then got the 57 to Wimbledon. Once we arrived into Wimbledon, I went in Greggs to get some sausage rolls to eat on the way and then quickly went into Argos to buy a new portable charger whilst my dad went to the bank and we then got on the District Line and by 10:15am, we were leaving Wimbledon.
We stayed on the District Line until Edgware Road and then changed to the Hammersmith and City Line and stayed on for one stop and got off at Baker Street. We then changed to the Metropolitan Line and seeing as the next train to Amersham or Chesham wasn’t for another 15 minutes, we got on one going to Watford and then changed at Harrow on the Hill. I was originally planning on going to Amersham before the game for a pint and then get the tube to Chesham but seeing as the next train to Amersham wasn’t for another 20 minutes, we decided to get on a train going straight to Chesham instead.
I have never been on a Metropolitan Line train further than Harrow on the Hill, so it was interesting to finally go to all these new stations as I am quite a big fan of the London Underground. Whilst on the tube, we shared the sausage rolls that I purchased earlier and we talked about the game that was only a few hours away and also about Sutton's long trip up North to Guiseley and we soon found ourselves approaching Chesham at 12:30pm. It felt quite an achievement as I have now been the furthest West and North that the London Underground goes but the downside was it was quite cold but bearable (for now).
I then went on Google Maps and looked for some local pubs to go to for a pint and some lunch and there was a couple of pubs that looked quite good but we chose to go for `The General's Arms` which is only a 2 minute walk away from the tube station. There was a real community spirit in the town and it felt really friendly. Once we arrived at The General's Arms, we saw that the Chester vs Dagenham and Redbridge game was on TV so we got some drinks, I obviously went for a Kopparberg and my dad went for a lager shandy and we then sat down by the TV to watch the game.
We then felt quite a bit peckish and seeing as the pub does food, we asked for a menu and then had a look and they had my favourite which was fish and chips but then my dad pointed out that they had ham, egg and chips and seeing as I haven't had that for a while, I went for that and so did my dad and that cost £13.50 and was a little bit expensive for the portions that we was given but you cant ever beat traditional pub food and watching football!
We then finished our lunch which was very tasty and then watched the second half of Chester vs Dagenham and Redbridge and finished our drinks and it was coming up to 2pm and Dagenham were 2-0 up and we wanted Chester to win but it was getting close to kick off, so we left and used Google Maps to walk 10 minutes to the ground and it didn't even feel like 10 minutes. We then took some pictures of the signs outside the ground and then walked up and paid to get in. Today's admission prices were £10 for my dad and £8 for me (student) and £2.50 for a programme, so £20.50 for entry and a programme which is very reasonable. We then walked round the ground to take some pictures.
The Meadow has a capacity of 5,000 and there are 284 seats and it has the appearance of a typical Southern League ground. The main stand is quite old and looks like it dates back to the 1950's and holds all 284 seats. Opposite the main stand is a covered terrace and many barriers and has a real non-league feeling to it. Behind one of the goals is a covered terrace in which you cannot see the supporting pillars as they are behind the fence and gives the terrace a unique appearance and behind the other goal is a more modern cover terrace and you can see similar examples at Maidstone and Solihull.
I really like The Meadow because it is such a traditional ground and even though there is a modern terrace, it does fit in with the rest of the ground and it doesn't ruin the overall look of the ground and personally is something I look for when I go groundhopping, a traditional ground with character and some good facilities and it seemed like The Meadow was ticking most of the boxes! I also like how there are a lot of barriers around the ground and it gives the ground a traditional look and makes the ground unique as you don't really see these barriers at football grounds in the UK anymore!
After taking some pictures of this really good ground, we then went in the bar because it was freezing outside and you could definitely tell that winter was near and it seemed like most of the people were in the bar and it is a really decent size and can hold around 300 people and there are TV's inside but no dart board or pool tables unfortunately. After being in the bar for around 5 minutes, we went to the club shop which was just a table with some merchandise and we asked if they had any pin badges and luckily they did, so I got a Chesham United pin badge for £3 and will be a good addition to my collection. We also purchased a golden goal ticket which was for the last goal scored in the game for £1 and out ticket was for the 72nd minute which was quite good.
We then went back outside and got something hot to drink as it was very cold and I went for my obvious choice which was hot chocolate and so did my dad and they were only £1 each and a cup of tea is only 60p and it made me feel like I was living before my time in the early 1990's! We both got a chocolate bar as well to during the game, I went for a Toffee Crisp and my dad went for a Kit Kat. We then stood behind the goal and read the match day programme. By the time we had a flick through and read up about Gloucester and about both teams recent results, we both predicted Gloucester to win 2-1 but we obviously wanted Chesham to win!
The teams came out and there want much of a roar from the crowd but there was from the travelling Gloucester fans and there was around 30 of them and you've got to have respect and fair play to all those that have travelled all the way after what has happened to the club in recent years! The game started and immediately, you could tell that Gloucester were a league higher than Chesham as they were dominating and Chesham were really struggling to get the ball and the Gloucester defence looked really solid. Gloucester dominated with chances in the first 20 minutes and Chesham managed to get into the box a few times but nothing was created. Gloucester deservedly took the lead with around 30 minutes gone from a decent strike and the travelling fans went wild!
Gloucester continued to dominate the game and Chesham were struggling to get back into the game but we both had a feeling that Chesham would eventually get that goal that they needed to get back into the game and it would allow them to get another but it just wasn't happening for Chesham. We then started walking round to the burger van with around 5 minutes of the first half left and by the time we walked round, the first half had finished and it was still 1-0 to Gloucester.
Half time and we was both feeling quite peckish, hence why we started walking round to the burger van before the first half finished. Once at the burger van, I decided to have a bacon cheeseburger and my dad had a normal cheeseburger and it came to £8 which is a reasonable but could be a little but cheaper but I have to say, the bacon cheeseburger was one of the best burgers I have ever had in my life and I would highly recommend getting one! We then went back into the bar because we were both feeling cold. We then checked the results and luckily enough, Sutton were 2-0 up at Guiseley which was great, it was such a shame that Chesham weren't winning as well!
We then went outside and we decided to sit in the main stand for the second half as there wasn't any signs of any chants being sung and because there was no atmosphere being made from the Chesham fans behind the goal but the travelling Gloucester fans were quite loud for the amount of fans that had travelled to the game. You get a good view of the pitch from the stand and is quite cosy and warm and I would highly recommend sitting in there!
The second half started and it seemed like the Chesham manager had given the Chesham squad a kick up the backside because they looked quite confident and were starting to look like the better side and it seemed like they had fed off Gloucester's confidence from the first half and you could tell that Chesham wanted it more than Gloucester and there chance came when they were given a free kick with about 30 minutes to go and their number 7 stepped up and whacked the ball into the top corner and Chesham had gotten themselves back into the game via a very impressed free-kick and the Chesham fans went wild! Chesham then looked liked the team in the league above as they were now creating a lot of chances but they didn't score in the 72nd minute, which meant our golden goal ticket wasn't a winner.
Chesham were dominating the game and Chesham's chance came in the 77nd minute when a Gloucester Kieran Thomas was sent off after a heavy tackle on one of the Chesham players and you could tell that Chesham were going to win from this point! The chance for Chesham to take the lead was in the 84th minute as the ball was whipped into the box and Swales headed the ball and went into the back of the net and Chesham finally and deservedly had taken the lead and the Chesham loyal went wild and even me and my dad cheered quite loud when they scored!
Chesham continued to dominate the rest of the game and had the chance to make it 3-1 but they weren't that lucky and with 5 minutes added on, we left our seats in the main stand then walked round to the terrace behind the goal to watch the last few minutes and when the full time whistle was blown, the Chesham fans went wild. We walked out of the ground feeling happy that Chesham had won and just as happy that Sutton had won 2-0 at Guiseley. The Christmas lights in the high street was a nice added touch to the overall experience. Once back at the station, we got on the tube and headed back for London.
The journey back into London was spent looking at results and going through my social media and we was intending on going home the same way as we came earlier but a lot of Tottenhan ans got on at Wembley Park so we changed onto the Jubilee Line and stayed on until Waterloo and then got the Northern Line back to Colliers Wood and then walked back to my house and we got back at 7pm feeling exhausted but we had really enjoyed our day in Chesham and I would highly recommend going there because it is very friendly, the burgers are amazing and you will visit a very good non-league stadium!
Rating:
Stadium: 8/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 9/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Friendliness: 10/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Overall Rating: 8.2/10

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Leatherhead F.C. - Fetcham Grove

Leatherhead F.C.
Leatherhead F.C.
Fetcham Grove Stadium
Guildford Road
Leatherhead
Surrey
KT22 9AS

Official Website:


Ground Number: 61
Date: Wednesday 8th November 2017
Score: Leatherhead F.C. 1-2 Folkestone Invicta F.C
Competition: Bostik League Premier Division
Attendance: 294

The best thing about mid-week fixtures is you can go to grounds that you wouldn't get the chance to go to because you generally focus on going to the games of your own teams and for me, a Wednesday night is a great opportunity to groundhop because there is always a few local teams to me that play at home on a Wednesday night and one of the teams that was home tonight was Leatherhead FC as they were home to Folkestone Invicta.
This game seemed really appealing for me to visit because I last visited Fetcham Gove two years ago and back then I wasn't writing this blog and this meant when I started writing this blog, I had to go back to Fetcham Grove and ever since starting this blog over a year ago, I have been trying to re-visit Leatherhead but haven't found the chance to and seeing as I didn't have any plans on Wednesday night, I decided I would go here.
I told my dad on Monday morning that I wanted to go to Leatherhead on Wednesday and he had the evening and Thursday morning off so he said " why not, it has been two years since we have been there". I then asked Tony if he wanted to come with us seeing as he likes to groundhop with us, so I texted him and he also said that he would like to come with us and that was us sorted for Wednesday night!
Tuesday morning was spent mainly doing coursework seeing as we had quite a few pieces of coursework due next week and why not use my time wisely and get another assignment out of the way. I then went to college at 12pm and when I finished college at 4:45pm, I was very tempted to go to Corinthian-Casuals vs Molesey as it is only a few miles from my college but I didn't have a lot of money on me so I decided not to go. I then spent the evening at home looking at some highlights of some previous Leatherhead FC games and also looked into the history of Leatherhead F.C.
Leatherhead F.C. were founded in 1907 as Leatherhead Rise and they are based in the town of Leatherhead in Surrey. The club currently play their home games at Fetcham Grove which has a capacity of 3,400 and there are 125 seats. The club currently play in the Bostik League Premier (7th Tier of English Football) but when the club was founded, they started out playing friendlies but joined the Dorking and District League in 1909. In 1946, the clubs of Leatherhead Rise and Leatherhead United merged together to form Leatherhead FC. The newly formed Leatherhead FC started out in the Surrey Senior League for the 1946/47 season. The club then joined the Metropolitan and District League for the 1950/51 season and they soon joined the Delphian League and the Corinthian League.
At the end of the 1962/63 season, they were the last ever champions of the Corinthian League. They then joined the Athenian League and in 1969, the club reached the FA Amateur Cup semi-final but lost to Skelmersdale United and again in 1971 but lost to Ilford. The club then joined the Isthmian League for the 1972/73 season. In the 1974/75 season, they made it to the FA Cup 4th Round but ended up losing at the hands of Leicester City. In 1978, they reached the FA Trophy Final but lost against Altrincham. The 1990's saw the club face some promotions and relegation's within the Isthmian League. In 2011, the club beat Dulwich Hamlet to gain promoted to the Isthmian Premier (Now Bostik Premier) and this is where the club still remain.
The history of Leatherhead FC looked quite promising because they have had quite a few cup semi-final and finals in their day and have had some big days and even made it to the 4th Round of the FA Cup and this made me excited to be re-visiting Fetcham Grove. I went to bed on Tuesday evening at 10:30pm as I had to be at college for 9am tomorrow morning. I woke up at 6:30am on Wednesday morning feeling quite tired because I hadn't had the best nights sleep. I left for college at 7am and was at college for 8:20am and it was again another really chilled day. I left college at 3pm and then got the bus back home and then got my things ready as I would be sleeping round my dad's tonight. My dad arrived at 4pm and we went back to his and at 5:20pm, we left to pick up Tony and then made the short drive to Leatherhead.
The drive to Leatherhead itself was not really eventful apart from some traffic at North Cheam but that was about it, we just put a CD on and listened to some music and me being a typical 18 year old football fan, I had to have something alcoholic to drink so I had a bottle of Kopperburg and that pretty much lasted the whole journey to Leatherhead. We then followed the signs for Leatherhead FC and the ground is really well sign posted for a club in the 7th Tier. We then parked the car in a small car park next to the ground and then walked up to the ground and we had arrived at 6:30pm. Tonight cost £10 for admission for my dad and £2 for a programme. Tonight would have cost me £7 to get in but the club kindly gave me free entry for tonight as I am writing this blog and I would personally like to thank the club for giving me free entry.
After my dad and Tony finished paying to get in, we walked to the bar as it was really cold outside and then my dad and Tony got a can of Diet Coke and I didn't really fancy anything to drink but that's probably because I had just had a Kopparburg in the car. The bar isn't really big but is warm inside and everyone is really friendly and is a typical non-league bar. We sat in the bar reading the programme and we looked to see if there was any ex-Sutton players in both teams but there wasn't but there was a player I highly recognised which is ex-Eastleigh striker Jack Midson and I know him a lot from the old days of Football Manager 2015. We then went outside and took some pictures of the ground.
Fetcham Grove has a capacity of 3,400 and there are 125 seats. The ground is very traditional and has a really friendly feeling. On one side of the ground is the main area and it holds the bar and changing rooms as well as a small seated stand which has covered terracing either side. Opposite this side of the ground is an uncovered walkway and a gantry and this is where they film the game from. Behind one of the goals is a large covered terrace with no supporting pillars and can hold around 170 people and behind the other goal is another covered terrace but has supporting pillars and can hold around 120 people.
I really like Fetcham Grove because it is a typical non-league stadium and the ground has lots of character and there isn't any large modern stands or terraces that ruin the look of the ground. I also really like how there is a mixture of both seats and terracing alongside the main area of the ground and I like both of the covered terraces behind the goals because they provide a good view of the game.
After walking round the ground to take some pictures, we went to the tea bar to get something to eat and the queue was quite long and we had to wait around 10 minutes but I had heard some good reviews on the food here, so I was more than willing to wait in the queue to try some of the food and it also meant that I wouldn't have to worry about queueing up for food at half time. I decided to get a cheeseburger and chips, my dad had a plain burger and Tony had sausage and chips, mine tasted really nice and my dad and Tony said theirs was nice as well, so top marks on the food at Leatherhead.
After having something to eat, we went and stood in the covered terrace behind the goal and when the teams were coming out, there wasn't much of a roar from either sets of fans but that is probably because there is only around 300 people inside the ground. Last time I came to Fetcham Grove, there wasn't much of an atmosphere so I was hoping for some chanting and some better atmosphere from both sets of fans tonight. To our luck, Leatherhead were kicking towards the goal we was already standing behind and this meant we didn't have to walk round to the other goal.
The game started and Leatherhead started the game strongly as they were creating a lot of chances and they were not letting Folkestone into the game and they had a quite a few chances within the first few 10 minutes. In this 11th minute, one of the Leatherhead players was tripped in the box and Leatherhead were awarded a penalty. Liam Nash stepped up to take the penalty and I was expecting the shot to go top corner but it was the complete opposite and the Folkestone keeper dived too early and Liam Nash chipped the ball down the middle and after only 12 minutes, it was 1-0 to Leatherhead!
Leatherhead continued to dominate after going 1-0 up and they looked like scoring again but the Folkestone defence was on hand to keep Leatherhead at bay and to keep the score at 1-0. Folkestone started to get back into the game after the 30th minute and this started to cause concerns for Leatherhead and they were punished right before half time as Folkestone equalised in the 45th minute and after dominating the majority of the first half, Folkestone had managed to get themselves back on level terms.
Half time and Folkestone had managed to get themselves back on level terms and realistically even with letting Folkestone back in the game, it should be at least 2-1 to Leatherhead but then again that's football, you can dominate a lot of the game and still not be winning at half time. After clapping the teams off, we went back to the tea bar to get something hot to drink and I went for a hot chocolate, my dad went for a tea and Tony went for a bovril and I have to say that my hot chocolate tasted really nice and my dad said his tea was nice and Tony also said his bovril tasted nice as well, so top marks for the hot drinks at Leatherhead!
Whilst having our drinks, we decided to sit in the stand for the second half because it had gotten really cold and it was quite cold in the terraces. We found some empty seats and even though we had some supporting pillars in the way of our view, we still had a good view of the pitch. The teams came back out and there was a few encouraging shouts from both sets of fans and I was hoping that both sets of fans could start some singing because they had been very quiet so far!
The second half started and I was hoping that Leatherhead could perform like they did for the first 30 minutes of the first half because if they did, they would easily win the game but like I said before, its not as easy as that. Folkestone seemed to have fed off Leatherhead's confidence from the first half and Folkestone seemed to have picked up a bit and were playing some fluid football and were making some good passes and were creating some chances and were unlucky not to take the lead within the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Leatherhead were creating some chances but those chances were not very dangerous and their crossing seemed to have dropped because they were struggling to get the ball into the box and whenever they managed to get the ball into the box, it was either too powerful or not powerful enough. Folkestone took advantage of this and they took the lead in the 60th minute and the travelling 30 or so fans went wild and finally, there was some singing but unfortunately, it wasn't from the Leatherhead fans.
After going 2-1 up, Folkestone scored again but luckily enough, it was offside and this kept Leatherhead in the game. As the game went on, Leatherhead slowly improved and they were creating more dangerous chances and were unlucky not to find the equaliser but then again, that's football. Folkestone were also unlucky to not score after their third goal was given as offside but after pushing for an equaliser, Leatherhead had the chance to score but failed and soon after, it finished Leatherhead 1-2 Folkestone Invicta.
We headed out of the ground feeling happy that we had finally re-visited Fetcham Grove but unhappy that Leatherhead didn't get anything from the game. We got back in the car, put the heater on because it was freezing outside and then drove back to South West London. We dropped Tony off home and then drove back to my dads and we was back at my dads at 10:15pm. I would recommend going to Leatherhead F.C. as they ground is very traditional, has a lot of character, very friendly and the food and drink in the ground is really good.
Rating:
Stadium: 7/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 8/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.5/10