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Monday, February 25, 2008

Revisited: Redbridge

Sunday, July 25th, 2004
Redbridge 1 Ipswich Town Reserves 0
Oakside, Redbridge, Greater London

RedbridgeRedbridge, until they renamed themselves in the summer of 2004, had been known as Ford United since their formation in 1959 following the merger of the Dagenham based Ford Sports and Briggs Sports football clubs. As the former name suggests the roots of the club lie in the motor industry and the name change was made in an effort to help identify the club more with the area in which they play rather than the Ford Motor Company down the road at Dagenham who broke their ties with the area a couple of years back. Their nickname “The Motormen” is the one remaining link with their automotive past.


The last car was produced at the huge Dagenham plant in 2002, a Fiesta as it happens, after more than 70 years of operation as the American giant’s largest European manufacturing plant. I recall being suitable impressed by a school trip there in the Seventies, impressed enough during that day out to later own a number of Mark I and Mark II Cortina’s after I had passed my driving test.


A short walk from Barkingside tube station – the Central Line runs parallel to the western touchline - the Oakside Stadium boasts a capacity of 3,000. A narrow and rather fragile looking grandstand , flanked by small sections of concrete terracing occupies that western touchline whilst the entire length of the opposite touchline offers a covered standing area.


There is uncovered terracing behind each goal with the northern end offering the best view of the playing area and the most convenient positioned as it is just inside the turnstiles and adjacent to the tea bar. Flanked by a golf course to the north and parkland to the south and east only the occasional tube rumbling by reminds you that you are inside the M25.

posted by chevblue at 9:19 pm 0 comments

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bury Town 1 Maldon Town 1

Ryman League Division One North
Ram Meadow, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk

Bury TownThis is not the first time I’ve reported on a trip to Bury Town’s Ram Meadow ground but it is the first time I’ve included pictures of any consequence. I hope you approve.

I believe my first ever visit there was back in June 1978 when Ipswich Town, fresh from a 1-0 win over Arsenal in the FA Cup Final the previous month, were the visitors for a testimonial game which Bobby Robson’s men won 5-0 in front of 3,500 fans.

Bury Town

Ram Meadow at that time had been Bury Town’s home for just a year. The previous summer St Edmundsbury Council decided to slice up Bury’s old Kings Road ground (in the centre of the town) by building a dual carriage way down one touchline and covering over the rest of the pitch with concrete and tarmac for a car park. A multi-storey car park, cinema, DIY store and several fast food outlets have since further augmented the beauty of site.

Bury Town

The football club were awarded £15,000 in compensation and despatched to a flood plain in the shadows of the Silverspoon sugar refinery at the north eastern edge of the town centre were they’ve been ever since. Shunned by the council and with crowd’s that don’t match the (relative) success the club has achieved it’s a minor miracle that the club has survived at all enduring a particularly rocky spell financially during the mid-1990’s.

Bury Town

Taking its name from an old pub named the Ram that used to stand on the site, Ram Meadow has a capacity of 3,500 with covered accommodation for 1,500 spectators that includes 300 seats. Entrance to the ground is through turnstiles behind the southern goal which are accessed from one of the town’s main car parks. To the left as you enter is the club shop, followed by the club house with covered standing area in front and the main stand whose peculiarly angled roof provides little in the way of cover when the rain drives in from the east (here speaks the voice of experience).

Bury Town

On the opposite touchline is a smaller stand that boasts fewer seats but much better cover. There are covered terrace areas too, one behind each goal, and with the perimeter now guarded by a smart new aluminium fence, which is backed by a large number of trees to the north and east the overall effect is quite pleasing. This is a nice spot to watch football.

Bury TownTown picked up a useful point today as they look to build on a 17th place finish in the Ryman North last season, there first at this level after 10 seasons in the Ridgeons (Eastern Couties) League.

Vital statistics: Admission 6 pounds, programme 1 pound 20 pence, attendance 310.

Match Number: 1419

And finally, in what could become a regular feature on this blog, Extreme Groundhopping goes multimedia with a bit of footage from this afternoons game featuring the voices of two doddery old farts and a banana skin (not the official FA Cup one obviously)...

posted by chevblue at 10:28 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Revisited: Harwich & Parkeston

Saturday, September 4th, 2004
Harwich & Parkeston 3 Stansted 2
FA Cup Preliminary Round
The Royal Oak, Dovercourt, Essex

Harwich & ParkestonMy visit to Harwich & Parkeston some four years ago now was one of my first to a non-league outfit after deciding to make more of an effort to watch local sides in action, starting by working my way around the Ridgeons (Eastern Counties) League. The pictures of the Shrimper’s Royal Oak ground that you see here first appeared on David Bauckham’s excellent Pyramid Passion and it was that site, the cream at the top of non-league url’s, that inspired me to record my exploits on the blog you are reading now - Extreme Groundhopping.

The Royal Oak is actually in Dovercourt, which neighbours the larger and better known Harwich although the two are joined at the hip, as it were, and together with Parkeston (the quay at Parkeston is now better known as the Port of Harwich) the three have physically merged over the years to form one contiguous built up area. Dovercourt steals the march on it’s two neighbours however having played host to the BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi during the 1980’s – at what used to be the town’s very own Holiday Camp!

Harwich & Parkeston

Formed in 1877 Harwich and Parkeston have enjoyed reasonable success in the FA Cup having reach the first round proper on a number of occasions, the first in the 34-35 season when they lost 3-0 to Bristol Rovers at the Gas Men’s old Eastville Stadium, and most recently in 1976-77 when they bowed out to Enfield after a replay.

They made their first appearance in the Eastern Counties League in the 35-36 season, winning a Championship and Cup double in the League’s inaugural season, a campaign that also saw the ground record attendance of 4,740 set for the visit of Ipswich.

Harwich & Parkeston

However, they’ve enjoyed their best moments in the old FA Amateur Cup, having finished as runners-up twice, albeit 54 years apart. There first appearance was in the 1899 and their second in the 1952-53 campaign when a crowd of 100,000 watched then take on the University side Pegasus at Wembley, the latter lifting the now defunct trophy in a 6-0 romp.

More on the club’s history at the Football Club History Database and at the club’s own website.

Harwich & Parkeston

The grandstand on the west touchline has seating for around 150 and is decked out in the club colours of black and white. Difficult to tell it’s age but it almost certainly pre-dates its plastic seats, a number of which had been ripped out with several even appearing to have survived an attempt to set light to them. The local youths no doubt honing their pyrotechnic skills.

Behind the northern goal is a small covered concrete terrace, a grass bank sits between the eastern touchline and the gardens of a row of semi-detached homes to the rear and that’s it as far as spectator comfort is concerned apart from the tea hut – in the south-eastern corner - which was doing a pretty brisk trade in cold drinks I seem to recall (it being a pretty scorching day in early September).

Harwich & ParkestonThe only obvious recent ground improvements come in the form of a new-ish building that houses the dressing rooms and offices and which was officially opened by Joe Royle – then manager of Ipswich - a year or so before my visit. Sitting twenty-yards back behind the southern goal it looks a bit at odds with the rest of the place as if it and the ground have had a falling out.

posted by chevblue at 10:21 am 0 comments

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ipswich Town 2 Blackpool 1

Coca-Cola Championship
Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk

Ipswich Town

Vital statistics: Admission by season ticket, match programme 3 pounds, attendance 21,059.

Match Number: 1418

posted by chevblue at 7:09 pm 0 comments

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ipswich Town 1 Watford 2

Coca-Cola Championship
Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk

Ipswich Town

Vital statistics: Admission by season ticket, match programme 3 pounds, attendance 24,227.

Match Number: 1417

posted by chevblue at 7:06 pm 0 comments

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Kent Works Side circa 1920

Kent Works Side circa 1920

Kent Works Side circa 1920

Kent Works Side circa 1920

My late grandfather led an interesting and varied life, passing away in 1989 after an innings of ninety-two years. He was a one-time dairy farmer, postmaster, journalist at the Kent Messenger, chorister, photographer, accomplished painter and in later years grew some pretty spectacular and prize winning vegetables! None of these skills I should hasten to add where passed on to me. He was also a member of Kent CCC for many decades and a season ticket holder at Gillingham. In amongst his rather large collection of photograph albums are the pictures you see here. Obviously a works footie team - probably from a foundry if the middle photo that shared the same page as them is anything to go by - but sadly no indication in the album as to where or when they were taken (although I would guess from the Medway towns in the 1920’s).

posted by chevblue at 10:12 am 0 comments

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Ground Visit Record


AFC Bournemouth
(Fitness First Stadium)

AFC Portchester
(Wicor Recreation Ground)

AFC Sudbury
(King's Marsh Stadium)

AFC Totton
(Testwood Park)

Aldershot Town
(Recreation Ground)

Alton Town
(Alton (Bass) Sports Ground)



Aston Villa
(Villa Park)



Basildon United
(Gardiners Close)

Billericay Town
(New Lodge)

Birmingham City
(St Andrews)

Blackburn Rovers
(Ewood Park)

(Bloomfield Road)

Bolton Wanderers
(Reebok Stadium)

Bolton Wanderers
(Burnden Park)

Boston United
(York Street)

Bradford City
(Valley Parade)

Braintree Town
(Cressing Road)

Brantham Athletic
(Brantham Athletic Sports & Social Club)

(Griffin Park)

Brighton & Hove Albion
(Withdean Stadium)

Brighton & Hove Albion
(Goldstone Ground)

Bristol City
(Ashton Gate)

Bristol Rovers

(Hayes Lane)

(Turf Moor)

(Gigg Lane)

Bury Town
(Ram Meadow)

Cambridge City
(Milton Road)

Cambridge United
(Abbey Stadium)

Charlton Athletic
(The Valley)

Chelmsford City
(New Writtle Street)

Chelmsford City
(Chelmsford Sport & Athletics Centre)

(Stamford Bridge)

Chester City
(Saunders Honda Stadium)

Colchester United
(Layer Road)

Cornard United
(Blackhouse Lane)

Coventry City
(Ricoh Arena)

Coventry City
(Highfield Road)

Crewe Alexandra
(Gresty Road)

Crystal Palace
(Selhurst Park)

Dagenham & Redbridge
(Victoria Road)

(Watling Street)

Debenham Leisure Centre

Derby County
(Pride Park)

Derby County
(Baseball Ground)

Diss Town
(Brewers Green Lane)

(Sparshatts Stadium)

Ely City
(Unwin Ground)

(Goodison Park)

Fareham Town
(Cams Alders)

FC Clacton
(Rush Green Bowl)

FC Fleetlands
(Lederle Lane)

Felixstowe & Walton United
(Dellwood Avenue)

Framlingham Town
(Sports Ground)

(Craven Cottage)


(Emerald Park)

Gosport Borough
(Privett Park)

Great Yarmouth Town
(Wellesley Recreation Ground)

Grimsby Town
(Blundell Park)

Hadleigh United

Halstead Town
(Rosemary Lane)

Hamble ASSC
(Follands Park)

Harwich & Parkeston
(Royal Oak)

Havant & Waterlooville
(West Leigh Park)

Heybridge Swifts
(Scraley Road)

(Glass World Stadium)

Horndean Town
(Five Heads Park)

Huddersfield Town
(Leeds Road)

Hull City
(KC Stadium)

Hull City
(Boothferry Park)

Ipswich Town
(Portman Road)

Ipswich Wanderers
(SEH Sports Ground )


Leeds United
(Elland Road)

Leicester City
(Walkers Stadium)

Leicester City
(Filbert Street)

(Victory Road)

Leyton Orient
(Brisbane Road)

Lincoln City
(Cincil Bank)


Long Melford

Lowestoft Town
(Crown Meadows)

Luton Town
(Kenilworth Road)

Manchester City
(Maine Road)

Manchester United
(Old Trafford)

(Ayresome Park)

(The New Den)

(The Den)

MK Dons
(National Hockey Stadium)

MK Dons

Needham Market

Netley Central Sports
(Station Road Recreation Ground)

Newcastle United
(St James' Park)

Newmarket Town
(Cricket Field Road)

Northampton Town
(County Ground)

Norwich City
(Carrow Road)

Nottingham Forest
(City Ground)

Notts County
(Meadow Lane)

Peterborough United
(London Road)

Petersfield Town
(Love Lane)

Plymouth Argyle
(Home Park)

Port Vale
(Vale Park)

(Fratton Park)

Preston North End

Queens Park Rangers
(Loftus Road)

(Madejski Stadium)

(Oakside Stadium)

Romsey Town
(Bypass Ground)

Rotherham United

Saffron Walden Town
(Catons Lane)

Salisbury City
(Raymond McEnhill Stadium)

Scunthorpe United
(Glanford Park)

Sheffield United
(Bramall Lane)

Sheffield Wednesday

Shrewsbury Town
(Gay Meadow)

Shrewsbury Town
(Prostar Stadium)

Soham Town Rangers
(Julius Martin Lane)

(St Mary's)

(The Dell)

Southend United
(Roots Hall)

St Albans City
(Clarence Park)

Stanway Rovers
(New Farm Road)

Stockport County
(Edgeley Park)

Stoke City
(Britannia Stadium)

Stoke City
(Victoria Ground)

Stowmarket Town
(Green Meadows Stadium)

(Stadium of Light)

Swaffham Town
(Shoemakers Lane)

Swindon Town
(County Ground)

Thetford Town
(Mundford Road)

Tiptree United
(Chapel Road)

Tottenham Hotspurs
(White Hart Lane)

United Services Portsmouth
(Victory Stadium)

(Vosper Thornycroft Sports Ground)

(Bescot Stadium)

(Fellows Park)

Walsham Le Willows
(Walsham Sports Club Ground)

(Vicarage Road)

Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium

West Bromwich Albion
(The Hawthorns)

West Ham United
(Upton Park)

Whitton United
(King George V Playing Field )

Wigan Athletic
(JJB Stadium)

(Plough Lane)

Winchester City
(Denplan City Ground)

Witham Town
(Spa Road)

Wivenhoe Town
(Broad Lane)

(Kingfield Stadium)

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Woodbrige Town
(Notcutts Park)

Worcester City
(St. Georges Lane)


Cardiff City
(Ninian Park)


(Pittodrie Stadium)

Heart of Midlothian
(Tynecastle Stadium)


Northern Spirit
(North Sydney Oval)


SW Wacker Innsbruck
(Tivoli Stadion)


RSC Anderlect
(Constant Vanden Stock Stadium)

FC Brugge

SV Zulte-Waregem


FC Kobenhavn
(Gladsaxe Stadion)

Helsingor IF
(Helsingor Stadion)


FC Flora
(Lillekula Stadium)


HJK Helsinki
(Finnair Stadium)

(Hietalahti Stadium)

Tampere United
(Tammelan Stadium)


(G.Guichard Stadium)


1. FC Koeln
(Mungersdorfer Stadion)

Borussia Dortmund
(Westfalenstadion )

1. FC Union Berlin
(Stadion An der Alten Försterei)


AZ Alkmaar
(Alkmaarder Hout)

AZ Alkmaar
(Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam)

FC Dordrecht
(GN Bouw Stadion)

FC Groningen

FC Utrecht
(Galgenwaard Stadion)

(De Kuip)

NEC Nijmegen
(Goffert Stadium)

PEC Zwolle

PSV Eindhoven
(Philips Stadion)

SC Heerenveen
(Abe Lenstra Stadium)

Twente Enschede
(Arke Stadion)

Twente Enschede
(Diekman Stadion)

Vitesse Arnhem

Willem II
(Willem II Stadion)


Bray Wanderers
(Carlisle Grounds)

Dublin City
(Tolka Park)


Inter Milan
(San Siro)


Avenir Beggen
(Stade Josy-Barthel)


Skeid Oslo


Widzew Lodz
(Stadion LKS)


(Nou Camp)

Real Madrid
(San Bernabeu)

(Luis Casanova)


Orgryte IS
(Gamla Ullevi (Old))

Helsingborgs IF
(Olympia Stadium)

Landskrona Bois

Malmo FF
(Malmo Stadion)

Mjallby AIF

Trelleborgs FF

IFK Goteborg


Chicago Sting
(Comiskey Park I)

Chicago Sting
(Wrigley Field)

Chicago Sting
(Chicago Stadium)

Chicago Sting
(Rosemont Horizon)

Chicago Sting
(Rockford MetroCenter)

Chicago Vultures

Milwaukee Bavarians
(Bavarian Center)

Schwaben AC
(Schwaben Center)

Tampa Bay Rowdies
(Tampa Bay Stadium)