29th December 2012
Lewes 1 v Thurrock 2

Ryman Premier
Gate: £11
Atten: 493

Ground: 6/10 A visit to The Dripping Pan is always an uncomplicated tick. Have been here many times before and always enjoy returning.Lewes F.C. have played at the Dripping Pan every year since 1885, apart from a couple of seasons prior to the First World War  when the club was banished to the adjoining Convent Field Both teams enter the pitch from the changing rooms on the first floor of the club house, never seen that before.
Match Enjoyment: 6/10  The Rooks were fortunate to score just before the interval as Thurrock had wasted the better chances. However in the second half , the Essex side dominate and scored two well worked goals. Full compliments to them for the fightback.
Food and Drink: 8/10 A very tasty Steak and Harveys (local brewery) Pie. Homemade pastry, deep filled with juicy succulent chunks of tender beef in a rich ale gravy - delicious.

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View of The Dripping Pan from the Car Park

Best pie this season - by far


26th December 2012

Ryman League South Division
Ramsgate 1 v Maidstone United 0
Gate :  £8
Atten : 406 (nearly three times the normal gate)

View Ramsgate 95th minute Winner !
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Feedback and kind words from Ramsgate Forum 

Ground: 8/10 lovely little ground, nesttled in the back streets of Thanet. Was made to feel very welcome by everyone (Take note Margate FC). From John the safety officer, chaps on the turnstiles, Mickey in the shop, Director who tried to buy a pin badge on the cheap !! all decent people.
The ground had its quirky side ... The clubhouse, changing room and toilets were all outside the turnstiles ! Overall a great attitude and enthusiasm by all concerned. I recommend a visit to Southwood Stadium for any football lover.

Match Enjoyment : 7/10 - Hats off to the players and ref for playing in monsoon conditions. Maidstone's warm up was a decent one they looked the 'real deal' but in the end were 'all fur coat and no knickers' as the Rams deserved the 95th minute penalty winner. If anything out of sheer persistence for their second half performance. The natives showed their 'feelings' in a very passionate way. I was resigned to a 0-0 game my first in ages, until i spoke with John the safety guy to thank him but was disappointed there were no goals ... as i turned around to him he pointed and said "ive got one for you" to my delight Ramsgate had just been given a penalty, which they scored. You see at Ramsgate FC they even arrange goals on demand , how decent is that ?


26th December 2012
Margate v Cray Wanderers

Ryman Premier League

Gate :  Zero + 3 security guards  MINUS 10/10
Atten : hopefully low - there was no way i was going to part with a single penny for these people.
Ground : MINUS 10 out of 10 Made to feel very unwelcome as a result of the oppressive behaviour shown by staff. Ground itself is very ordinary and bland.
Match Enjoyment : Due to the 'sour taste' left in my mouth by the staff i lost interest in the place MINUS 10 out of 10

There were little positives here at Margate .

for what its worth here are some photos i did get ! (26)

Reaction from the Ramsgate Forum

Where do i start ? ......
after a long journey and a few cancelled games i was looking forward to visiting Margate's ground and to watch the league leaders playing. Infact they had been on my radar for a couple of years.
I usually arrive early to take photos of the ground whilst it is still empty, park up, then go into town for some brunch before returning in good time to go to the bar/lounge, pay my gate money and watch the game etc

Well today i experienced a welcome that i have never had before. It was so cold and disgraceful it was beyond words. When i asked the lady staff member at the main gate as to could i nip in for ten minutes to take some photos of the ground before the crowd arrives.
"oh dear , i must get some security guards then" she answered.
"Security ?" i asked in a shocked state.
"oh yes they must watch what you do, and escort you round and follow you"
I was speechless - how puerile can a person/club get ?

Ten minutes later a beefy security guy appeared (decent chap actually) and he was as embarassed as i was. I then went inside passed through a stand with seats and chasing after me was some old codger demanding a £1 supplement . It was only 12.30 and i was not staying or sitting !
The a SECOND security guy ran out to join his buddy..... then a THIRD one appeared demanding £10 !!! The first one then asked "how long will you be?" (meaning hurry up !).

I actually felt like an escaped convict, their behaviour was appauling. The worst i have ever experienced at a Non League Ground and i must have been to around 400-500 over the years.

At this point i decided ..... Bollocks !!!! no way am i watching a match here because they had left a very sour taste in my mouth. Instead i went of to Ramsgate v Maidstone where i received a superb welcome (see my report from there for full details).

Well congratulations MARGATE FC you certainly  'marred' my day (if you pardon the pun).
In the end they lost the match and in the end they lost me and hopefully they have lost many more ground hoppers like me. .... and then they wonder why their crowds are getting lower !!!!!


4 Photos from Hastings FA Cup win

All photos have been kindly given by David Bauckham from CC Publishing - to check his photos from many NL grounds look here >>> http://www.flickr.com/photos/ccpub/collections/72157623468136029/
Excited fans lap up the atmosphere

The Pilot Field is Packed to the rafters !

Hastings celebrate winning penalty

Worsborough Bridge

Worsborough Bridge Athletic FC
 Non Match Day - Dec 2012

Bridge originated in 1923 as Worsbrough Bridge St. James FC, named after the local Parish Church and, after WW2 reformed as Worsbrough Bridge Athletic Club playing both football and cricket. The club purchased the Park Road ground from a local land owner in 1953 and, in 1959 entered into a partnership with the local Miners’ Welfare Scheme, enabling development of the facilities. This resulted in the club’s full name of Worsbrough Bridge Miners’ Welfare & Athletic FC, although the truncated version is more often (and more sensibly) used.

Football had been played on the ground well before WW2, but Bridge had moved in in 1947 after reforming. The ground has always been a three-sided venue, catering for both winter and summer sports.The partnership with the Welfare enabled the building of the changing rooms and Welfare Hall in the early 1960s and, some ten years later the stand was built into the grass banking that runs along one side of the ground. For those not wishing to sit, the summit of the bank provides a good view although the stand does obstruct this to some degree. The shallow brick dugouts, built onto the front of the stand have since been extended whilst the steel roof fascia, with its distinctive diamond cut-out design, can also be seen at a few other Yorkshire grounds such as Pontefract Collieries FC, and South Kirkby Colliery FC in Stockingate. In 1971 the record attendance of 1,603 was recorded for the visit of Blyth Spartans in the FA Amateur Cup, although as Peter Miles points out, the unofficial figure was apparently nearer 2,500.

Financial backing from the Miners’ Welfare ended in in the early 1990s with the demise of the Mining Industry. Nevertheless, ground improvements continued with the addition of floodlights in November 1993. There is a an area of hard standing with some rather pointless crush barriers at the bridge end of the ground, just in front of the River Dove and although there were plans to add cover along this side of the ground, this has yet to come to fruition. Former Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy is an ex-Bridge player.

 Ty - DB

Hertford Town

South Mids Premier Division
Hertford Town 0 v Oxhey Jets 7 (seven)
Gate : £6
Atten: 89
Coffee : 80p
Food: no food as was still full from earlier

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Pre Match Meal : £3.50 @ The Black Horse (100 yards from the ground) Excellent 'Door Step' sandwich deep filled with egg,bacon and sausages. Served with salad and a ton of colslaw. - very tasty indeed.

Ground: 6/10 -Decent quirky main stand and nice stand behind the goal at the Stable End of the ground. It presented us with some good photo opportunities. Not my favourite tick by any means , but as my first three intended grounds were called off, my only way of getting my weekly 'fix' was to take up a kind offer to go in another hopper/photographers car. On the whole an acceptable day out at a ground where i have never had any intentions of visiting. Lovely viaduct just behind the ground.

Match Enjoyment: 4/10 -The 'Jets' were turbo charged and got off to a 'flyer'. Hertford were never going to be able to clip their wings and were lucky to get Nil, as they were outplayed from the warm up onwards ! such was the domination. A group of around 25 from another club came in ,as there game was off. I have no idea where they were from, but they hate Ware FC according to their chants. Oxhey sent 3 photographers to the game !! all standing at different parts of the ground. I feel the Oxhey Jet Mananger could have acted with more class when his team scored their goals.
Even at 0-6 down they sang "we're gonna win 7-6" etc. But Hertford never lost Heart ! and battled away and if truth be told, their day never really took off !


Hastings United

An FA Cup Cracker

Thursday  13th December 2012
Hastings United 1 v Harrogate Town 1
(Hastings United win 5-4 on penalties)

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FA Cup 2nd Round Replay
Gate: £10
Atten:  4028 - jam packed full house
Ground: The Pilot Field is a decent ground for the level the club plays at. The pitch looked superb and would compliment leagues higher.Much improved the last few seasons.
Last night the good old days returned. Queues were formed outside the gates 300 yards and down the steep hill ,long nearly two hours before the kick off. The place was rocking ! Great atmosphere, not sure the last time it was bettered.
The present-day team known as Hastings United Football Club was founded in 1894 as Rock-a-Nore and the ground sits adjacent to the now defunt St Leonards. I heard a story that they hold a record for the shortest journey to a derby match. According to the stories the St Leonards team got on the team coach at their ground and hopped off at The Pilot Field just 15 seconds and 30 yards later !
You needed a shoe horn to cram into the ground but it was definately worth the effort. 7/10

Hastings defence were like rock

Match Enjoyment:
  9/10 The atmosphere was excellent with the worlds press and TV companies in town the stakes were high. The first half was a bit flat but after the early second half goal for Hastings the game exploded. Harrogate couldnt break down the solid Hastings defence the were rock solid ..
The Yorkshire men applied wave after wave (if you pardon the pun !) to the seaside hosts and there only souvenir was some Hastings Rock !! and then as the boards and crowd noise went up Harrogate grabbed a corner and snatched a last gasp equaliser ..... they basically "kicked sand" in the Hastings faces and this was no longer a Seaside Special ! They say that life's a beach ! Had they taken the "Sting" out of Hastings ???

It was now extra time Hastings players were cramping up off their feet. Harrogate must win now surely ? ... but no,  Hastings Player manager and his peers or should that be Piers !! (if you pardon the pun !) battled back and were on top and during the extra time 4 players in blue went down with signs of cramp.
The tension for the penalties was unbearable . The place erupted when Harrogate missed their first spot kick. Hastings scored their first 4 and then they needed just one more to win .......
Can the Hastings player handle the tension ???   Watch what he did .. here
Harrogate licked sand in Hastings face !

Then the place went potty   .....
 Hastings score the winning penalty & celebrations !

Harrogate were down and out and their trip to the seaside was a sad one , they didnt even get the T-Shirt of this seaside special .
This was Hastings biggest night in their history so far ... it was now very late into the night as i reached my car ... 11.06pm to be exact or in other words 10 66 .....for some reason that seems to ring a bell in these parts !
they didnt even get the T Shirt !

What a night !!



Saturday  8th December 2012
Gresley v Carlton Town

NPL Division One South
Gate: £7
Atten: 254
Ground: Thankfully i came to the Moat Ground before the club's proposed move to a new ground in Bridge Street. For the neutral this is a cracking little ground and well worth the visit. It is clearly evident how proud and loyal the locals are of 'their' club and quite rightly so. I really liked the way the ground is "shoe horned" in the back streets of the village, which only adds to its charm. The Queen Street side of the ground has a wonderful rickety yet charming stand straddling most of the whole length of the subtle slope of one half of the pitch. 8/10

Match Enjoyment:
 To be honest at times it was not the best game and in truth i was disappointed with Gresley's performance as for some reason, not sure why, but i was expecting more. Carlton Town were the better 'team' and fully deserved the win. Gresley in the second half could only resort to long range shots which if anything kept the ballboys busier than the Carlton goalie. 6/10

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Denaby United

Denaby United FC
Tickhill Square

A superb site all about the history of  Denaby Utd  and the community

My photos from my visit in Dec12

Main stand at Tickhill Square

..."Are you with me" ?

I first learnt about this intersting history some time ago whilst reading Kerry Miller's excellent History of NL Grounds book. Infact since then i have always had the urge to visit and find out more. That day arrived last week and i am pleased that i made the effort.
As i climbed out of the car i could smell history in the crisp winter sunshine. I still was not sure i was in the right place where all the problems were hotly disputed all those year ago. As i stretched my legs an  elderly gentleman passed me .. " excuse me, can you tell me anything abouth the football club which was one here?" ... he raised his head to look at me and with a warm smile , whilst his nose was dripping ... answered... " what do you want to know ?" .
For me that was a green light to bombard him with every question i had in the same sentence. He looked at me with a fresh arrival of nose-drip and said in his thick south yorkshire twang " have you time for a cup of tea? " ...."because if you have , come back to mine and i will tell you everything because i was the main guy in the middle of the dispute , the chairman or peacemaker if you like ...... are you with me ?
As we made our way back to 'his' he shared a story about every property on Tickhill Square. He had lived there all his life. He showed me the house he grew up in as a lad , only 30 yards away from his 'new' home of 48 years ! As we sat in his kitchen with a cup of tea he then ran upstairs like an excited kid at christmas and returned with all his papers and spread them around the kitchen table .... are you with me? he asked again. ...."I am definately with you" i replied.
the very kitchen table

We spoke for ages and my new friend fascinated me with all his stories . Several cups of tea later he was still going strong. All the stories about the two welfare groups , the big wig who wanted to muscle in and have things run 'his way'. The squabbles with CISWO people, the community, the players, the club everyone was involved . Not forgetting the vandals and the fire to the main stand.

main stand on fire in 05

I had one final question for him. "how does all that went on , make you feel today" ? He bowed his head , looking at his interlocking fingers. Those same ones which had spent 30 years down pit as man and boy and following family generations. He shook his head gently and said ..." we all lost , everybody lost and all for the same reason.... we were all too stubbon,...... are you with me? "
I gave him a reassuring pat on the shoulder before answering ... " Yes, Reg, i'm definatley with you !"
the place in Dec 2012

crowds in the 50's watching in front of the welfare building

** i wont tell all the stories Reg told me , out of respect for a fine man. Who's heart was always in the right place.

Frickley Athletic

Frickley Athletic FC
Westfield Lane

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Recently i was in the South Yorkshire area and by sheer luck i stumbled upon this wonderful, gritty northern non league ground. Infact upon arrival in the bitter artic winds you could still sense and smell the history that has preceeded.

During the 1960's when the local colliery employed upwards of 3000 men both it and the football ground were both at their peak. Infact each person paid a shilling a week from their paypacket to the welfare. The record crowd i hear was about 6000 for the visit of Rotherham in the FA Cup about 40 years ago. Their best FA Cup run was in the 85-86 season when they reached the dizzy heights of the third round proper.


 The focal point of the ground is obviously the main stand , which was built by the local miners whilst they were on strike  in the 1920's.

The ground is still overshadowed today by the former colliery.

In its heyday in the 1930s the colliery employed 4000 men and boys and at is closure on 26 November 1993 735 men.
In October 1992 Frickley/South Elmsall was one of the 31 collieries intended to be closed by the government. Given a temporary reprieve of just 13 months whilst studies showed the pit was one of the most profitable in British Coal, the miners were forced to vote on closure of the pit in a " No Win" situation in November 1993.
Despite having plentiful and easily accessible reserves, the pit closed due to politics on 26 November 1993, leaving massive social and economic problems in the local area.
To this day Frickley lives on in many peoples hearts and minds. With the Westfield Lane stadium backing onto the former colliery.

The Club decided to 'give back' the Colliery title in the mid seventies once the colliery itself had closed. I would advise any serious groundhopper to pay a visit and for added enjoyment take time out to go walking on the nearby Frickley Moor but try to avoid the rapier cold like winds like i failed to do and visit on a matchday !


Tuesday 4th December 2012
Tamworth v Kidderminster Harriers

Conference Premier
Gate: £14
Atten: 1031 (289 Away)
Ground: Decent setup just of the motorways. Complimented with a backdrop of a SnowDome. Good facilities and i very much like the old stand running the length of the pitch. The only downside being that as there was segregation in place i was unable to walk all the way round. 7/10
Match Enjoyment: an enjoyable game throughout, cant believe i had to wait until the 90th minute for the first goal. But Kiddy were definatley the better side and fully deserved their win. Tamworth are a small team who could struggle against the more physical sides. The tempo was excellent 7.5/10

View all photos from Tamworth (16)

If truth be told i am not a big fan of the Brummie accent. I dont know why, but it tends to grate on me after a bit. Its probably the delayed side effects from watch too much Jasper Carrot and Benny from Crossroads Motel !!!

So you can imagine the horror i got when within 3 seconds of entering the ground a bottle blond girl came up to me screaming "50-50 tickets !! "in her most piercing screetch of some indescribable Scientific pitch notation ! as i am not sure what it is called when its higher than soprano - whatever it is , she had it !! I am suprised no nearby glass was shattered. Infact as it caught me so much by suprise , i jumped in fear at least two feet in reverse !
As usual i did my tour of the ground and was very happy with my choice of coming here instead of Nuneaton.
After my tour i went into the bar for a drink. Drink in hand i turned around from the bar only to find guess who screaming in my face ...... "50-50 tickets" !!  it was 'her' again and it was 'that' accent again ! Needless to say i spilt the top out of my larger top !

Kidderminster were excellent and were in full control of a very high tempo match which was most enjoyable despite the 0-0 scoreline at half time. The evening was a very cold one so a return to the bar just to keep warm was required. It was packed , so no chance of a drink etc but as i came out of the mens toilet i got tapped on the shoulder and as i turned around i heard and this time had the 'priviledge' of her breath on my face , calling out .... yes you have guessed it !!!   "50-50 tickets" !!!! in that even more distinctive accent. Then she added "woops , i think i have already asked you !"

Leg of Lamb !
The second half played out and the only winner was going to be Kidderminster, but time and luck was not on there side. Tamworth had played all there 3 subs and within seconds , Kiddy attacked and pinball machine stuffed followed in the box and a Tamworth player was very badly injured with i think a leg break. As the game restarted Kiddy had a corner and somehow after more mayhem the ball looped in the net (93rd minute). Kiddy had won it , Tamworth had lost and all because of a .....  leg of lamb ! 
Moments later the final whistle blew and Kiddy got their well deserved win. They certainly had the bigger percentage of play , which definately was not 50-50 !!!!!