Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Peterborough Northern Star - Chestnut Avenue

Peterborough Northern Star FC

Branch Bros Stadium
Chestnut Avenue

01733 552416

Ground Number: 830
Tuesday 19th February 2019

Peterborough Northern Star 0-1 Cogenhoe United
United Counties Premier


The club was established in 1905 and can trace its origins back to Eye Village, which is located nearby. Indeed, they've had a number of names during their history, including Northam Star, that name coming from the sports club owned by the Northam & Dogsthorpe Star Brickworks. That team disbanded in 1959, changing their name to Eye United. Previously a run-of-the-mill team in the Peterborough & District League, the name change saw them improve greatly, with ten titles, the final of which in 2001 saw them win all 30 league games and win the league by sixteen points. They'd have to wait another couple of years to gain promotion to the United Counties League, made possible by the move to their current home in the Dogsthorpe area of the city. Impressive 3rd and 4th place finishes followed in their first two seasons before they changed their name to Peterborough Northern Star in their centenary year. They were United Counties Division 1 champions in 2009, but would have to wait another year for promotion due to ground grading, gaining promotion in 2010 after finishing as runners-up to Irchester United. The 2010/11 season saw their best ever finish of 6th, though results have tailed off in recent seasons, with a 16th place finish last season. This season has seen a slight improvement with the team sitting in 14th place at the time of the game.

Peterborough Northern Star made their bow in the FA Cup during the 2012/13 season and this remains their best run with them beating Wellingborough Whitworth & Thrapston Town before a 5-0 defeat to St Neots Town in the 1st Qualifying Round. The season before that saw a great FA Vase run - Rushden & Higham United, Ellistown, Boldmere St Michaels, Armthorpe Welfare, Norton United and Tividale all fell by the wayside before a rollercoaster 4-3 defeat to Dunston UTS in the Quarter Final. Local cup wins include the United Counties KO Cup (2011), Les Underwood Cup (2011), Hitchingbrooke Cup (2010 & 2015) and a number of league cups whilst members of the Peterborough & District League. 


Once again on this Tuesday, options were extremely limited, with just two options if I went with fellow hopper Anwar. Luckily, he was available and agreed with me that a new ground at Peterborough Northern Star was preferable over a revisit to North Leigh. The day of the game came and it was my usual day off work.  It was my usual routine of a walk down town and back, with me picking up a Chicken Jalfrezi snack pot for lunch whilst I was down there amongst other things. I came back and continued my trend of sorting through photos and tidying up blogs of games that I've been to on this day. It takes a fair while to do it, but I'd like to improve some of my blogs from earlier which were not that good. Some grounds, I'll revisit in time, but generally a tidy up sorts things. I was pleased to get a message on Twitter from the Peterborough Northern Star chairman on Twitter and was looking forward to my visit even more. I left home later than planned as ever, at 4.10. Getting to Anwar’s half an hour later, the roads were quieter than usual. The only delay was getting on the A1 with us getting to the ground at 6.30. I’d spotted a local takeaway called Nite Bite and so we headed there, having a donner burger and chips for £3.50. Portions were good and the food was tasty. We headed back to the ground, getting some pictures of the outside before paying £6 to get in. I also bought a programme for £1.50 and chatted to the friendly gateman. After getting some pictures of the inside, we settled on the halfway line for the game.

Looking at both teams form, the hosts were not in fine fettle. They'd lost their latest game ay Eynesbury Rovers on Saturday. going down 4-0 and had just one victory in their last eight games. Cogenhoe United were doing slightly better - they'd won 2-1 at strugglers Kirby Muxloe on Saturday and despite a recent 6-0 mauling at AFC Rushden & Diamonds in the Northants Cup, had a couple of 6-1 wins away at Northampton ON Chenecks & Rothwell Corinthians in recent times. True to form, Cogenhoe started brightly and took the lead on 6 minutes. It was more of a cross than a shot from Josh Norman as the visitors had by far the better of the game. Although Peterborough Northern Star had little to offer up front and this made for a dull first half. The hosts improved in the second period, but neither side really tested the keeper. We’d been chatting to a group of fans from Lincoln and Wisbech during the game and our friendly conversations were far more interesting than anything on the pitch. We left at 9.40 and due to a closure on the A1 had to make a big diversion. A further road closure in Milton Keynes meant another diversion and as a result, I didn’t drop Anwar off until 11.20. I got home myself around 20 minutes later, but as ever found it hard to drop off to sleep, despite having to be up at 4.


CHESTNUT AVENUE or the BRANCH BROS STADIUM as it is known at present for sponsorship purposes is a smart and tidy venue. There are two seated stands along the side, both holding around 50. This side is also home to a set of attractive brick dugouts. Behind the goal where you enter, there is a covered area of flat standing, this has space for around 100. There’s also an area of cover in the corner, capacity around 150. The rest of the ground is open hard standing.

There’s a bar at the ground, this does a range of drinks including Dark Fruits, Guinness, Fosters and John Smiths as well as bottles. There are two tea bars at the ground, one outside and one inside. These do the usual football fare of burgers, chips and pies as well as drinks at reasonable prices. A few minutes away is a good takeaway called Nite Bite as well as a chippy, convenience store and cash machine whilst there is plenty of parking at the ground. The programme is smart, well presented and full of stats, but with not a huge amount of reading material.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Fire United Christian - Terence McMillan Stadium

Fire United Christian FC
Terence McMillan Stadium
Prince Regent Playing Fields
281 Prince Regent Road
E13 8SD

07472 525666
Official Website
Twitter (irregular updates)

Ground Number: 829
Saturday 16th February 2019
Fire United Christian - Wivenhoe Town

Eastern Senior League D1


There's not a great deal of information on the stadium on the internet, but the stadium track in its current form appears to have been built in 1985, though there was a cinder track before then. It's possible that this existed as far back as 1965 as the ground is named after the first mayor of Newham who was in the role for the year of 1965. That said, there is no record of it on a 1971 Ordnance Survey map. He had died the previous year after serving as Labour party member for the Greater London Council from 1964 to 1967. The stadium was primarily an athletics venue and has an 8-lane track as well as a 664 seater stand at the start of its life, though this is now a newer structure holding 200. It's part of the Newham Leisure Centre which incorporates Prince Regent Playing Fields.

The first record of a football match being played at the stadium was on Sunday 15th February 1976. Though East Ham United had their own ground at Manorway (the previous September had seen a game played at that venue), this game was played at the presumably larger capacity Terence McMillan Stadium. Entrance (including programme) was 45p (£3.60 in today's money) In a game that was a fundraiser for East Ham United and Frank Lampard's testimonial fund, a crowd of 4,250. Amazingly, Spartan League side East Ham United featured George Best in their lineup, whilst West Ham had a string lineup including Trevor Brooking, Mervyn Day, Harry Redknapp, Jimmy Greaves, Alan Taylor and Alan Sealey. It was the Football League sides' 'Past & Present XI that ran out 8-7 winners in a thrilling game. The West Ham United Programmes website was a huge help in finding out information on this fixture. Since then, Woodford Town and London APSA (later to be called Newham) would have playing stints at the venue. Local side Canning Town also used it in the Essex Olympian League for a time.

Following the expansion of the Non-League pyramid last summer, a step 6 league for Essex of sorts was created, named the Eastern Senior League Division 1 South. Two of its new clubs needed a ground to play at and for Fire United Christian and Lopes Tavares, the Terence McMillan stadium was a convenient venue. I'd be going to see the former. The club was founded in 2012 as Fire United Christian by Gustavo Ferreira, and is owned by the Yehoshua Ministries, a Christian group of which Ferreira is the founder. The club has a Christian ethos, with the club's motto being "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power", which appears on the club badge. The club mainly contains players from the Brazilian community in London. They joined Division One Central & East of the Middlesex County League for the 2012–13 season. In 2013–14 the club were runners-up in the division. However, they finished bottom of the table the following season and were inactive in 2015–16. After returning to Division One Central & East for the 2016–17 season, they won the Jim Rogers President's Division One Cup in 2017–18. The club subsequently successfully applied to join the new Division One South of the Eastern Counties League. It's been a difficult season so far, with the team sitting bottom of the league at the start of the game, but still well in touch with the teams around them.


I'd originally intended to visit the Terence McMillan Stadium last Saturday for a Lopes Tavares game, but the weather put pay to that visit and I ended up going to Wormley Rovers instead. It was less than ideal as I'd been planning to go there by car and it had cost me more than I intended due to having to pay extra for a bus. Thankfully, this week leading into the weekend looked a lot drier and so, there should be no issues. Fire United was one of two clubs playing at the 'TerryMac' and neither maintained a regularly updated Twitter account. This made planning slightly harder than usual, though Fire United's website was a bit better and they seemed a friendly enough bunch.  The night before was a quiet one for me and I was in bed by 9 and asleep by 10. As a result, I woke around 6, after a good 8-hour sleep. At least it gave me the chance to add the finishing touches to my day, confirming that it would be the Harp In Trafalgar Square rather than Borough Market that I’d be visiting pre-match. After killing time and getting ready, I left at 9.20, stopping at Tesco for some Irn Bru and crisps as well as a few bits for later. I arrived in good time for my train, which was late, so I ended up leaving at 10.15. After a change at Marylebone, I arrived at Charing Cross at 11.20. From there, it was a walk to The Harp where I had a pint of DuckChicken Easter Hill Dry which was exceptional and full of flavour. A couple of halves of different Millwhites cider were enjoyed before I left at 1.15.

I was at Plaistow 30 minutes later, getting a £4.50 meal deal that filled me up. From there, it was a fair walk to the ground with me getting there 10 minutes before kick off. £6 included entry and programme, but the first half wasn’t up to much with both sides utterly inept in attack, though a poor pitch didn't help. The second half was not much better, barely any chances. The winner came a few minutes from time, Gabriel Dias chasing down a clearance which I half got on film. A scrappy goal to win a scrappy game. I got the first bus that I could find which went to East Ham station. I ended up getting off at Beckton and getting the DLR to Canning Town, the Jubilee to Waterloo and the Bakerloo to Piccadilly Circus. I went out to get some pictures that I wanted. I had planned to go to an off license in Fulham to get some drinks but I was fairly well stocked up from earlier and could nip down the local shop if needed. With good connecting trains back home, I decided to head off and by 7.40 I was back at the station and back home before 8. The evening was spent sorting photos, typing this blog and playing games on my android box before Match Of The Day came on at 10.30. It was ever, a late night, but it had been a decent weekend before work at 4 am the following morning.


The TERENCE MCMILLAN STADIUM is a fairly basic venue football-wise, with just the one area of seating. The view from this is not great due to the running track, but I've seen worse. The rest of the ground is open aside from a small shed-like structure on the edge of the running track. Food and drink choices at the ground are limited, though there are plenty of stations nearby with good takeaways. Pubs in the area are poor in my opinion, so I'd stop in central London if I was on the train.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Wormley Rovers - Wormley Playing Fields

Wormley Rovers FC
Wormley Playing Fields
Church Lane
EN10 6LB

Ground Number: 828
Saturday 9th February 2019
Wormley Rovers 0-1 Harwich & Parkeston
Eastern Senior League - D1 South


The club was established in 1921 and moved to their present home in 1954. They played in local leagues up until 1976 when they joined the Herts Senior County League. They won Division 3 at the first attempt and then in 1981 a runners-up spot was good enough to see them earn promotion to Division 2. By 1987, they had won Division 1 and earned promotion to the top tier. Wormley Rovers remained here for a couple of seasons before being relegated back to Division 1, earning promotion back up in 1991 after a runners-up spot. They'd remain here until the end of last season, finishes ranging from 2nd in 2000 and 2010 to 15th in 2016. Despite finishing 5th last season, their application to join the newly-formed Eastern Senior League D1 South was successful. They currently sit in a safe mid-table position of 12th and are enjoying a solid first season at step 6. They are yet to play in the FA Cup but made their FA Vase debut this season with a narrow 2-1 defeat to Biggleswade United. Former Premiership player David Bentley began his career at the club as a youth player. The village of Wormley has a population of less than 5,000 and is located near Broxbourne in Hertfordshire.


It was always going to be a trip to London for me on this day, I was looking forward to letting the train take the strain. For a long time, my target was Peckham Town, but then I heard that the Menace Arena would be hosting Cascadia v Chagos Islands on 25th May. A replacement was quickly found and I put a lot of work into researching the Terrence McMillan Stadium for Lopes Tavares v Brightlingsea Regent. The day of the game came and it was all a bit of a rush, I’d had a late night the night before and woke just before 10. I had a freshen up and slung some clothes on before getting my things together and leaving shortly after. Parked up near the station I got the 10.36 train out of Amersham. By then, I knew that my original choice of game was off, thanks to my mate Pete. The league and club were useless, the Eastern Counties website was down and their Twitter had not been updated since April. The lazy Lopes Tavares had not tweeted for even longer and after they turned up 20 minutes late to the game I saw at White Ensign, I hope they go back to where they come from. It grates that Mickey Mouse clubs like this were admitted to step 6, whilst decent, honest clubs were relegated due to ground grading. So I had to source an alternative, but first for a pint. After a 15 minute delay at Marylebone station due to a defective train, I got to Charing Cross at 11.50. From there, it was a short walk to The Harp. A decision was made there to travel to Wormley Rovers, who had declared game on.

I’d originally been planning to do this one by car, as it was out of the London Travelcard area. It wasn’t perfect, but a couple of pints Turning Japanese Perry and Naughty Horsey Cider took the edge off of things. I’d have happily stayed in the pub forever, but there was football to be watched. I headed back to the station at 12:45, getting the Northern Line to Euston. After trains to Tottenham Hale and Waltham Cross, it was a £5.20 return to Wormley on the bus. Getting there at 2.20, I got some Irn Bru from a local shop as well as a burger and chips from Wormley Fish Bar. From there, it was only a 5-minute walk to the ground. I unintentionally got In free, so went back to the gate to pay the £5 entry. After getting some pictures, I settled on halfway for the game. Wormley Rovers started brightly, shooting narrowly wide within the opening minute. Harwich soon replied in a lively start but it remained goalless. The opening goal came on 18 minutes, a long ball forward found Callum Griffith who controlled and finished well. Both sides had chances but Wormley were toothless up front, Harwich good value for their lead at half time. The second half started slowly, but in the last 15 minutes, Wormley had a real go at equalising, coming close on a number of occasions. It wasn’t to be though, and Harwich, who almost confirmed the win at the end, shooting narrowly wide, held on. I walked back to the bus stop, waiting a few minutes before stopping in Cheshunt, as there was a Wetherspoons. Number 183 in the chain, The King Harry was good enough, average, but better than the Wycombe one. I had a half of Old Rosie whilst catching up with things. Despite the smells of various tempting takeaways permeating the air as I walked to the station, I wasn’t really hungry until I got to the platform. I got to the station at 6.05 and had to wait 10 minutes for my train to London. I put on the phone-in on Radio 5 for as long as I could get a signal. That soon went as I got on the underground, so I had a podcast about 90s footy on. That kept me entertained until I got back to Amersham at 8. I called in at the Co-Op on the way home and got some bits for dinner. I was back home just after 8:30 and spent the evening relaxing, catching up on TV and updating my blog. Of course, Match Of The Day ended my weekend as ever, it had been enjoyable if uncertain one at times.


WORMLEY SPORTS CLUB is a pleasant venue, though its very basic. Not enclosed, the only stand is a small covered terrace on one side of the pitch. There's a tea bar and clubhouse on site, though I didn't try either. The programme is online only and is basically a small webpage. Don't let that put you off though, it's a nice place o visit, entry is good value and everyone is friendly. You can get a bus from Cheshunt or Waltham Cross train stations and in Wormly itself, there are pubs, a cafe, a chippy and if you are there for an evening game, a Chinese and Indian takeaway too.