Netherton United FC
Ground Number: 393
Saturday 2nd August 2014
Netherton United 2-1 Thorney
Peterborough & District League
As I said in the previous blog, I was sceptical about the Peterborough and District League, as I do like to see some kind of stand or cover at the grounds I visit. My worst fears were confirmed at Riverside, when it was just a roped off pitch ages from the club house and the food and drink options were very limited. To add insult to injury it rained, and I got absolutely drenched, meaning I needed a change of clothes, and wasn't in the jolliest of moods when I made my way to the game. Never mind Riverside, it felt more like I had been in the river.
Netherton certainly seemed to be a bit more of a professional outfit judging by their programme. It was a nice glossy issue and had lots to read in it. This turned out to be the case, as I would discover later. I learned that they had tried to get in the United Counties League at the end of the season. But the Peterborough & District League, said no, as they were only allowing one club up and Kings Lynn Reserves had taken that place. 2nd place was not good enough in their case, but their opponents Thorney did not mess around. They absolutely stormed Division One of the PDFL, winning 27 and drawing 3 of the 30 league games they played in. With Kings Lynn Reserves winning that league the season before and going on to be Champions again this year, hopes were high for both clubs.
After taking 20 minutes to change after getting soaked, I then had to fight my way through roadworks in Peterborough, which of course had no bugger working on them, and seemed to go on for miles for no reason. I then had fun and games trying to find the ground, looking round a housing estate for it, but eventually I saw a couple of other cars, followed them and bingo, I was there. I sat in my car for 10 minutes, before making my way into the ground 20 minutes before kick off.
What opened before my eyes, made me happy. Maybe it was the low expectations after the spartan facilities at the previous ground. But it was actually very good. First off there was plenty of signage and other photo opportunities. There was a bar with loads of pictures and other stuff. There was even a fancy video screen with the teams on, and sports on another screen too. Best of all was the tea bar, which offered a huge range of food, and I had a delicious chicken kebab for £3, which was a lot cheaper than you could buy it for at most kebab shops. The bar had a nice range of drinks too, but nothing new, so I got a bottle out of my car and had that instead.
There was a really nice vibe about the place too. There was a draw where you could pick a football team - loads were listed from all walks of the game. My boys Wycombe were gone, so I settled for a team that I knew loads of people from - Grimsby Town. It was a quid a go, in the end the guy who picked Oldham Athletic won it. It reminded me of the cards that they did at my younger brothers football tournaments back when he was a nipper. It inspired me to have a go and was a lot more imaginative than simply selling raffle tickets out of a book.
In the end, I didn't have as much time as I'd have liked to relax before the game. But that was my own fault as I took my time after the previous game, as I wasn't expecting much at this venue. So I made my way into the ground just as the teams were being read out and the teams were kicking off. As for the game, Netherton triumphed 2-1, and the winner was a brilliant free kick, which I happily got on video. I was dead pleased for them, as they were a lovely club, and the facilities had restored my faith in the Peterborough & District League. They seem a really ambitious bunch of people, and it would be nice for them to make the step up, should results go their way.
THE GRANGE is a really good venue for the level. As mentioned above the bar and tea hut are top notch, the only thing that was a bit of a let down was the club shop, as they only sold badges. You'd not expect anything more at this level, but it would have been nice to have more choice. As for the ground, it is a 3G pitch in a cage. It's nothing amazing, as it only has 2 sides, and an area of covered standing holding around 100. But it's streets ahead of others in this league. I'd imagine to make the step up to the UCL, they would need to add seats, and I guess the most likely place for that would be to the right hand side of the goal, where there is enough space.