Saturday 12 September 2015

Frome Town - Blindmans Brewery Stadium

Frome Town FC
Blindmans Brewery Stadium
Berkley Road
BA11 2EH

01373 464087
Official Website

Ground Number: 517
Friday 11th September 2015
Frome Town 0-0 Chippenham Town
FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round


FROME TOWN FC was formed in 1904. After playing in local leagues, they joined the Western League in 1919. They were champions of it's Premier Division in 1979 and remained in its top division until 1996 when they were relegated to Division 1. After a series of poor finishes in the lower tier, things finally improved in 2002 when they won promotion back up. Since returning they have not looked back, winning promotion to the Southern League D1 South & West in 2009 when they finished in 2nd place behind Bitton, who were unable to accept promotion due to ground grading issues. 2 years later they were celebrating promotion again after they finished 4th but beat Mangotsfield United and Sholing in the 2 playoff games. Since 2011-12 they have played in the Southern Premier and that debut season saw their best ever finish of 12th.

They reached the FA Cup 1st Round back in 1954. They started with a Preliminary Round game against tonight's opponents Chippenham Town. After beating Salisbury, Trowbridge, Melksham & Weymouth they faced football league side Leyton Orient in the 1st Round. A record crowd of 8000 flocked to their ground to see them go down 3-0. The 1984-85 season saw their best ever run in the FA Trophy - they reached round 2 before Boston United ended their adventure. The 2004-05 season saw them reach the FA Vase Quarter Final where they lost to Jarrow Roofing. Other local cup honours have been won, most recently the Somerset Premier Cup in 2009.


As a keen fan of Friday night football and the FA Cup, I was pleased when Frome Town v Chippenham Town was moved to the Friday night. It was also deep in cider country and looking at the pub guide there was plenty of potential for a decent pre-match pint, plus some take-out options as well. Anwar said there was a strong chance that he would be able to make it which would really help out with costs. It would be a decent start to my week off work in any case. The two sides were having contrasting fortunes in the league so far. Visitors Chippenham Town were sitting proudly at the table with just one less all season. They, therefore, would be favourites to progress and attempt to match or beat their best ever run of getting to the first round, which they last did in 2005, taking Worcester City to a replay before losing 1-0. Frome meanwhile were really struggling, winless all season and with only last seasons surprise Southern League Division 1 Central playoff winners Bedworth United keeping them off the foot of the table. I was pleased the night before when Anwar confirmed he would be able to attend. Even better he could meet me nice and early, meaning we might stand a slim chance of going to a retro games shop in Keynsham. The roads are so dire that it takes ages to get anywhere and it would be cutting it fine. There was also a brilliant looking cider shop in Frome, but again slow roads would make it almost impossible to get there in time. It didn’t help that these places closed at around 5PM which is a bit daft when they might get some business from people on their way home from work.


On the day of the game, it was my last day at work before my week off. It was quite a hard day, but I was out by 12.30PM and went home for some lunch before setting off for Aylesbury at 2.15. I got to Anwar just before 2.45 and soon enough we were on our way. As predicted the roads were awful, with the A34 being the main offender where there were roadworks, and also where morons slowed down to rubberneck at an accident. Anwar called ahead to the shop we wanted to go to, Gamescene UK in Keynsham, asking what time they closed. They said 5.30, which was pretty much bang on what time we were scheduled to arrive. The guy said he'd stay open an extra few minutes for us if needs be, but even so, I put my foot down and drove at 90MPH down the M4 to make up time. It was a good job I did as once we got off at the Bath junction it was just striking 5PM and the rush hour traffic made us lose all the time that we gained. We got to the shop at 5.30 and I got Anwar to get out of the car and keep the shop open while I went and parked up.
Luckily he was just in time and the bloke was nice and friendly and happy to stay open for an extra 15 minutes. I didn't get the ISS98 game that I'd been hoping for but I did pick up a few games for 99p each. They were Chris Kamara's Street Soccer and Sydney 2000 for the PlayStation 1, plus Championship Manager 4 for the PC. Anwar also got a couple of things. After stopping at Poundland we were on our way, the next location programmed in was Co-op in Frome which was recommended to me by Lilley's Cider Barn, the local cider company I'd been hoping to visit. I was expecting a couple of bottles at best, going by the experience of the half-arsed effort that most of their stores make. But I was pleasantly surprised and spent nearly £30 on a number of ones I had not yet tried. From there it was on to the ground where we parked up. I wanted to visit one of the local pubs so after getting a programme I was in my car again. I parked halfway between the ground and the town and went to a place called The Sun Inn. It had potential, with lots of ciders on. But it didn't live up to its billing - no new ones for me, and most of the choices were off. In the end, I settled for a Thatchers Traditional and very nice it was too.

After that, I left just enough time to walk back to the ground. As I was feeling unaffected I drove the half mile back to the ground, parking in the spot I had left earlier. I paid my tenner to get in and went to the club shop to buy a pen for £1 to add to my collection. There was a sizeable crowd of 300 for this game and the pre-match atmosphere was decent with some good tunes on the tannoy. It was nice to be actually able to hear it and it was a decent volume, unlike the one at Wycombe which is pretty poor. I got myself some chips and went and joined Anwar for the start of the game, which had only been moved to Friday night because of a cheese festival in Frome the following day. 
I can't say much about the game as it was dreadful. Visitors Chippenham had a couple of ex Wanderers in their ranks, namely former striker Ollie Taylor and Andy Sandell, a left back and free kick specialist. The latter was injured sadly, which was a shame as they could have done with his inspiration. Ashan Holgate, the Chippenham striker was sent off just before the half-hour mark and from then on their tactics were relentlessly negative, sticking 10 men behind the ball and making hardly any effort to try and win the game against a poor Frome team. Of the few times the home side got forward they were totally clueless and wasted their time on the ball, scuffing crosses and misplacing passes. It was the worst game of football I had seen in a long time but at least the hosts made the effort to try and win the game. Despite the turgid encounter on the pitch, it had been a good day and a really nice club and area to visit. We made much better time going home and were back at Anwar's by midnight. I dropped him off and got home myself 20 minutes later. I sat up watching Youtube videos and drinking some of the cider I had purchased earlier. In the end, it was 4am before I got to bed, meaning I had been up 24 hours since getting up at the same time for work the previous day.


THE BLINDMANS BREWERY STADIUM is a decent little ground, with cover on 3 sides. The original main stand holds around 250 and is located on the side of the ground where you come in. Also original is the cover behind the goal, just in front of the clubhouse. There is a new stand at the other end, one of those metal 'Arena' type ones but at least on this occasion, it is elevated and offers a good view. We stood on the remaining side which was open flat standing.

The tea bar was pretty much what you would expect with burgers and chips and all that kind of stuff. The clubhouse was spacious and had a good range of stuff, though the only cider on tap was Thatchers Gold, which although nice, is widely available all over the place. The club shop had a good range of merchandise too, but not a lot of old programmes. Talking of the programme, the matchday effort was very good for the £2 with plenty to read. My favourite bit was the 'On This Day' article, which looked back through history and was funnily biased towards Brentford, who the author supported.

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