Sunday, 21 August 2011

Wealdstone - Grosvenor Vale

Wealdstone FC
St George's Stadium
Grosvenor Vale

(01895) 637487
Official Website
Twitter (Supporters)
Twitter (Press Officer)

Ground Number: 167
Tuesday 26th July 2011
Wealdstone 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Pre Season Friendly


Wealdstone FC is one of non-leagues most famous names and have a rich and varied history. League wise their heyday came in the 1980s when they were big hitters at non-league's top table - the Conference, also formerly known as the Alliance for the early part of the decade. After winning promotion from the Southern League in 1982, they wasted no time in adapting to life at the higher level, finishing 3rd and 4th in their first 2 seasons before winning the Alliance Premier League (Conference) in 1985. Their joy was short lived however as a period of decline set in, which saw them relegated to the Isthmian League. Even worse they lost their Lower Mead ground in 1991 due to financial issues and spent the next 17 years in a nomadic existence, sharing at Watford, Yeading, Edgware and Northwood before finally buying Ruislip Manor's ground in 2008. After years of erratic form, they secured their status in the Ryman Premier before winning promotion in 2014 to the Conference South. Last season's 12th placed finish was their joint highest in the non-league pyramid since 1991 when they finished 12th in the Southern Premier, which was at that time at step 2.

Cup successes have been frequent for the Stones. Most notably they were the first team to complete the 'Non-League Double' when in 1985 they won the FA Trophy as well as the Gola League title. Beating Wycombe along the way, they defeated Boston United in the final at Wembley stadium. Since then, Colchester United and Wycombe Wanderers have also achieved this double. They also won the FA Trophy's predecessor, the FA Amateur Cup in 1966, beating Hendon 3-1 in the final. They have also had some great FA Cup runs, getting to the 3rd Round in 1978. After beating Maidstone in the 4th Qualifying Round they then went on to beat league sides Hereford United Wand Reading before losing to Queens Park Rangers.

As well as a number of players turning out for both Wycombe and Wealdstone, the club can also boast launching the careers of Jermaine Beckford, Stuart Pearce and Vinnie Jones. However, it is another hard man that the club have become famous across the world for. Step forward one Gordon Hill, AKA 'The Wealdstone Raider' The builder and roofer was just another fan, until one fateful day in March 2013, when Wealdstone travelled to Whitehawk FC. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, but a Youtube video was about to go viral. It showed the Raider, cigarette in one hand and pint in another heckling Whitehawk fans with the now famous phrases 'You want sum?', 'You got no fans' and I'll give it ya' Intoxicated at the time, usually the dullard authorities would be whining and calling for him to be banned for a fairly harmless exchange. However, the Raider has turned it around, becoming a minor celebrity and releasing a single for the charity Great Ormond Street Hospital, which he has raised over £10,000 for. The interest is not showing any signs of waning and the man himself refuses to take any money for himself, so hopefully a lot more money can be raised for charity.


Wycombe continued their sketchy pre-season form with a fortunate draw in Ruislip. It was fairly local for me so I could afford to leave fairly late, not much of a day out, but at least it saved me some cash. (The following is a report from Chairboys On The Net)

Wanderers fielded two trialists as they drew 1-1 away to Isthmian League and old rivals Wealdstone on Tuesday evening. Matt Bloomfield slotted home from close on 16 minutes to give Wycombe the lead but the home side hit back on the stroke of half-time when David Hicks tapped home past Steve Arnold. Manager Gary Waddock, who had previously stated he would not be using trialists in the pre-season games, gave a ninety minute run out to former Nottingham Forest defender Craig Doig. The 30-year-old is currently looking for a return to English football following spells playing in Indonesia and Australia. He originally enjoyed an 8-year spell with Forest before making more than 120 appearances for Northampton Town and then moving down under in the summer of 2009. The other trialist was 18-year-old West Ham Academy goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet. The Turkish U18 player took over in goal during the second period as Wanderers contained a lively Wealdstone side who hit the woodwork on two occasions


After a break of 10 days since my last game, I was looking forward to getting back into football, especially as it involved my own team. It would ‘only’ be my 4th game of the season - last season on this date I’d completed 12 games already. The reason for the drastically reduced numbers were twofold. Firstly I’d been in Las Vegas for just under a week and though I had a great time, sadly the Las Vegas Mobsters ‘soccer’ team were away. Also I was trying to be a bit more careful with my money this season, after going well over budget with last season’s exploits. On the day of the game I was on my day off from work, but with a long list of ‘jobs’ to do. Most of them remained incomplete but I did at least get some exercise by walking into town, hoping to start negating the effects that a week of excessive overindulgence had on my body. I also posted off a couple of parcels for things that I had sold on eBay, and further planned my football season, which will see me visiting my 500th ground in a weeks time. After having dinner I left just before 6, making good time, meeting Paul and Sue and getting to the ground at 6.50.

As soon as we got there and parked up I went straight in and got some pictures of the ground which to my reckoning had a new stand behind the goal since my last visit. I went and had a look in the club shop which had a great selection of programmes but sadly none that I needed. Until the game started I checked Facebook and listened to the very decent pre-match music selection. Wycombe had brought their whole squad and also featured 3 trialists. For the first half I stood behind the goal we were attacking and chatted to some of our fans including Anwar who I gave a list of potential games to attend in the next week. As for the game, we started well but despite having the better of the game the Stones took the lead on 35 minutes when Elliot Godfrey scored with an excellent volley from just outside the box. Wycombe needn't have worried though, within a few minutes they were level. It was trialist midfielder Luke O’Nien who headed in from a corner, his last club being Watford where he was released from in the close season. The second half started in much the same manner, despite changes to both sides. Wealdstone had improved a bit however as it was only a Marcus Bean clearance off the line and a miss from Wealdstone's Dale Binns that prevented the Stones from taking the lead. However, Wycombe were soon ahead when another trialist, Steven McGinn tucked the ball away at the back post after the home keeper flapped at a Joe Jacobson cross. The lead was extended on 65 minutes when Garry Thompson, our summer signing from Notts County finished from just inside the area. The result was probably justified though Wealdstone could count themselves unlucky not to get another goal on the scoresheet. It had been a nice evening at a really friendly club. As I was leaving one of their officials was wishing myself and other Wycombe fans the best of luck for the season. This was a really nice touch and added to the nice feeling I had about the game. It was nice to catch up with so many people as well. After dropping Paul & Sue off at 10.15, I was back home 15 minutes later. I watched TV in bed, but due to my head buzzing from the game, I hardly got a wink of sleep and was pretty tired when I got up for work at 4am the following morning.


GROSVENOR VALE was originally the home of Ruislip Manor. I visited there to take photos sometime around 2004. Since leaving the ground they have not had it easy, renaming themselves Tokyngton Manor. After the ground that they lodged at, Avenue Park in Greenford was deemed unsafe they had a years ban from the Spartan South Midlands League. They currently play in the Middlesex League, basing themselves at Amersham Town's ground.

Wealdstone took over the ground in 2008 and gave it a facelift, decking it out in the club colours and generally tidying the place up. The club are looking to progress as far as possible after controversially missing out on The Hive complex in Harrow after the council decided to give it to Barnet instead. They have made a pretty good job of it, improving facilities as they progressed up the leagues. There is cover on all 4 sides, including a decent sized terrace behind the goal and a new stand on the dar side. There are good tea bar, club shop and clubhouse facilities, while if you want more choice the town of Ruislip is not far away.

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