Sunday 22 January 2012

Aldershot Town - The Recreation Ground

Aldershot Town FC
The Recreation Ground
High Street
GU11 1TW

01252 320211

Ground Number: 59
Saturday 4th August 2001
Aldershot Town 0-1 Wycombe Wanderers


1:  Aldershot Town were formed in 1992 as a phoenix club to the original Aldershot FC, who went bust in March the previous season.

2:  The reformed club started life in the Isthmian League Division 3, winning the title in their first season by an 18 point margin. A second successive promotion was won the following season, though despite gaining 97 points they still had to settle for 3rd place behind Newbury Town & Chertsey Town.

3:  Aldershot Town would go on to spend 4 seasons in the Isthmian Division 1 between 1994 and 1998. They would have several near misses before eventually gaining promotion at the end of the 1997/98 season.

4:  The next 5 seasons would be spent in the Isthmian Premier, with them never finishing lower than 7th. They won the League in 2002/03 to gain promotion.

5:  The club generally did well following promotion to the Conference. In 2008 they were Champions under Gary Waddock. Following their relegation from the Football League, they returned in 2013 but have generally found things tough due to financial issues.

6:  From 2008 until 2013 they spend 5 seasons in League 2. Aldershot finished 6th in 2010 but lost out in the playoffs to Rotherham United. Things took a sharp downturn in the 2012/13 season as they finished rock bottom of the Football League after administration threats. This would go on to be a reality the following season as they were docked 10 points following their relegation to the Conference.

7:  Aldershot Town reached the FA Cup Round during the 2012/13 season. They beat Hendon, Fleetwood and Rotherham United before a narrow 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough.

8:  The Shots' finest hour in the League Cup came in the 2011/12 season. A remarkable win at West Ham in the first round was followed by victories over Carlisle United and Rochdale. They travelled to Manchester United in the 4th Round, losing 3-0 at Old Trafford.

9:  Aldershot Town have reached the FA Trophy semi-final twice. In 2004 they lost to Hednesford Town before suffering the same fate in 2008 against Ebbsfleet.

10: The club's only season in the FA Vase came in the 1993/94 season. They faced 3 games against North West Counties side Atherton Laburnum Rovers, going out 2-0 in a second relay after 2 goalless draws. 





The first time I went to Aldershot Town's Recreation Ground was in August 2001. Wycombe had a few months ago been FA Cup Semi-finalists, whilst Aldershot were still in the middle of their rise from the ashes after they had been previously liquidated and were in the Ryman League Premier Division. In a typically dullpre-seasonn friendly, it was Wycombe who got the only goal of the game, scored by Andy Rammell. It was quite lively on the tackles front for a pre season friendly, on 35 minutes, both Mark Bentley and Michael Simpson were substituted at the order of the referee, though Simpson retured to the action 10 minutes later after being bought back on!

There were subsequent visits made, most of them pretty dull. The first team highlight was probably our only competitive win at The Recreation Ground as we triumphed 1-0 in a 2004 Football League Trophy game. The match was memorable for striker Jonny Dixon's elaborate haircut with supporters chanting 'Oh Jonny Jonny, get your f*cking hair cut cos you look a twat' as he had coloured braids in his hair. The best enterianment undoubtably came in the reserves clashes that I attended in the afternoon. These included a 5-1 win in the cup with a Stuart Roberts hat-trick and a 4-3 defeat. Goals also flowed in the 3-2 defeat in December 2008, that came straight after I had been on Sky's Soccer AM the morning before.


As part of my work trying to improve some of the older blogs on my site, I had been revisiting various venues and expanding on blogs that I had written in haste when I had 168 to do all in one got at the start of my blogs life. Wycombe away games were the ideal time to revisit, and when it was announced that we had a game at Aldershot, it was an ideal opportunity to revisit the Recreation Ground. Though I'd been there many times, it was a while since I'd paid a visit, and with me keen to visit the town's Wetherspoons, should I have the time, I decided I was going to go to this friendly pretty much as soon as it was announced.

It was my usual day off work on the Tuesday, and I filled the time by walking down town for exercise and to catch up on my blogs from while I had been away. I left home at 4.45 and went to meet Paul, who I would be giving a lift to tonight. I got to him in good time,  arriving just after 5. There were a couple of delays on the way to Aldershot but nothing that you wouldn't expect in rush hour traffic.  We were parked up at the ground at 6.20 and so I made a beeline for the local Wetherspoons,  The Queens Hotel. It was a nice example of the chain with plenty of real ciders on tap,  obviously left over from the recent festival.  I had myself a BBQ Chicken Panini and chips with a pint of Thatchers Gold for the excellent price of £5.25. It set me up a treat for the game and was tasty as ever.  I took the 10 minute walk back to the ground,  arriving at 7.10. I necked a can of diet Irn Bru and went straight in,  paying £10 for entry. I met up with Paul again and got some pictures while I waited for the game to start.

It was a pleasant evening to watch a game and Wycombe started on the front foot without really creating anything.  I chose to stand on the terrace at the end we were shooting but it was down the other end that the action happened in a disastrous couple of minutes for Wycombe.  Firstly Scott Rendell,  a former Chairboy netted from 6 yards after a ball was played across on 8 minutes.  Then a minute later another former player Matt McClure showed his poachers instinct when he netted from even closer range. It was disappointing from Wycombe as Aldershot went on to dominate but a little light relief was had on the half hour mark as the water sprinklers came on mid-game and a few players got a soaking. Wycombe offered little, apart from a Garry Thompson header that clipped the bar towards the end of the first half.

The second period started in a tame fashion with the hosts continuing to hold the upper hand and Wycombe restricted to chances on the break. Wycombe made a plethora of immediate changes in the 64th minute and that nearly paid immediate dividends as they went close a couple of minutes later,  causing confusion in the box before the ball bounced narrowly over the bar. This shook Wycombe into action and they had a late rally, starting to create some good chances.  They grabbed a late consolidation as new signing Will De Havilland poked home after Aldershot failed to clear their lines properly following a Joe Jacobson free kick.  However, it was too little,  too late as Wycombe's winless run was extended to 12 games. There was a road closure on the way home, though it didn't affect me that badly with me dropping Paul off at 10.25 and getting home myself 20 minutes later.


THE RECREATION GROUND is a traditional football ground which you don't really appreciate until you go there with a groundhopper's eyes. It is located close to the town centre so you have a great choice of takeaways and pubs to visit including an excellent Wetherspoons. The only downside to this is that free parking is at a premium unless you fancy a long walk. The food in the ground looks decent but was the usual football ground prices, while the club shop is available to all fans as it is outside the ground. There is an additional bar in the home end as well as a programme shop although this has been closed whenever I have been able to access it.

The MAIN STAND is probably the best place to stand and it is where I have gone whenever the ground has been unsegregated. It has seats in the middle as well as terraces at either end with the nicest option being to watch at whatever end your team is shooting. It is pretty much all covered and offers good views of the action with few supporting pillars given its age.

The SOUTH STAND is a smaller seated stand, again with decent views. It straddles the halfway line and housed the Wycombe fans during our 1-0 win in the Football League Trophy in 2004. There is uncovered terracing on either side.

THE EAST BANK is a covered terrace with a barrel shaped roof which looks to have had an extension added to the front. As a result there are a number of supporting pillars. This gets a good atmosphere going under it with it split between home and away fans, with visiting supporters also getting some of the South Stand for those who wish to sit.

THE HIGH STREET END had no accommodation for supporters until my last visit.  However, ground grading regulations dictated that a further 250 seats were needed and these were added in the form of a small metal seated stand, the type of which have become commonplace at smaller club due to their low cost and convenience.

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