Monday 30 January 2012

Egham Town - Runnymede

Egham Town FC
Runnymede Stadium
Wards Place
TW20 8XD

01784 435226
Official Website

Ground Number: 81
Saturday 6th December 2003
Egham Town 0-1 Windsor & Eton
Ryman League Division 1 South


Egham Town were founded in 1963 and played in the Pantheon, Surrey Senior, Spartan & Athenian Leagues before joining the Isthmian League in 1977. Starting in Division 2, they'd stay at this level until 1998 when they were relegated to Division 3, a complete contrast to the 1990/91 season when they finished in 3rd, narrowly missing out on promotion. Things didn't start well after their relegation with their first game being a 9-0 defeat to Camberley Town. They soon recovered though and in 2001/02, league organisation meant that 6th place was good enough for promotion to the newly established Isthmian D1 South. 2002/03 would see their highest ever placing in the non-league pyramid as they finished 10th at what was then step 3. Despite this, they'd suffer a double relegation in the next 2 season, the second being especially difficult as they were moved to the Southern League Western Division, with much-increased travelling costs. From 2005 until 2013, they'd play at step 5, one season in the Isthmian League Division 2, and the rest in the Combined Counties League following reorganisation. Finishes were always at mid-table or above and in 2012/13, their first league title since the 1970's entitled them to promotion to the Southern D1 Central. Since then they've done well and just missed out on promotion last season. A third-placed finish was followed up by a playoff semi-final defeat to St Ives Town on penalties. This season they were sitting in 10th, with an outside chance of another shot at the playoffs should they put a good run together.

In the FA Cup Egham Town reached the 4th Qualifying Round for the second time this season. Bracknell Town, Arundel, VCD Athletic and Faversham Town were defeated to set up a tie against St Albans City. They narrowly lost 1-0 and missed out on a tie against football league side Carlisle United. Success in the FA Trophy has been limited, with the 2nd Qualifying Round in 2013/14 being their best effort so far. 1984/85 saw the club reach the FA Vase 4th Round before a 2-0 home defeat to AFC Sudbury. Local cup wins include the Egham Twinning Tournament several times and the Southern Combination Floodlit Cup in 1979.

The town of Egham is most famous for being the place that the Magna Carta was signed in the year 1215, and the football ground's name of The Runnymede Stadium recognises the locality that the signing took place in. The most famous past resident of Egham is actress Hilda Braid. She lived in the town for around 8 years and although she was most well-known for playing Nana Moon in Eastenders, she had a long and varied career including starring as Florence Johnson in sitcom Citizen Smith. 


My first visit to Egham Town came on the 6th December 2003, which was FA Cup 2nd Round Day. Nowadays I'd no doubt be at an FA Cup game if there was a groundhop available and that's exactly where I was on the previous night, watching Wycombe draw 1-1 with Mansfield Town. For some bizarre reason, this run of the mill encounter was covered on Sky TV despite there being several non-league v league clashes. At least it gave me the chance to visit somewhere new on the Saturday as I was following Wycombe home and away at the time and so didn't get many chances to see other teams.

I wasn't really a groundhopper at the time, although I did enjoy watching Windsor & Eton as they had a huge number of ex-Wycombe players at the time. I took my usual football mates Paul & Sue as they had the same idea as me about watching random games. I don't remember a huge amount about the day, but it was a decent one. I remember the club's amusing nickname of 'The Sarnies' based on their name sounding like Egg & Ham. I also remember the excellent chips at the ground, which were so delicious that I had 3 portions. I can't recall if I got a programme at the time, but I did get a copy from the Windsor club shop later on. Looking back, it's a great effort, with a cover that is very much of the time, design-wise. There's also lots to read in it, including some good stats.

On the pitch, several ex-Wanderers featured. Dave Carroll, who was an absolute legend for Wycombe got the only goal of the game when his superb free-kick curled around the wall and past Egham keeper James Mercer. The free kick had been won by another former player Keith Scott who had also played in the Premiership for Swindon Town. Chuck Martini. Jason Cousins, Matt Brady and Ryan Parsons also featured and were managed by Dennis Greene who has just left Boston United in the present day.


I was on my own again this week, owing to fellow hopper Anwar opting to stay in and watch Arsenal on the TV rather than going to a game. With my nearest new grounds at Three Bridges and Haringey & Waltham involving gruelling rush-hour journeys on the M25 and in London. So I decided that as revisit was in order. Out of all the local fixtures that were listed, Egham Town v Farnborough jumped out. It was only 25 miles away meaning that fuel costs would not be too expensive and I could eat at home. It was also a decent-looking game and a ground that I had barely written about on this blog, and I wanted to do it justice. Doing my research I noticed that the club had changed their home colours to red and white to reflect the clubs forerunners Runnymede Rovers. Looking at the match preview on the Farnborough site, I noted that I'd be seeing a player that I had seen on my last visit to Runnymede. Ryan Parsons had played for Windsor when I last visited, but tonight the ex-Wycombe left back was on the bench. Their substitute keeper James Reading had been a youth player for us, whilst Dennis Oli would be again lining up for Farnborough - he had a mediocre spell for us under Peter Taylor around 8 years ago, having sounded a promising signing upon arriving from Grays Athletic.

On the day of the game I was off work and so started my walk down town early, so as to have my hair cut. With that completed I still had time to get all my Christmas cards and also a few bits for myself. I came home and had lunch and for once I had time to spare, and so could catch up on a few things. After having dinner I left at 6.30, not in any rush as I'd already got a programme from this venue. Generally, the trip over was good, once I'd navigated the ever confusing Crooked Billet 'Roundabout' I arrived at 7.15, parking in a nearby side street and walking to the ground. I paid £8 to get in and caught up online. Initially, the floodlights were only half on to save money, but 15 minutes before kick off, they were turned fully on and I could get some updated pictures of the ground. Unlike at Marlow earlier this season where I'd barely seen a Farnborough fan, they were out in force and congregated behind the goal where their team was attacking, and were in good voice too.

The game started off with Farnborough in their white change strip, despite there being no colour clash as Egham were in their usual red kit. Farnborough also had red as their first choice kit for a while, back when the controversial Graham Westley was in charge but had seen sense when he left and reverted to their traditional yellow and blue kit. Farnborough came close very early on but the shot just narrowly missed the top right-hand corner. It was a bright opening half, with near misses at both ends, but it remained scoreless at the break. I'd been hoping to get some chips at half time on the account of them being excellent last time out, but the club no longer sold them.  The second half started with hosts Egham well on top and they were rewarded on 48 minutes when they opened the scoring. Wes Daley advanced into the box on the right-hand side and planted a calm low shot in the bottom left-hand corner of the goal. They continued to be well on top for a good 15 minutes, though for reasons known only to the, they started to slow things down and try and take the sting out of the game. This annoyed Farnborough and they were on at the referee to hurry things up. They turned their annoyance into something positive as they started to take a hold on the game after being restricted to chances on the break for the first part of the half. Their equaliser came on 70 minutes when time home side failed to clear their lines. Former Wycombe fan Dennis Oli flicked on for Sam Shaban to drill home and this led to the visitors having their own good spell.

In the end though, neither side could find a winner in what had been a very good game. Visitors Farnborough will have been most frustrated, having lost the chance to make up ground on league leaders Royston Town, and I've now seen them draw both times I've seen them this season. There'd been only one result I'd been interested in away from my own game and that was the one that decided who Wycombe would be playing in the FA Cup 3rd Round. I was delighted when non-league Stourbridge defeated Northampton 1-0 as we will now face an interesting tie in the new year at home. I listened to Black Country Radio on the way home as they had excellent coverage of the game and it got me buzzing for the game. I've seen Stourbridge twice before, both times have seen them win, defeating Glossop North End 3-0 in 2005 and Bashley 5-0 in 2012, so obviously I'll be hoping for a less impressive result for them when we face them. I was in by 10.15 and typed my blog in bed before watching Dave Gorman's Modern Life Is Goodish, going to sleep around midnight.


On my first visit back in 2003, I was the proud owner of a new digital camera, which were quite rare at the time. I must have been still in the mindset of having to pay for the film to be processed, as I only took 6 photos. It was an impressive ground for the level, which at the time sat at step 3 of the pyramid. There was cover on all 4 sides, two seated and tow standing and the whole ground was well kept and painted in the club colours of green and yellow. I remember the tea bar being excellent and the bar being decent too.


There wasn't a massive amount of change when I went back. The colours had been changed to red and white, and this took a bit away from the ground as the yellow and green was really imposing. Strangely, despite this change, the red seats from the far end goal had disappeared and had been replaced by sporadically placed white ones. On the far side where were now three areas of cover, though I can't tell how this compares to my first visit due to lack of photos.

The tea bar was not as good as my first visit, none of the excellent chips, and just burgers from what I could tell. The bar was like last time, with big screen TV and football memorabilia on the walls. Nearby there was a pub and a few takeaways, so that may be your best bet if you fancy something more substantial.

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