Wednesday 1 February 2012

Camberley Town - Krooner Park

Camberley Town FC
Krooner Park
Wilton Road

01276 65392

Ground Number: 86
Tuesday 23rd March 2004
Frimley Green 1-3 AFC Wimbledon
Combined Counties League - Premier Division


Camberley Town were formed in 1895 as St Michaels Camberley. A further name change occurred after the second world war when they became Camberley. In 1967 they merged with another local club, Camberley Wanderers to become Camberley Town. After playing in various local leagues such as the Surrey Senior, Spartan and Athenian, they joined the Isthmian League in 1977. They stayed there until 2006, apart from a couple of seasons in the early 80's when they returned to the Athenian. Their highest league finish came in the 1979/80 season when they finished 10th in Isthmian League Division 1, which at the time was the third tier of the non-league pyramid. However, most of their time in the Isthmian League was spent in the lower 2 divisions and following league reorganisation they joined the Combined Counties League. They've remained there ever since, with a best finish of 2nd in 2014 and 2015.

In the FA Cup Camberley Town reached the FA Cup 1st Round in 1997/98. After beating Wokingham Town, Arundel, Ringmer, Braintree Town and St Blazey they faced a trip to football league side Brentford. They crashed out 5-0 to end an incredible run. The club lost all 3 games in the FA Trophy without scoring a goal, but they have reached the FA Vase Quarter Final twice. The latest occasion was last season when they battled bravely but lost 3-2 to eventual finalists Hereford. In terms of local cups, there has been great success over the years. They've won the Aldershot Senior Cup on 5 occasions, the most recent being last season when they beat Farnham Town in the final at Aldershot Town. The run to the final included a remarkable 7-0 win over Isthmian Premier outfit Farnborough.

Well known players to turn out in Camberley colours include Adam Crozier, Tim Sills, Darren Barnard and Phil Stant, whilst musician Rick Wakeman was chairman & vice president of the club for a while when he lived in the area.Other famous people to have links with Camberley are David Speedie and the 1980's pop bands Bros who attended the town's Collingwood School and the equally forgettable 5-Star who were another big band of the time. Given the town's dubious contribution to pop music, it's no surprise that the ground Krooner Park is not a misspelling of the word 'Crooner', in fact it was named after the horse whose race winnings were used for the purchase of the ground in the early 1920's.


I was watching AFC Wimbledon quite regularly around this time, the usual drill being: watch Wycombe reserves at 2PM on a Wednesday, then off to Kingsmeadow to see a Wednesday night game. This was due to my mate Paul being an AFC Wimbledon fan, and pretty much covering my cost for each game. I also took in a few away games too. On this occasion, it was a Tuesday night game away to Frimley Green. Due to Frimley Green Recreation Ground being little more than a railed off pitch at the time, it was decided that the game would be played at Camberley Town FC, a few miles away. I got there in good time, hoping to have a drink beforehand. But the Camberley bar was very poor, just one type of bottled beer and that was Budweiser. I think to be fair, the decision was made on police advice, as a tiny section of AFC Wimbledon fans had been involved in trouble at a recent game. So pretty much all around the ground was a ghost town in terms of what was open. 

As for the game, AFC Wimbledon moved a step closer to winning the league with a solid 3-1 win. The game was only 4 minutes old when Gavin Bolger's shot from the edge of the area put the Dons ahead. A few minutes later, it was all square with Frimley Green's Sam Scully taking advantage of hesitancy in the visiting defence to score from close range. Though Wimbledon were clear favourites, they were under the cosh at the time and the visiting keeper made some smart saves before Darren Dobinson slid in to put the Dons ahead, shortly before half time. The second half had a lot fewer chances but top scorer Kevin Cooper's tap-in sealed it for Wimbledon as defences generally came out on top


As a fan of the FA Cup, I always knew I was going to be doing a replay on this Tuesday. I'd be on my own though, as all my hopping pals were unavailable. Therefore it had to be one that was fairly cheap in terms of distance, and where I could eat at home to save even more money. So I started looking at all the grounds closest to me, that I'd either not visited, or wanted to update my blog on. The nearest was Marlow v Beaconsfield SYCOB - the first outing of which I saw on Sunday. I was sorely tempted but instead opted for Camberley Town v Bishops Cleeve who had drawn 1-1 in Wiltshsire on Saturday. It was to be a step 5 v step 4 clash, so a real chance of a giantkilling, especially seeing as Camberley had only been undone by a last minute  equaliser after the visitors looked to have won it in the 87th minute. I had visited Camberley Town before, but that was oround 12 years ago when Frimley Green used the ground to host AFC Wimbldon in a Combined Counties League game. All 'new ticks' would have involved a fairly long drive and the need to eat out, so I was more than happy to do a revisit on this occasion, especially as I'd neither seen the ground at it's best, or got photos of my own. 

On the day of the game, it was my usual day off work. Thankfully, unlike Saturday it was bright and sunny throughout, so I was able to do my usual walk down town, during which I listened to 'The Two Mikes' podcast. I came home, having lunch and doing some work on my blogs for tonight's game and also tomorrow at Godmanchester Rovers v Eynesbury Rovers, also in the FA Cup. Due to my early dinner I was able to leave at 5.50 and I was glad I did. The M25 was showing delays of 30 minutes so I decided to go cross country to the M4 and through Ascot.

I got to the ground at 7, paying £7 to get in,  plus £1 for a programme. After getting some pictures of the ground I took up a spot on the far side near the dugouts and caught up online while I waited for the game to start. Looking back at the goals earlier I was hoping they would come earlier than the last minute as on Saturday, but Camberley's goal was a bit special -  a lob from their own half that David Beckham would have been proud of. It was Camberley again that were the better side and they took the lead on 34 minutes with a bullet header from Callum Nimmo following a precise cross from the right. The visitors were offering very little in the final third and had it not been for several timely interventions they'd have been further behind. In particular just after the hour mark,  their keeper Marc Wright produced a great save to tip another powerful header over the bar. He made 2 further great saves in quick succession but it was all to no avail. Ten minutes from time the hosts were awarded a free-kick following a foul just outside the area. Dan Jewell stepped up and powered a shot into the bottom right hand corner to seal the win. Jack Horrell had the visitors a few minutes from the end,  his excellent free-kick was destined for the top left-hand corner but Camberley keeper Stuart Norman produced a flying save to keep it out.

There were no further chances, and so it's Camberley Town who go on to play Hastings United in the next round. Deservedly so too, as they were by far the better side and had provided me with a good value and enjoyable night out. I left around 9.40, and although there were a plethora of diversions and closures on the M3, I managed to sneak through before the 10pm activation time. I got home at 10.30 after listening to the league cup football on the radio. However I was interested in the FA Cup and was a little disappointed for Droylsden as they lost out to Radcliffe Borough in a replay. That means I'll be off to Salford City v Alfreton Town on the 3rd with my cheap train tickets to Manchester. The other game that I was interested in was the 3-3 draw between Marlow and Beaconsfield, the original tie of which I went to on Sunday. Beaconsfield eventually won through on penalties in that game. I was really pleased to win £30 on a bet, which leaves me £25 up for the season. This more than paid for the nights entertainment, though I won't be deducting it off my football costs. I watched TV for a bit, before going to bed around midnight, looking forward to more FA Cup football at Godmanchester the following day.


KROONER PARK is situated at the end of an industrial estate, but despite this there are still plenty of takeaways and a pub within half a mile of the ground. The facilities at the ground are decent too,  a spacious bar with a good selection and a tea bar with the usual range of burgers, although I didn't sample either during the course of the evening. 

The ground itself is decent,  there is a stand with just under 200 seats and a small but long covered terrace behind the goal with cover for another 5-600. The rest of the ground is open flat standing and it was a nice place to spend a warm summer's evening. 

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