Wingate & Finchley FC
The Harry Abrahams Stadium
020 8446 2217
Ground Number: 208
Wednesday 1st August 2012
Wingate and Finchley 2-0 Wycombe Reserves
Pre Season Friendly
When Wycombe's pre-season fixtures were announced, I was disappointed with them as I had been to all the grounds on several occasions. All except this one, that is. So this was the one I was looking forward to the most. The day before I was most dismayed to find that I would be charged £10 for entry, the same as for league games. In my opinion, some Non-League clubs are taking the mick with their prices in Pre-Season games, for what is basically a training session against a youth team, it is too much, even if it's not a huge amount in the grand scheme of things. It would certainly affect how much I spent in the ground later, normally I would get something from the tea bar, bar and shop, but would be considering carefully on this occasion. On the day, I was working till 3PM and so decided to go straight from work as I had a parcel to drop off in Uxbridge en route, and would also go into the town of Finchley itself, to see what it was like and to grab a bite to eat and drink. After dropping the parcel off and getting my money, I headed over to Home Bargains in Southall to pick up some of the remaining cans of Fiery Irn Bru. It's not very popular so is only a limited edition, so I got myself 8 cans at 19p each - bargain! I then had a not very nice commute to Finchley, it took ages in traffic jams for about 10 miles until it finally cleared up about 5 miles from the ground, ironically at peak time in 'rush hour' Getting to the ground at 5.20, I walked into town and bought myself a Samosa and a can of cider before heading back to the ground. As well as the £10 entry, I was also charged £2 for a pretty thin programme.
I was pleased to have my car actually inside the ground though, it proved useful as my phone battery was dead and needed a charge, plus I could sit and listen to the radio to kill time. With about 20 minutes to kick off, I went and took some pictures of the ground and players warming up. I had actually been here before, when on a day out in London. I had become friends with the community officer at the club through Facebook and the Non-League Forum and so we had a chat about the game. Another mate, a Hayes fan was also at the game, so for once at a fairly random game, I had some good company. Wycombe had elected to field their development squad for this fixture - basically a youth team with a few trialists. Youtube sensation Jossi Jokkinen, the Finnish player who showed an amusing way to take penalties was present in the Wycombe side for the first time that I knew of. There were also a few trialists, as well as the usual youngsters like Josh Scowen, Max Kretczhmar and Ollie Taylor. Sadly the game passed Wycombe by. Though we played some good stuff at times, we were second best by some margin and it was men against boys - literally - as Wingate & Finchley won 2-0. I think Wycombe could have done with an experienced head or 2 to help the youngsters retain possession and use the ball more effectively, that would be of benefit to their development and progress. After the game had finished, I drove home. It was a pretty good journey with no traffic or delays. I stopped at an shop on the way back for a couple of cans before bed. I stayed up a bit later than planned, however, and didn't get to bed till 1 - not clever when you are up at 4am and have a long hard day ahead of you!
THE HARRY ABRAHAMS STADIUM is a pretty decent ground in pleasant surroundings. The main stand holds around 400 and is raised above ground level so that you get a nice elevated view of the game. In front of that is some uncovered terracing, should you wish to get closer to the action. There is a decent sized covered terrace to the left, behind the goal. Opposite is another covered terrace, but this time narrower and only a few steps. Finally at the other end is hard standing but uncovered. There is a basic bar at the ground, underneath the stand. Sadly no chips at the tea bar or programme shop though. Finchley town centre is about a 15-minute walk away and has a better selection of pubs and takeaways.