Ground Number: 563
Monday 28th March 2016
Radford 5-0 Kimberley MW
East Midlands Counties League
RADFORD FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
RADFORD FC was established in 1964, initially known as MANLOVE & ALLIOTS and later on RADFORD OLYMPIC. Following a move to Saturday football, they became the first amateur side in British football to wear advertising on their shirts. In 1983 they became founder members of the Central Midlands League. They stayed here until 2008, playing as members of the wonderfully named 'Supreme Division' In that year they became founder members of the East Midlands Counties League and remain there to this day, with a best-ever finish of 3rd last season. They were doing even better this time out, sitting 2nd and with a really good chance of being promoted.
Success in national cup competitions has been thin on the ground. They gained their first FA Cup victory this season beating Sleaford Town before going on to lose to AFC Bridgnorth in the Preliminary Round. The FA Vase has been a similar tale of woe with only the 1st Round reached, which again was matched this season. In terms of honours, the club won the Central Midlands League Cup in 1984. Radford itself has notable history as it was the birthplace for Raleigh cycles and Players cigarettes. The ground itself is located in an area called Hyson Green, notable for being the birthplace of former Notts County & Everton goalkeeper Fred Geary who played during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
When the fixtures for Wycombe came out, Notts County was one for me that I had a 50/50 chance of visiting. I'd been there many times before, but it was a good day out. A couple of weeks before the chances of me visiting were severely diminished thanks to the fact that I'd originally been scheduled to be in work. I eventually negotiated it off but in the end any chance of me visiting was put to bed by the disgusting £24 asking price for tickets in the Wycombe end. Fourth division football let's not forget and yet an asking price that was nearly as much as some Premiership games and significantly more than I had paid at Aston Villa, Mainz and Eintracht Frankfurt, who were all, for now at least, top-flight sides. There were Wycombe fans clamouring for a lift though and I was more than happy to oblige, especially as it gave me the chance of doing a hop whilst getting my fuel costs paid. I was initially looking at Carlton Town, but with not so much nearby to do pre-match, I decided on Radford which was just 3 miles away. They had a local derby against Kimberley Miners Welfare which was only a fiver to get in. Plus there was plenty of choice near the ground to eat and drink.
On the day of the game, I woke around 7am. I was dismayed to hear of games being called off all over the place, especially ones that were fairly near my eventual destination. Both Glapwell (which I’d been considering as part of a double) and Staveley Miners Welfare being called off. The horrible storm Katie had also caused lots of damage at various non-league clubs up and down the country, causing them repair costs that they can ill afford. That and the fact that clubs were losing out on a bumper bank holiday crowd must have hit them hard in the pocket. After stopping at Morrisons to get some drinks for the game I met Paul, Luke and Alex at the train station. We had a decent journey up but did have to come off a junction early on the M40 as someone had an accident and there were massive tailbacks. We had to go through some Northamptonshire backwaters but at least it saved us a frustrating delay. We got to Notts County at 12.15 and after dropping the lads off I made the 15-minute journey to Radford. After checking that the pitch was fine I walked just over a mile to the local Wetherspoons called 'The Gooseberry Bush'. It was a strange one, near the university and full of noisy students in fancy dress. They must have been off on holiday as the floor was littered with various suitcases though finding a table was no problem. It's not often I get to do 'Mexican Monday' but the pulled pork Quesadilla was excellent and came with a pint of Thatchers Gold for the £6.25 asking price. As the Wetherspoons didn't have any decent cider on I walked around the corner to the Golden Fleece. It was deserted, don't know why though as it was a great place. I had myself a pint of Farmer Fear Herb infused cider before walking back to the ground. It was strange, plonked in the middle of an Asian and Polish stronghold but the couple of lamb samosas I had were fantastic and probably the best I've ever had. I think that looking on Google Maps, the shop name was 'Laziz', but in any case, they had only just been freshly made and were all the better for it.
I made my way into the ground paying £5 entry and also getting a programme. After getting some pictures of the ground I settled down in my favourite position of between the dugouts for the game. The scoring started as early as the second minute with Jahred Russell scoring with a low diagonal shot into the bottom left-hand corner. The same area of the goal saw the lead doubled on 19 minutes as Casey Knight's shot was deflected in by visiting defender Chris Sankey. Just before the half-hour mark, it was three. A free-kick was initially palmed away by the visiting keeper Dan Turner but Joe Hegarty was on hand to fire into the roof of the net. I managed to capture the moment on camera, the video is below. The visitors managed to take the sting out of the game in the second half, but even so, they had chances to extend their lead. It took until 80 minutes for them to score again with Dan Hegarty getting his second after he got the last touch in a goalmouth scramble. Right on time, Radford got a 5th, this time it was Frazer Campbell who was at the far post to slot home. After the game I drove back to Notts County, listening to some of the game on the radio as it had lots of injury time. By all accounts it was a dour 0-0, making the high ticket price even more ludicrous. Despite reports to the contrary, Robin Hood is alive and well in Nottingham, only this time he is taking from football fans and giving to a bloated squad of underachieving players if some of the comments from their fans that I have seen are true. I met the lads but didn't leave Nottingham until 5.30. We made good time on the way home, with just the long-running and extensive roadworks holding us up, as well as traffic, being heavy as we came off the M40 at Wycombe. We got back just after 7.30 but with 3 drop offs to do, I didn't get home until 8. I spent the evening watching TV before going to sleep, having had a decent day.
SELHURST STREET is an old style non-league ground with a fair bit of character. It's hemmed in on all 4 sides by existing buildings so space is a bit tight. There are a few areas of covered standing, probably enough to keep 200 fans dry at a push. There is also covered seated stand with a capacity of around 100. There's a bar and a tea hut as well, though I didn't use them on this occasion. Around the ground is a very multicultural area, but at least that means you won't go hungry with several outlets offering decent food at cheap prices. Further afield there are some decent pubs, though I didn't use it 'The Lion' looks very good and is under half a mile away. Overall it's a good value day out at a friendly club and well worth making a visit.