Wednesday 31 August 2022

Worthing United - Robert Albon Memorial Ground

Robert Albon Memorial Ground
Lyons Way
West Sussex
BN14 9JF

Ground Number: 1102
Tuesday 30th August 2022
Worthing United 2-0 Seaford Town
Southern Combination D1


The club was established in 1988 as a result of a merger between two local sides - Wigmore Athletic and Southdown. The former of these was the most successful, their best season coming in 1975 when they finished in 3rd place in the Sussex County Division 1 behind Southwick and Haywards Heath. By the time of the merger too, results had tailed off and they were at the lowest ebb and they had been freshly relegated to Division 3. A mid-table debut season was followed up with the title in 1990 and following promotion, Worthing United would remain in Division 2 until 2003. That year, a runners-up spot behind Littlehampton Town earned them promotion to Division 1. They never really got going though and were relegated back in 2009, following a series of lowly finishes. They missed out on the title to Rye United by two points in 2010 but would be promoted the following year following a 3rd place finish. Another three tricky seasons were spent in Division 1 before a relegation but they bounced back in 2015 with the Division 2 title. By now, the league had been rebadged as the Southern Combination Premier Division. The club achieved their joint best-ever finish of 14th in 2016 but were relegated again in 2018. They now play in the Southern Combination D1 and haven't really looked like returning to the top tier since.

Worthing United had their best ever FA Cup Run in 2006. They won 2-1 at Banstead Athletic and followed that up with a 1-0 win at Sidley United. A 3-2 home win over Hamble was followed up with a 4-2 win over Romford before a 3-1 defeat at Maidenhead United in the 3rd Qualifying Round. The 1991/92 season saw them reach the FA Vase 3rd Round. They beat Ringmer, Selsey and Didcot Town 2-1 before losing by the same scoreline to Northwood. Local cup wins include the Sussex County Football League John O'Hara League Challenge Cup twice (both as Wigmore Athletic) and the Sussex County Football League Division Two League Cup (one under their former guise).

The ground is named after Robert Albon, although I've not been able to find out who he is. A more recent tragedy gained nationwide attention. The new main stand is named in honour of Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, two Worthing United players who were among the victims of the Shoreham Airshow crash in 2015. The players were on their way to a home game against Loxwood and were two of twelve victims killed in the incident. Other teams in the town include Worthing FC, freshly promoted to the Conference South and Worthing Town who play a Division lower in the Southern Combination Division 2.

Worthing is a seaside town in West Sussex, England, at the foot of the South Downs. It has a population of around 110,000. Worthing's economy is dominated by the service industry, particularly financial services. Major employers include GSK, LEMO electronics, Rayner Lenses, HM Revenue & Customs, the Environment Agency and Southern Water. The borough of Worthing has five railway stations. From east to west, these are East Worthing, Worthing, West Worthing, Durrington-on-Sea and Goring-by-Sea. All are on the West Coastway Line, which takes a straight east-west route through the area. Famous former residents include authors Jane Austen Harold Pinter and Oscar Wilde, actress Liz Smith who played Nana in the Royle Family, musician Billy Idol and
former England Goalkeeper Peter Bonetti.


Originally on this date, I had been hoping to persuade Anwar to come to Wisbech with me. We had been due to visit last season but it was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. I'd already done the research for my blog and so was hoping to use that. It was a good game against Boston Town too, but Aylesbury Vale Dynamoes had a game. With Anwar having spent £30 on a season ticket, I couldn't blame him for making use of it and so turned to Colin. We had five practical options, the nearest being AFC Stoneham. However, we decided to leave that for now, as it was a 3G pitch and they also had a potential replay in the FA Cup next week. In the end, we went for Worthing United v Seaford Town. It would all be very tight with Colin not able to get away from work until 5.45, but we could always change our minds if the traffic was bad. Plus, I'd just do it on the train on a Saturday, knowing that it was pretty good for pubs, so my research wouldn't be wasted for long.

Talking of work, I'd had two days of hell, what with the usual Sunday, followed by an equally miserable Bank Holiday Monday. These days always seem to attract people in large numbers including the dregs of society and their screaming, out-of-control kids and these days were no different. It was especially galling seeing people enjoying football games when Sunday is usually a pretty bleak day in that respect. I used to get most Bank Holidays off, only working four of them per year. However, in 2019, the government introduced a new rule allowing my employer to tear up my new contract and replace it with one with far fewer rights. Previously, it had been voluntary and my decision not to switch had been respected. I had started looking for another job, but there was not a lot about. It was seemingly a race to the bottom to offer the worst pay and conditions under this government. It seemed pointless jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire when I liked my boss and the people I work with, but I'll still keep an eye out.

The day of the game came and it was a much-needed day off. I had my usual walk to town and back, this was good exercise and covered 9 miles overall. I came back and spent the afternoon at home, having a pizza before leaving at 5.15. I was parked up in Amersham twenty minutes later and had to wait another ten minutes for Colin to finish work. On a normal day, this would have been a tricky journey but with the school holidays, it was a great journey, with us only having delays around Heathrow. We got there about 7.30, paying a very reasonable £6 to get in. Colin had left his wallet in the car but he was back in time for kick-off. We bumped into fellow hopper Vinny, a Bournemouth fan, but local lad Luke was working in Bristol. It was a really nice place to watch a game on a mild evening.

 Both sides had endured disappointing starts to the season. Worthing United were in 16th whilst Seaford Town were in 14th. The hosts had lost all of their games, losing 3-1 at home to Forest Hill Park in the FA Vase on Saturday. They'd also lost 3-0 to Epsom & Ewell, 2-0 at Wick and 4-0 to Dorking Wanderers B. Seaford Town had also lost in the FA Vase, 2-0 at Sporting Bengal United. They'd also lost 2-1 to Epson & Ewell and 4-1 at Forest Row in the league. A brighter note was a decent 2-2 draw at Godalming Town. It was the visitors who were the better side in the opening stages, but they didn't really test the goalkeeper. Worthing United got back into it later on but there were some strong tackles going in from both sides. But still, there were no serious shots on goal. The second half opened up a bit more and a good ball across the face of the goal by the hosts was nearly turned on, but the player couldn't quite make it. The scoring was finally opened on the hour, a good run and curling shot from the edge of the area by Ryan Warr. It was the first shot of note but the Seaford keeper was unlucky as he got a hand to it. Seaford got the equaliser on 72 minutes, a free kick was headed back across the goal and headed in at the back post. For a while, it looked as if the visitors might go on to win but Worthing United came close ten minutes from time when they headed against the bar. Seaford forced a great flying save out of the Worthing keeper in injury time and it had been a really good game to watch. 

There were 59 in attendance and we got away at 9.45. It again was a decent journey home and I dropped Colin off at 11.25, getting home myself 15 minutes later. Elsewhere, Wycombe had played Tottenham Hotspur Under 21's in the Pizza Trophy. They'd drawn 0-0 before winning on penalties. The best thing though was that we didn't have to waste the energy of our best first 11 in the game. A lot of youngsters were given game time, but that wasn't always the case when we had a small squad. My next game will be at my local side Holmer Green on Friday before a long trip to Manchester on Saturday.


THE ROBERT ALBON MEMORIAL GROUND is a decent venue. There's just one area of cover, a stand dedicated to the players that lost their lives in the Shoreham air disaster. This has around 100 seats and 100 standing spaces. The rest of the ground is open with the far end officially closed off. There is grass banking on three other sides that you can stand on and get a great view. The ground also has some really nice scenery. There's a bar, a tea bar and plenty of parking at the ground. Nearby is an industrial estate and retail park with the main town a couple of miles away.

Friday 26 August 2022

Diss Town - Brewers Green Lane

Diss Town FC
Brewers Green Lane
IP22 4QP

01379 651223

Ground Number: 1101
Friday 26th August 2022
Diss Town 2-0 AFC Sudbury Reserves
Eastern Counties D1 North


The club was established in 1888 following a suggestion from the local cricket club, with whom the football club initially shared the ground on Roydon Road. They joined the Norwich & District League in 1906 and then the Norfolk and Suffolk League in 1935. In 1964, they became founder members of the Anglian Combination, winning Division 1 in 1968 and 1974 and the Premier Division in 1977 & 1979. They moved to their current home in 1983 and this allowed them to make the step up to semi-pro football. In 1988, they were founder members of the Eastern Counties Division 1. A 3rd place in their debut season was a great start and in 1992, they were champions. This won them promotion to the Premier Division and then in 1996, they achieved their best-ever finish when they finished as runners-up to Halstead Town. Diss Town remained in the Premier Division until 2015 when only Ely City kept them off the bottom of the table. The club had been struggling for a while and despite 7th and 6th place finishes in their first two seasons, they've since been a fixture in the bottom half.

Diss Town have been knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle in the vast majority of campaigns. They've reached the 2nd Qualifying Round on three occasions. The most recent occasion was 2002 when they beat Gogenhoe United and Romford before losing to Chertsey Town. The FA Vase has been a far happier hunting ground. During the 1993/94 season, they won the competition. Starting in the 2nd Round, Tring Town were first up, Diss Town drew 0-0 down in Hertfordshire before winning the replay 2-0. They then won 2-1 at Ford United before another win on the road, 3-0 at Torpoint Athletic. Two home wins, 2-0 over Kings Lynn and 1-0 over Tiverton Town saw them reach the semi-final where they were paired with Atherton Laburnam Rovers. Winning 3-1 at home but losing 2-0 away meant the sides could not be separated. The home leg saw their record attendance of 1,731 on 19th March 1994. A replay at VS Rugby was needed where Diss Town came through 2-1. They beat Taunton Town by the same scoreline in the final at Wembley Stadium to lift the trophy. 13,450 saw them equalise in injury time and then score a winner in extra time. One famous name in their side was a youngster called Paul Warne who now manages Rotherham United.

Local cup wins include the Norfolk & Suffolk League Cup three times, the Anglian Combination Cup four times, the Norfolk Senior Cup four times and the Norfolk Junior Cup twice. The town of Diss is located near the Suffolk - Norfolk border and has a population of around 7,500. The town's name is from 'dic' - an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ditch or embankment. Famous people from the town include footballers Declan Rudd and Matthew Upson.


I'm always keen to do some Friday night football and on this day, there were plenty of choices. The best game, at least in my opinion, was the nearest to home. It was also a revisit to Slough Town for the FA Vase tie between Langley and Chalfont St Peter. There were two new grounds at Diss Town and Barry Town United. I'd have Colin as a passenger again and so left it up to him to choose. I gave him the options on Friday and by Tuesday he had made up his mind. It was to be Diss Town, I believe the only non-league team to be mentioned in a Specials song, in this case, Ghost Town. I'd been out on Wednesday and so did all the planning and researching on Thursday so I could get a heads up of what to expect. I was originally planning on going home before the game but with warnings about the traffic situation, I opted to leave an hour earlier and go from work.

However, it was still easier to go via Amersham and Colin was bringing his mate Joe (or Twiglet as he was nicknamed for some reason) who I'd met a couple of times before. The day of the game, was as ever, a very busy one at work but there was no way I was staying any longer than I needed to. I was away from work at 3.15 and picked Colin and Joe up at 3.45. It was a slow journey over to Diss thanks to traffic. It was a strange old route and we got there at 6.50. We parked up and then headed into town, going to the Happy Palace Chinese where I had salt and pepper chips and Thai Green Curry. It was decent, not the best but above average. I'd loved to have had a look around the town and a sit-down but time was running out. We walked back to the ground, getting there at 7.30 and paying £6 to get in.

Diss Town had a mixed start to the season. They drew 1-1 against Holland in their last game and had beaten Whittlesey Athletic 2-1. However, the game in between had not gone well with a 6-1 defeat at Framlingham Town. AFC Sudbury had played a game less, winning 2-1 at Holbeach United but losing to Norwich CBS 3-1. In my usual game of matching the kits to other teams, it was Kosovo v Netherlands. AFC Sudbury had the better of the game early on and they came close with a free kick. All Diss could manage were a couple of offside attacks but they soon got into the game. They made it 1-0 on 37 minutes when a free kick was swung in and George Erith got on the end of it with a header. Diss made it 2-0 in the second half, a ball was played through and Kyle Baker finished from just inside the area. AFC Sudbury probably deserved a goal but the Diss keeper Alex Curl was in top form and earned himself man of the match.

No official attendance had been announced at the time of writing this, but I'd estimate a couple of hundred at least. The tea bar promised great things with burgers and sausages from a local butcher. However, they'd sold out long before I got to the front of an excruciatingly slow-moving queue. It was sad to see the club miss out on vital sales and it was not the fault of the guy at the tea bar who was on his own. I fancied some chips but gave up in the end. It was nice to meet some other hoppers including 'Tractor' who was a Clacton fan and who was great company. We left around 9.50 and thankfully the journey home was far easier. I dropped Colin and Joe off at 11.45 and got home myself just before midnight having enjoyed my day.


BREWERS GREEN LANE is a superb venue for the level and is good enough for step 3 football, if not step 2. There's a 200-seater stand plus a covered terrace behind the goal that could hold at least 500. In addition, there's some more cover on the other side, although this is currently being used for storage. There's a smart bar with a limited range of drinks and a tea bar which promises much if you get there early enough. There's plenty more in town which is around a 10-15 minutes walk away. I'm not sure about public transport, but there's plenty of parking available. Overall, this friendly club are well worth a visit.