Sunday, 8 July 2012

Enfield Town - Queen Elizabeth Stadium

Enfield Town FC
Queen Elizabeth Stadium
Donkey Lane

07903 673487
Official Website

Matchday Number: 204
Sunday 8th July 2012
Enfield Town 3-1 Wrexham
Supporters Direct Cup

I was looking through the pre season fixtures back in June when this one popped up, well at least Enfield Town v Wrexham did. This was a day of 2 Supporters Direct Cup games and initially I thought I wouldn't be able to make the first game as it kicked off at 1PM and I don't normally finish work will 2 on Sundays. However, I decided to chance my arm and see if I could go at 12. The boss said it was OK as long as everything was done, It was in hope more than expectation though, as Sunday's normally a busy day.

I went into work on the Sunday to be greeted of my mate Paul on crutches, owing to a swollen ankle. After a bit of mickey taking and banter, I got on with what needed to be done and got everything completed on time. In fact I got to go at 11.15 as work were aiming to save hours, so it was a win-win situation for both parties.

After dropping Paul off home, I made my way to Enfield, getting there just before 12.20. To my shock I discovered that my phone was almost dead, despite having it on charge the whole journey. Turned out that the sat nav part had sucked all the juice out of the battery, strange, as that has never happened before. I let it charge to 30% and then went in the ground, around 20 minutes before kick off. First thing I did was go to the club shop and bought a pennant. I have lost all discipline when it comes to buying these. Initially I bought them at any price, and got so many I ran out of space on my walls and sold the lot at a loss on eBay. Then at Tamworth in 2008 I saw one for £1 and thought sod it. From then on I told myself that I would only buy them if they were mega cheap. My intentions started off well, picking them up at Ware for £2 and Folkestone Invicta for 50p. But now I have got into the habit of getting one every time I go to a new ground, today paying £4. I still havn't paid much more than that (I think the most was £5 at Brighton for a special ground opening one. But again my wall is full, I am not however going to sell them this time. After that I met my mate Rob, who I had initially met a couple of months earlier when I went with him to Blackburn Rovers the night they were relegated.

The cup was based on clubs that have had financial troubles and have been taken over by supporters, returning the clubs to the heart of the community and safe guarding them from any dodgy dealings again. First up were Fisher, who as Fisher Athletic were in the Conference in the early 90's. Even as recently as 2007 they were in the Conference South and had a smart modern ground in the Surrey Docks. However failed plans to redevelop some of the ground into flats meant financial peril for the club and they moved in with Dulwich Hamlet, initially while plans for development were ongoing, but eventually they lost their ground and it still stands today, albeit in a highly derelict state. They were up against Lewes who were also in the Conference recently, but over stretched themselves and ended up in trouble. It was the club from the delightfully named Dripping Pan that won it, edging a dull game 1-0, perhaps due to Fisher's lack of strikers more than anything. At half time I had looked for some chips at either the cafe or the burger van, but they didn't have any. At full time I went back to my car to recharge my phone and made do with a pack of biscuits that I had bought for 29p the previous day. 5 minutes before kick off of the second game I made my way back to the ground.

The second game was a lot better to start with, Enfield roaring into a 2 goal lead with a couple of quick goals around the 10 minute mark, through Liam Hope and Mark Kirby. Wrexham looked worse than a rather fetching summer shirt I saw some bloke wearing, but in the end they did pull one back. But before half time Enfield reclaimed their 2 goal lead, Hope getting his second goal. Much like the game I saw yesterday, the second half was a bit of a non event, and in the end I was fairly happy to hear the full time whistle. It has been a decent day though, despite the football, catching up with a mate and ticking off another ground, which like yesterday seemed really friendly. After a fairly hassle free drive home, I got back just after 6, really looking forward to my Sunday Roast after not having anything hot at lunch.

THE QUEEN ELISABETH STADIUM was opened for football in 2011, after Enfield Town has lodged at Brimsdown Rovers for the first 10 years of their existence. Town came from the ashes of the well know non league team Enfield, in protest at bad ownership.

It was a dilapidated Athletics stadium when they first announced plans to move in, but they modernised it and cleaned it up, and now have a home to be proud of. Although the main stand is set well back from the pitch, the view from it is good, due to it's raised height. This stand and building also hosts the bar, cafe and dressing rooms. Although it is nicely done up, the range of food and drink is pretty basic, and as I mentioned earlier, no chips. Opposite this is another seated stand - one of those metal arena ones that look like they come in flat pack form. Unusually for a ground with an athletics track, the 2 areas of cover at each end are right next to the pitch and though they are of the metal type again, they provide a fairly decent view and protection from the elements. There is a club shop at the ground, but sadly no old programmes. There are still a decent range of other bits and pieces though, all at reasonable prices.

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