Saturday, 23 April 2016

Northampton Spencer - Kingsthorpe Mill



Northampton Spencer FC
Kingsthorpe Mill
Studland Road
Northampton
Northamptonshire
NN2 6NE


01604 718898






Ground Number: 583
Saturday 23rd April 2016
Northampton Spencer 2-0 Raunds Town
United Counties Reserves League



Originally on the day of this game I’d been planning on going to Portsmouth v Wycombe as it’s one of the best away days in the league. But what with my favourite pub near the ground closing and the dull standard of football that was being played, I decided against with. With the absence of any hoppers to accompany me, there was really only one choice, despite it being a reserves game. The previous Tuesday while Wycombe were playing out a dull 0-0 draw with Yeovil, Northampton Spencer played their last ever home league game when they lost 1-0 to local rivals Northampton Sileby Rangers. The reason for this is that they are folding at the end of the season, due to an ageing committee and no one willing to step in and help. It’s a sad state of affairs that 80 years of footballing history is going down the pan, but it’s a common problem amongst clubs. There are some lucky ones such as Atherton Collieries who have a young and vibrant group of people behind the scenes but that seems to be an exception to the rule. A complete lack of community spirit which was exemplified by even more bad luck that hit the club in the past week. The clubhouse suffered a break in, in fact it suffered a break in for the FIFTH time in 2 weeks, however the latest mindless attack was the one that caused all the damage with the attempted flooding of the bar, pulling down the roof, smashing windows and wrecking the kitchen. It’s unlikely that the scum that did this will ever be caught - I can’t see the Police making much effort because as well as cuts, there’s not really anything in it for them. Even if the culprits are brought to justice then they will probably get nothing more than a slap on the wrist, such is the lack of punishment for wrong’uns nowadays. In any case, it will be too late for a club who won’t be around for much longer, and despite the vast majority of people being great, you can’t help but be angry at the mindless minority.


NORTHAMPTON SPENCER were formed in 1936 and were initially known as Spencer School Old Boys. After playing in local leagues for the first 30 or so years they joined the United Counties League in 1968. They initially played in the leagues second tier, but not for long as a runners-up spot in their first season was good enough to see them promoted. They've spent the vast majority of their history in what is now called the Premier Division apart from a couple of spells between 1981 and 1985 and 2012-2015. The worst finish was the 1981-82 season when they finished bottom of Division 1 but 10 years later they had recovered and bounced back in style, winning the Premier Division for the only time in their history.

In the FA Cup there hasn't been a huge amount of success but they did reach the 2nd Qualifying Round in 1999 and 2009, The FA Vase has been a happier hunting ground with them reaching the 4th Round in 1988. They made a meal of getting past the first hurdle, taking 2 replays to beat Knyppersley Victoria but it was only a narrow 2-1 defeat to Gresley Rovers that halted their run to Wembley.


Despite all the setbacks I was glad that the club were still managing to get the game on. I was also pleased that the weather was dry as their pitch only needs the slightest bit of water to flood. As well as that I was planning to leave early and walk into town so I could have lunch and a couple of pints as well as a look round the shops. I’d not had the best nights sleep beforehand as I’d forgotten to turn my work alarm off meaning I was woken at 4am and didn’t get back to sleep for ages. Eventually I woke up at 8.30, having some black pudding for breakfast and a bath before catching up online and watching some Youtube videos. I briefly set up my new camera - a Samsung Galaxy 2 but it would pretty much be a case of learning as I went along. Luckily I’m familiar with the Android system that it’s based on, so it should be fairly easy. I left at 10.30 and it was a decent journey to Northampton with me parking up near the ground at 11.50 and taking the half hour walk into town. Interestingly enough I saw that the town centre was offering free parking which would have been useful had I not been drinking and a pleasant change to most towns. First stop was Wetherspoons which was one of the poorer ones I've been in as it had no real ciders. I contented myself with a bottle of Angry Orchard for the decent price of £1.49 while I caught up on Facebook. Luckily I had lots of time and my walking legs on as the next stop, The Olde England was another mile away. On the way I encountered a religious nutter banging on about how the world was doomed and bizarrely 2 Poundlands opposite each other. I went in one looking for a case for my camera but came out with a 3 pack of Chocolate Cremes and a shower gel & aftershave gift set. My second pub was a bit off the beaten track but it was an absolute cracker with 12 real ciders and a pub with plenty of nooks and crannies and bags of character. I had a pint of Lyme Valley Chapel Rock. By now it was nearly 1.30 but I still had time for a half of Nell Gwynne at 4% it was very drinkable. It was pub of the season for me and I was in good company too including some people with them funny fags who were 'vaping' according to popular culture.



The walk back to the ground took 30 minutes and included a nice shortcut through some pleasant parkland. Sadly it didn't include the plethora of takeaways I had passed end route so I had to make do with some chicken and Belgian buns from the local Aldi. I got to the ground with 15 minutes until kick off, paying £3 to get in. Spencer took the lead on 5 minutes through a nice finish from their number 10 after a great through ball. The rest of the game was pretty quiet but the hosts sealed it in the last minute with a close range finish from a low cross in their last ever home game. The journey home went as well as the journey there. The football results kept me company and although Wycombe lost, they played well according to reports. I had the great comfort of Franchise FC being relegated and that kept me laughing for most of the journey home. There were also generally good results for my mates teams so all in all it wasn’t a bad bay. I got home at around 6.30 and had a cider while watching the FA Cup Semi Final with Manchester United beating Everton 2-1 with a last minute goal. The rest of the evening was spent catching up on various bits and doing my blog. The usual ritual of watching Match Of The Day before going to sleep was adhered to, with my usual 4am start at work the following morning.



KINGSTHORPE MILL is a pretty decent ground with seating for around 150 and covered standing for around 200. The rest of the ground is open hard standing and has an overall capacity of 2000. There is a bar at the ground which is large and offers a reasonable range of drinks. I didn't see any food but there is an ASDA and an Aldi nearby. Further away the town is just under half an hour walk away and offers a good range of pubs and takeaways.


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