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Saturday 28th June 2014 ko 12.00

Pre-Season Friendly

WALTON CASUALS 2 (Cove 28 Mustapha 74)

DORKING WANDERERS 2 (? 1 ? 40)

Att c20 at Elmbridge Xcel Leisure Centre, Walton-on-Thames

Entry FREE

No Programme

I haven’t got used to these June pre-season friendlies, even though this is the 3rd year I’ve seen them featured. To make it even more odd, at least one car-load of hoppers made their way to Scotland to take in a cup final marking the very end of last season. So two football seasons running simultaneously, work that one out!

So what was there? Well a caged 3G pitch the other side of the car park in a leisure centre close to the Thames. It’s a stone’s throw from Casuals’ home Waterside Stadium, and behind the far goal is the site of the proposed Community Stadium for Casuals and controversially, Walton & Hersham too. Casuals seem happy with the idea, but Hersham less so even though there have been real problems with their Stompond Lane home. Needless to say the proposal hasn’t found favour with local residents, but there’s nothing new in that, but the site’s former use as a waste dumping ground did produce an interesting quote from the specialist survey. They stated a there might be a high risk of ‘explosion, asphyxiation or poisoning’ from a range of hazardous gases. As ever with proposed new stadium developments, I’ll believe nothing until the first game there kicks off!

The game was exactly what I expected from an early pre-season friendly. Two sides of 22 players with rolling substitutions, and generic shouts, (Keeps, you, mate etc) rather than players’ actual names. It attracted a fair few hoppers, as venues only used for pre-season always does, and with the added bonus of another game afterwards too. Of course there was little or no cover, and as its Wimbledon fortnight it rained heavily, so one game into the season equals one soaking. Perhaps that’s the yang to the ying of visiting somewhere fantastic such as Nordmarks IF, although it rained there too!

When it was all over I look a two-mile diversion to see something unusual, a King Edward VIII pillar box. Considering that Edward VIII was never crowned, and reigned for only 11 months during 1936 before abdicating to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson, it is of no surprise that very few post boxes carry his initials. Apparently 241 post boxes were made consisting of 161 pillar boxes, 6 wall boxes, and the 104 others were Ludlow Boxes used in sub-Post Offices. But how many are left? No one seems to know, perhaps just over 70, so if you spot one you’ve found a real rarity! My project for this season is on my travels to track down and photograph as many as I can. So if have a Edward VIII box near you, please let me know! More information here, and how to spot one here