Wednesday 12th August 2015 ko 18.45
Hampshire Premier League Senior Division
BUSH HILL RANGERS 4 (Smith 2 84 Jewell 20 Harding 74)
STOCKBRIDGE 1 (S Hamilton 65)
Maybe my eye for grounds is getting either jaundiced or rose-tinted, I’m not sure which. Because when I posted a photo of the ground in Southampton on social media, the fans of Brutalist stadium architecture grabbed at it. And even now, a week or more later I’m still a little mystified.
Bush Hill is, unquestionably a working-class part of Southampton, you can see the cranes of the docks from the club’s leased corner of Mansel Park, and yes there’s a tower block in the distance very much of the “Nelson Mandela House” style. Yes the changing rooms, tea bar and storage facilities are all made from the containers which arrive and leave Southampton docks in their millions, but that’s just good use of a plentiful resource, and the design does help against vandalism. But Brutalist? That for me is the wonderful stand at Gala Fairydean, this is more functional, but have a look at the photos and see what you think!
The game looked on paper to be extremely one-sided, with the visitors starting their second season in the HPL after pulling out of the Wessex League in February 2014, but enduring a dreadful started to the season losing their first 3 games, and conceding 15 goals. And predictably the game followed the expected pattern, it wasn’t that Stockbridge was a side in free-fall, they just lacked that spark where it mattered.
From the home perspective there was the interest of a former Football League player. Despite being local, Terry Parker started his career in Portsmouth’s academy but followed former manager Graham Rix to Oxford United. He made 12 appearances for the club spread across the club’s final season in League 2 and their first in the Conference, but his time at Grenoble Road was curtailed when he served a short prison sentence. Upon release he returned to local football, and from midfield pulled the strings for his team.
They passed, the moved and they scored, and the club enjoyed the presence of around 20 hoppers, as the dog walkers paused to see what was going on, then carried on with their evenings. A tenant watched from his flat, the pub opposite did a roaring trade from the televised Premier League game, but if only they’d have moved a few metres more they’d have been far better entertained.
But Brutalist? Only in the physical sense really, the club’s officials were a joy to visit.