Wednesday 16th August 2017 ko 19.45
Spartan South Midlands League Division Two
PARK VIEW 6 (Sanchez 46 Williams 67p Gyimah 70 77 Darkwa 79 84)
BERKHAMSTED RAIDERS CFC 1 (Boyd 40)
Att 30 at New River Stadium, White Hart Lane, London
It is the old groundhoppers’ joke; find a Tottenham Hotspur fan and point out that they’ve never seen their side play at White Hart Lane. The joke of course only works with a dose of OCD, Spurs’ famous old ground was and will be on Tottenham High Road, and is named, like in part, West Ham’s old ground after the nearest underground or railway station. The hopper then completes the gag by pointing out they’ve been to Coles Park, home to Haringey Borough, which actually is in White Hart Lane! Well now the humour-challenged hopper now has two opportunities to complete the joke.
The New River Stadium is also on White Hart Lane, around 1/4 of a mile along and opposite Coles Park. It’s now named after the firm that runs it but used to be the White Hart Lane Community Sports Centre. It is a huge site, with the main stadium at it’s heart. London Skolars Rugby League play here, and there’s athletics, cycling, rugby union and archery too. It’s a vision of municipality with a 3G pitch and dugouts held together by old advertising banners. But somehow Park View manage to make the place feel like home.
They haven’t been around for long, an ethnically Ghanian club formed just last season playing in the London AFA League, before deciding to switch to the FA for this season. Whilst there weren’t many there, the crowd was mainly hoppers, they were a colourful bunch, one travelling up and down the running track on what looked like a motorised unicycle!
The game was soporific for almost all of the first half. A mixture of half-time and Berkamsted’s goal obviously stirred the hosts and they were every inch as irresistible as the result suggests.
You do wonder what the future is for a club like this. On one hand the stadium fulfills ground grading for the foreseeable future. On the other it is clearly far too big for their needs and as and when they progress to a league where they’ll need to charge for entry or provide catering there’ll find that all too often the fact that they’re at a leisure centre the way these places are managed will make doing even the footballing basics incredibly difficult.
But that’s the future, until then they’ll enjoy their adventure in their new league, and the occasional visitor can tell that terrible old joke. Just don’t tell anyone I told you it!