Bly Spartans, England, Football, groundhopping, Kent, Kent League, Rochester United, Southern Counties East League, Sports Ground
Wednesday 22nd November 2017 ko 19.45
Southern Counties East League Premier Division
ROCHESTER UNITED 1 (McGeeham 88)
DEAL TOWN 4 (Miller 39 Coyne 42 Smith 68 Paxman 78)
Committee commitments had seen be unavailable since the Forgeside game and Wednesday is seldom a good day to find a game at a ground that I haven’t previously visited, and can get to after work. But in the spirit of Wilkins Micawber, something did turn up, and in Charles Dickens’ home town too! We’ll artfully ignore the fact that Rochester actually play in Strood…
Not that it was easy to evoke Dickens. The car positively danced around the M25 and along the M2, the wind producing a Viennese Waltz across the carriageways Len Goodman himself would have been happy to award a “SE-VERN” to.
Those with longer memories will remember Bly Spartans; no not the Northumbrian giant-killers of yore that’s Blyth Spartans, this is the team that used to ply (no pun intended) its trade in the Kent League. I’ve no idea why a team in Rochester were called Bly, and yes I have checked! That will remain one of life’s little mysteries as they became the more logical Rochester United in 2012. A nod to their former selves is via their nickname, and the programme, called “The Spartans.”
The Kent League metamorphosed into the Southern Counties East a year later, and the Rochester United Sports Ground has seen massive investment to allow the club to continue at Step 5.
Some of the improvements are cosmetic, such as the cladding on the stand, and where did they get those seats from? Others are more important, the fence to enclose the ground is new, the fixing holes still not filled in, and there’s moves afoot to provide hard standing behind the far goal.
But as tends to be the case it’s the little things that appeal. How could you not love the football shirt stool covers in the bar? And if you’re going to sit there, make sure you try the tea bar, the food here is top notch.
In fact it seems Rochester’s only issue is on the playing side of things. Since the inception of the Southern Counties East they’ve struggled to remain at this level, and this season is no different. Here the story was similar to so many clubs at the wrong end of the table, but the odd error, and failure to take chances saw them lose convincingly.
Still looked at as a whole Rochester are, quite literally, building the foundations for future success even if the here and now is a struggle. In fact you could easily argue.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Hopefully on the playing side, something good will turn up for them.