Tuesday 11th September 2018 ko 17.30
Middlesex County League- Premier Division
SOUTH KILBURN 0
KENSINGTON DRAGONS 1 (Royes 83)
The hobby of groundhopping does lend itself to a little tactical planning. Take this Tuesday as an example. You know there are a finite number of grounds with floodlights so you’ve prioritised those on to midweeks when they’re in use. Then you look at which lights will get used less than others and prioritise those. The Step 7 Middlesex League schedules virtually no floodlit games; the league has few clubs with lights and so plans without taking them into account. But this one looked interesting.
I’m sure the more senior hoppers will remember South Kilburn from their stint in the Hellenic League. If you were in the right places at the right times you could have seen them play home games on three different places in a fairly short space of time. I saw them playing at Headstone Lane in 2008, then we visited them on the Hellenic Hop at the their new ground inside the athletics track at Vale Farm, Wembley a year later.
That was the infamous game where the referee correctly postponed the game due to the state of the pitch, and I had to negotiate hard to get the game switched to a pitch next door, formerly used by Willesden Constantine. We finally ticked off the main pitch a year later in 2010 again on the Hellenic Hop.
That was the last of their 3 years in the Hellenic, and the club spent another 3 years in the lower division of the parallel Combined Counties League before dropping back to the Middlesex County League in 2014.
I suspect that for many South Kilburn have rather sailed under our collective radars since. He doesn’t help that the Middlesex League is one of very few leagues still using Mitoo rather than the FA Fulltime System for fixtures. But irrespective of the system used, a midweek South Kilburn fixture popped up, but it wasn’t at Vale Farm.
It was at the Capital City Academy in Willesden, perhaps best known for being designed by Norman Foster, of Gherkin, and Berlin Reichstag fame, and parking up you couldn’t help but be impressed at the curve of the roof over what serves as, in effect a quadrangle.
But to the groundhopper that curved roof serves little or no purpose. It became clear from listening to the club official that the club had been evicted from Vale Farm and for this season at least have moved to a caged 3G pitch with no spectator facilities. And when I say no spectator provisions I mean no spectator provisions!
The few hoppers there were able to stand pitchside on the say-so of the referee and of there were any kind of a large crowd then those attending would be reduced to standing outside. I’ve seen enough of 1980’s football to be heartily sick of watching football through a fence.
Not that the game was easy on the eye. Normally the adage holds that the lower down the pyramid you go, the more goals you’ll get, but this was a game of two poor sides almost entirely cancelling each other out. Eventually Royes strike settled it in favour of the visitors which was just about fair on the balance of play, but I’m afraid this was neither a game, nor a ground I’ll remember with any great fondness, however striking Norman Foster’s contribution.