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Tuesday 26th November 2019 ko 19.45

Middlesex Senior Cup 2nd Round

HENDON 1 (Mitchell 58)

WINGATE & FINCHLEY 3 ( Ruff 17p Ochineng 32 Fleming 68)

Att 110

Entry £6

Programmes sold out

Teamsheet 50p

When Hendon left their crumbling, yet atmospheric home of Claremont Road in 2008 few could have envisioned their search for a new home would lead them to a place the width of Silver Jubilee Park from Hendon, even if the stadium itself is on the western edge of the park, and Hendon itself on the eastern!

The wider park, all 15 hectares of it, was named in 1935 to mark the Silver Jubilee of King George V and the ground lies in Kingsbury, and that dear reader is where life begins to get interesting!

Silver Jubilee Park used to be home to Kingsbury Town. They were in situ at the park, then styled Townsend Road, from 1919 with the current position of the pitch dating from 1953. The wooden stand, still in place now, was erected by the club in 1981. Kingsbury spent the 80’s onwards playing mainly in the lower reaches of the Isthmian League before merging with tenants London Tigers in 2006 to form Kingsbury London Tigers. Here’s pictures from my visit in February 2006, just before the merger.

With the Isthmian abolishing their Division 2 the new club played in the Premier Division of the Spartan South Midlands League at Silver Jubilee Park before moving to Avenue Park former home of the defunct Viking Greenford in 2012. At that point the club dropped the Kingsbury prefix and reverted to London Tigers. That club now groundshares at Northwood FC. Ironically Hendon’s first home after leaving Claremont Road, was Northwood FC!

Hendon led a rather nomadic existance post 2008. After a brief sojourns at Northwood and Staines Town, the club groundshared at Wembley FC from 2010 to 2013 then at Harrow Borough from 2013-16. None seemed to fit the club’s needs, but salvation did eventually come.

Once London Tigers had vacated Silver Jubilee Park it seemed a little surplus to requirements. There seemed little or no impetus to re-establish a team for Kingsbury, and the ground was used by Neasden Gaels Gaelic football club. That situation remained until 2014 when another famous old club that had lost their ground – Edgware Town- moved in.

But Hendon were to follow 2 years later, and that process had clearly started before Edgware’s arrival. New “Stadium Solutions” stands were installed and a 3G pitch laid to allow not just the two first XI’s to play at Silver Jubilee Park but also the multitude of other sides under the Hendon banner. One change though that Hendon aren’t responsible for is the Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Temple clearly visible in the background to many of these photos! That was opened in 2014 and it makes for quite a backdrop!

But for all for that change, there is something of Kingsbury Town still present. A lot of it is that stand but the feel of the place is similar to my visit 14 years ago. That’s not to say Hendon’s improvements aren’t manifest and welcome; that 3G pitch made sure the game took place on a thoroughly sodden day!

The game was one of those oddities you tend to see these days in county cups- you never quite know which club is taking the competition the more seriously. It was also a game of goalkeeping howlers, one from each team with Wingate & Finchley just about deserving their win.

It was odd seeing Hendon here, I suppose I’ll always imagine them as being at Claremont Road. But since that’s gone its good to see them able to put down roots and look with confidence to the future.