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Tuesday 27th July 2021 ko 19.45

Pre-Season Friendly



Att c30 at Wavell Ground, Queens Avenue, Aldershot

Free Entry

If the last few months since lockdown have been about one thing its the idea to go weird early! I should explain; since lockdown ended in April very little football was played by clubs in the recognised pyramid, so I’ve used the time to try to dig out some gems that perhaps have been overlooked by some. As my wife Robyn and her family would testify, I am all about pushing myself and others out of our comfort zones! But normal English non-league pyramid football starts again this coming weekend, so there was just enough time to go weird one more time!

My regular reader will no doubt spot I’d been in Aldershot Military Town, to watch Fleet Spurs’ youngsters a couple of weeks earlier. My trip to Polo Grounds did cause some interest amongst a few groundhoppers with larger numbers of grounds under their belts- I’m told few games get played there. The irony is that my visit was a fluke, I’d attempted to see a game at the Wavell Ground, so I’m grateful to Fleet Spurs for alerting me that their youth team were playing another friendly there.

 On the south side of Queens Avenue there are 3 grounds all adjacent to each other. There’s the Wavell Ground, then the Army Rugby Stadium then finally the Military Stadium and the stadia get bigger as you go. The Wavell Ground is named after Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell who variously served in the Boer War, lost an eye at Ypres in World War I, and was sent by Churchill (who famously hated him) to solve the Bengal famine during World War II. After the war he became the second-last Viceroy and Governor-General of India, being replaced by Lord Mountbatten in 1947.

These days the ground is a caged 3G affair, with a rather pretty wooden changing room block at the rugby ground end, and the Wavell building, now part of the military museum at the other. Oddly there is a floodlit grass pitch to the side of the cage, and I’m bound to point out that the lights there are more powerful than in the cage…

It was a far better game than the previous one I’d seen in Queens Avenue, Spurs looked a far better side, and were unlucky not to take a draw from this local derby. It was enjoyable to watch, but I must admit I did look beyond the Wavell Ground, to that rugby ground behind. I’d love someone to organise an association rules game there, apart from anything else, it would complete the set!

So as of the weekend it’ll be back to competitive fixtures, and yes I do have a game in the Eastern Counties League planned out.  It will be good to get back to what you might call “Normal Groundhopping” but oddly, and in purely footballing terms it has been good, as well as healthy to watch games in places that in more normal times I probablt wouldn’t have considered. There of course will always be a time when my contrary mind makes me “Go weird, ” though and I do recommend it!

This article is dedicated to Don “The Milkman” Scott a well-known and well-liked groundhopper who has died aged 72. His capacity for watching football matches was close to being without parallel, having reckoned to have attended over 20,000 games in his lifetime. Rest in peace Don, I and many others will miss your presence and humour.