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Tuesday 1st March 2022 ko 19:45

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division

RISBOROUGH RANGERS 5 (Enver-Marum 27 69 Osborne 41 80 Lamboh 90)

LONDON COLNEY 1 (Igriya 84)

Att 88

Entry £7

Programme FREE, 4 page printed, remainder downloadable 

I think it was in 2003 when I first visited Windsors. The oddity was that I’d just started a new job based in Amersham and on my first day day there I decided I needed a new work shirt. I finished early and headed for Aylesbury where in the local shopping centre’s department store a pleasant young man served me, and a couple of hours later I ended up watching him play for Risborough Rangers!

The ground is close to Princes Risborough railway station, but please don’t think this is an easy place to get to by train. The ground is the other side from the station entrance so you’ll have more of a walk than you might expect as you walk round to Horsenden Lane. The truth of it is that you’re closer to being in Horsenden than you are to being in Princes Risborough; the ground is part of the Windsors Sports Ground,  and that includes Horsenden tennis club. 

Horsenden is of course these days famous for one of its residents, Jamiroquai front man Jay Kay bought Horsenden Manor and his home is close enough for the line of trees behind one goal to be sometimes be referred to as the “Jay Kay end.” Call me a cynic but I suspect those trees are quite important….

For any football club will find it difficult to improve its facilities in a well-to-do area, and what Risborough Rangers have a achieved both on and beside the pitch in the last few years has been nothing short of remarkable. They’ve got floodlights, and extended the stand in two directions. The car park has been expanded behind the tennis courts and two new stands built.  There’s more to come too. The cricket pitch end will be enclosed and a new stand built on the far side. That and a new pitchside barrier will at least get the ground up to the Step 5 level they find themselves playing at for the first time ever this season. 

The longer term issue will be if they win the league, and that looks a distinct possibility judging by the disembowelling of a competent London Colney we witnessed. Will the great and good of the area allow for the facilities needed by Southern League club?

I for one hope they will because the key to all of this is that despite all this success Risborough have managed to maintain both a friendly, welcoming approach, and without losing their sense of self.  It was a genuine pleasure to spend a couple of hours in their company on a filthy night for weather, yet the stand managed to feel both homely and almost indoors! Hearing their fans trying to shout “That Liam Enver-Marum, he’s one of our own” was as touching as it was amusing.

In so many ways Risborough Rangers are a club that for so long have passed me by. With my GroundhopUK hat on they’ve been a Hellenic club when there was no hop planned, and when there was they’ve been close by, but in the Spartan South Midlands League! The tragedy of that is that I’m sure they’d been wonderful hosts. 

Perhaps the best tribute I can pay them is to say this. I’m not the kind of bloke to indulge in complicated gradings for what I visit. For me, there is only one grade I’ll ever give a football club, and that is a simple yes or no to would I go back? 

Risborough Rangers, Robyn and I will see you soon.