Sunday, 19 July 2009

Gills pre-season goes belly up

Welling United 2-0 Gillingham (18:07:09)

- click on photos to enlarge image -

I'm guessing the majority of fans would rather pull their eyes out than attend an over priced pre-season friendly. They are normally turgid affairs and generally nobody gives a rats arse about the result aside from a few nutters. Hi ya.

To further cement how football is in a period of eating itself, Grays recently charged £20 for the 'privilege' of seeing West Ham reserves and Barnet asked for a whopping £27 to see and Arsenal XI. Madness, madness they call it madness.

After a bit of fun this week on European Football Weekends with articles on Aberdeen and Seattle Sounders (a piece that sparked off a new American Civil War between the residents of Seattle and Portland) it was back to the bread and butter in the form of a trip to Park View Road, Welling.

Gillingham may be Kent's only football league club but if you think that's all they've got to offer the world of football you'd be very wrong. Dartford, Dover Athletic, Maidstone United, Tonbridge Angels, Ebbsfleet United, Welling United to name but a few all reside in the garden of England. It's a chuffing footballing hotbed.

The week before this match, Welling United's annual friendly with Charlton Athletic attracted a crowd of 2,200 which is four or five times their average for a Conference South game. With that in mind it's not surprising the club try and shoe horn in as many friendlies as possible against league opposition. Fair play to them. The way Charlton Athletic are sliding down the divisions, it won't be long before the are playing them in the same division.

This was one of the best days in the sporting calendar. The Open was taking place in Scotland, England were dishing out a spanking to the Aussies at Lords here in Kent we had sultry day in which to enjoy an afternoon of football. Such is the set up at the stadium, when the football got boring you could pop your head over the wall and watch a bit of cricket in the adjacent Bexleyheath Sports Ground. Buy one get one free. What's not to like!?

Football to the left, cricket to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.

Park View Road is also the home to Erith and Belvedere FC. An embarrassment of riches.

Prior to match, Cynical Dave and I met up with Mr Fuller for some welcome beers. The public house of choice was the Nags Head in Welling High Street which was cheap as chips AND had a working hand drier in the latrines. A winning combination in my book. I'm not sure how many beers Cynical had but upon leaving said pub and entering the ground, the first thing he did was start waving the corner flag around.

Flag day for Cynical.

Mr Fuller and Cynical dig deep for the £10 entrance fee.

Gills trialist Jordan Parkes poses for a photo.

EFW man of the match. Wings keeper Charlie Mitten.

Nice day for it.

Lino on the line(o).

Corrugated iron roof stand (tick).

Bit arty after a few pints - Ed.

The first thing that struck me inside - other than Dave being a loon - was the splendid corrugated iron roof on the main stand. Identikit modern stadiums have almost made these extinct. Can you name any other grounds past and present that have sported a large amount of corrugated iron!?

Hands up who wants to hear about the actual match (silence - Ed). Just briefly then; both keepers had outstanding matches performing flying acrobatic saves willy nilly. You expect wholesale changes in terms of substitutes during these games but kits!? Welling changed theirs at home time from white to blue. It seemed to do the trick because in the second half they dominated their most illustrious visitors and ran out easy winners courtesy of two goals from Sanchez Ming and Jake Hobbs respectively.

This was The Wings last pre-season game before they fly off to Shanghai for a lucrative four team tournament.....probably. They looked a good bet for promotion into the Conference on this showing but as we all know, we shouldn't read too much into these games. After a post match pint to celebrate my touch of the match ball and another on the pitch photo it was back to HQ in Brighton for our first elongated session of the season. Here's to many more. Cheers.

Mental note to self: No denim or tracksuits in the executive lounge.

Predictable Logo action.

On the pitch again (yeeeeees!)

Back of the net.


The General said...

Gravesend & Northfleet!!!! You will be shot in certain DA postcodes for that one...A very enjoyable afternoon all round

Danny Last said...

Peter Mason from the Welling Club Shop contacted me to reply about the kit confusion:


I am responsible for the Club Shop not being open on Saturday. In an unfortunate clash the match was on the same day as a wedding I had been invited to, and to which I had promised to go.

As it is, the shirt for this season is not yet on sale (awaiting conformation of a sponsor) and the white shirt worn was last used some seasons ago - on saturday I believe we were using it solely as it had a good selection of numbers on the back.

All the best with your web site.

All seems fair enough. Thanks Peter!

Anonymous said...

Check out the main stand at Selhurst Park home of the mighty Crystal Palace for the best corrugated iron roof in the league.

Danny Last said...

I typed the name of that team into my pc but the firewall blocked their site as it was deemed to be X-rated.