At Last

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DSC00800Thursday April 25th 2013, Kick off 19:45pm at Coles Park, Tottenham.
South Midlands League Premier Division.
Haringey Borough (Yellow/Blue) 1-0 Oxhey Jets (Green/Black)
Admission 5 pounds, programme included.
Attendance 23.

After twenty-five years or so I finally got to Coles Park. For one reason or another this ground had not been visited. Back in the late 80s Haringey were an Isthmian League club, before dropping to the London Spartan League, which eventually morphed into the Spartan South Midlands League.

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After bowling up and parking up in good time, my initial thought was why I’d left it so long, as a really great looking old-fashioned sturdy grandstand stood proudly in the Spring sun. The grounds address is in ‘White Hart Lane’, so although I didn’t investigate I assume that the noisy neighbours are situated a mile or so down the lane.

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A new clubhouse and social facility has sprung up at Coles Park over the last year, and the smell of a new building was still lingering in the air as I took a Guinness pre-match whilst briefly chatting to two elderly gents supporting Oxhey, "We can't go up, we avent got any outside toilets", was the verdict if they had wanted to progress to Step4 on the NL ladder.

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Twenty minutes before kick off, hardly anyone was at the ground, clearly not many would be in attendance tonight. However, they did do a small programme, and an official I assumed to be the secretary taped up a team sheet on the clubhouse door window, clearly they cared about the people who did!

After snapping the wonderful stand from various angles, I took a position in the back row of the stand and was surprised to see the Canary Wharf building on the horizon. The vista across the roof tops of London was quite impressive, and I wondered how a club with so many chimney pots on it's doorstep had such little walk up support.

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Maybe a reason I’d been reticent to get Coles Park crossed from my list was the nagging feeling of wondering if the wheels would still be attached to my car after the game. Based on the people I met at the club, very unfair.
But a little stat here seems to back up my feeling that crime is probably high in parts of the borough.

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Haringey covers an area of more than 11 square miles (28.5 km2).Some of the more familiar local landmarks include Alexandra Palace, Bruce Castle, Jacksons Lane, Highpoint I and II, and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, heard of them?, no nor me. The borough has extreme contrasts, areas in the west, such as Highgate, Muswell Hill and Crouch End are among the most prosperous in the country; in the east of the borough, some wards are classified as being among the most deprived 10% in the country. Haringey is also a borough of contrasts geographically. From the wooded high ground around Highgate and Muswell Hill, at 426.5 feet (130.0 m), the land falls sharply away to the flat, open low-lying land beside the River Lea in the east. The borough includes large areas of green space, which make up more than 25% of its total area.

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At kick off I counted about twelve or thirteen spectators, and only a couple more arrived later, not sure where the ‘official’ attendance of 23 was calculated, perhaps the home players pay to get into the game also? What was very apparent was the hard bobbly pitch, the ball bouncing as high as some of the early ‘plastic’ pitches used during the 1980s, NOT conducive to good football.

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What was to follow was possibly the poorest game of the 90 or so I’d watched up to this point in the season. Oxhey looked like a team low on energy and desire, and hardly looked like a 3rd placed team. Borough worked hard and ground out the three points, but neither were easy on the eye. Frankly I was just glad get a goal, and that came fairly early in the encounter after 34 mins. A long ball over the top was chased by Darrell Cox who outpaced the home defence, lobbed the home keeper from 30 yards. The ball then bounced off the bar against the retreating defender Steve Brown and dribbled over the line. In the second half Oxhey huffed and puffed but created very little, And that was about it. My note book remained unused.

The grandstand will live long in my memory bank, the match will not, that’s football!

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