Your first Reckless Guide of the season as Barnet travel to St Albans
ST ALBANS CITY
Pre Season Friendly
Tuesday 9th July 2013
Kick Off 7.45pm
Ground: Clarence Park, York Road, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 4PL
Telephone: 01727 864296
Club Colours Yellow and Blue
Nickname: The Saints
Official Club Website: www.sacfc.co.uk
Key Personnel: Current joint Managers are Graham Golds and James Gray
Brief Directions By Road
From Barnet direction exit M25 at junction 22 (A1081). Follow signs to St. Albans from slip road. At London Colney roundabout (traffic light controlled) exit onto A1081. Follow road for approx 1 mile until mini roundabout (Great Northern pub on left). Turn right into Alma Road. At traffic lights turn right into Victoria Street and continue to junction with Crown pub. Go straight across into Clarence Road, ground is first on left about 50 yards past junction or take the next turning on the left into York Road, ground entrance is at the end of the road on the left. These directions are courtesy of www.sacf.co.uk, so there.
There is limited parking at the ground for a small charge and surrounding roads are pretty much unrestricted if you look closely.
Directions By Train
St Albans City station is on the Thameslink service from Kings Cross. Turn left out of St. Albans City station into Station Way. Turn right into Hatfield Road and then left at traffic lights (Crown Pub will be on the right) into Clarence Road. Ground is on the left.
Eating & Drinking
The aforementioned Crown is the nearest to the ground and does serve food. The Mermaid which is very close to the railway station also comes recommended. As the ground is in the middle of Clarence Park (a public recreation area) there is very little available close by, unless you ‘hit’ the Hatfield Road where numerous take-a-ways can be found. The food in the ground from my recollection was reasonable with the usual football fayre of Burgers, Dogs, Chips, Pies and Drinks.
The Social Club
The clubhouse is open before and after the game and all are welcome. It can be found behind the main stand and the entrance to it is from the York Road turnstiles.
Reckless is an anorak alert!! - A wander through very pretty Clarence Park is recommended before entering the quaint turnstile area and a further detour is a must for those who appreciate English architecture at its best as a fine example of a Victorian Cricket Pavilion also lives in the park. Once inside the ground the all-wooden Main stand which runs virtually the length of the touchline but incorporates offices at one end was built in 1922 and evidently has a preservation order on it. Once again if you are interested in architecture, but this time inside a football ground, it is well worth a closer inspection as these type of stands are very much a thing of the past and disappearing fast. Ironically the view from inside is not the best! The terracing around the ground is sturdy and there is a small amount of cover opposite the main stand. Finally may I draw your attention to the wonderful perimeter posts because if you look closely some even have impressions of the clubs crest. I’ll get my coat now shall I?
John Willan the famous lottery draw master lives locally and used to host the Saturday night Bingo sessions at the St Albans Mecca. Up until recently John ‘Motty’ Motson (part time Bee supporter and broadcaster) lived in Marshalswick. David Essex lives in the area and is often seen walking his dogs in Clarence Park. The only Englishman ever to have been made Pope, Adrian IV comes from these parts and Prof. Steven Hawking attended St Albans School.
Our Last Meeting And Memories
Our last successful visit to Clarence Park in a competitive match was in February 1998 when two goals from Tarkan Mustafa and another from Matt Brady sealed a 3-0 win the Herts Senior Cup. In 2008 we were soundly beaten 3-0 in the same competition. A 1977 4-2 win in a 3rd Qualifying FA Cup tie at Clarence Park in front of about 2,000 spectators in the days when everybody played in black and white! In a red-hot game Jimmy Greaves was outstanding, scored a beauty and put at least 1,000 extra punters through the turnstiles. If memory serves it got a also got bit heated amongst rival fans walking through the park afterwards. I wore my black Crombie coat with a red satin top pocket lining, two toned trousers, white socks and black quarter-tipped loafers - cool or what?
Looking through the St Albans FC website I came across around 70 players that have represented both clubs, here are some outstanding and maybe not so outstanding names from our history - Micky Bodley, Geoff Cooper, Alf and Dennis D’Arcy, Les Eason, Roger Figg, Barrie King, Herbie Smith, Richard Graham, Ben Strevens, Tony Turley, Fraser Toms, Harry Willis, Barry Fry and finally Paul Fairclough. For those of you who are fans of the BBC sitcom Porridge the main gates of Slade Prison are not in the North East but in Victoria Road St Albans- entrance to the former St Albans Prison building.
At the height of the Roman occupation, St Albans or Verulamium was the third largest town in Britain. Being sited on the famous Watling Street that ran from Dover to Wroxeter via London and St. Albans, it was a Roman administrative stronghold and survived well into the 5th century AD. It was home to the powerful, the wealthy and the successful but fell from grace and will never be the force it was. By coincidence it also has roads called Park Lane and Paxton Road!