The Reckless Guide to...
The Vanarama National League
Saturday 8th December 2018
Kick Off: 3.00 pm
The Kuflink Stadium Stonebridge Road, Northfleet, Kent. DA11 9GN
Red and White
Gary Hill is the current gaffer at Stonebridge and has been since November 2018. Gary, never a player, has managed at St Albans, Dagenham, Weymouth, Rushden and Woking.
Brief Directions by Road:
First of all the ground is in Northfleet. Onto the M25 and over the Dartford crossing and don't forget your toll is now paid online. Keep to the left-hand lanes on the bridge and exit the main road immediately after the bridge i.e. the A206. At the roundabout follow the signs for Gravesend and into Crossways Boulevard still the A206. Follow this road to its end crossing over three roundabouts. At the fourth roundabout, turn right heading towards Bluewater. At the next roundabout turn left into London Road - this is now the A226. Quite simply stay on this road until it becomes Galley Hill Road and then Stonebridge Road. Down the steep hill and the ground is at the bottom on the left, you can’t miss it.
The club says: There is no parking available for visiting fans at the ground, however, there is some street parking to be found on side roads off the A226. Otherwise, Parking is available on matchdays in Car Park C at Ebbsfleet International, which also costs £3'. The car park is about a five-minute walk away from the ground.
Directions by Train:
The nearest station is Northfleet which is only about 5 minutes walk from the ground and is reachable in under an hour from London Bridge station. As you leave the station go (more or less) straight ahead until you reach the main road. Turn left and walk down the hill and the ground is on your right. Ebbsfleet International is a little further walk but a much quicker train from St Pancras.
Eating and Drinking Locally:
The supporters Fleet Bar open to away fans. The club recommends both the Rose or the Edinburgh Castle near Northfleet Station or if alighting at Swanscombe you will find the George and Dragon, a real ale pub that will be open from 11am.
The old main stand is one of the oldest remaining grandstands at any football ground in this country and it is, without doubt, an exquisite piece of architecture and quite superb. It
seats around 500 and away fans were not permitted to transfer into it. I do accept in some peoples eyes it is substandard for watching 21st-century football but I am old-fashioned. If it were a church or a cottage it would be viewed with a lot more respect. In time sadly it will be demolished and ho-hum, shut up Reckless. The opposite is its new modern friend opened in November 2017 with seats for just over a 1,000, very smart it is too. The Swanscombe end is the old open terrace with some slinky new barriers while the old home fan terrace stronghold the Plough End still has the original cover but with seats now installed.
Our Last Meeting & Memories:
Up until 2007, the club were called Gravesend & Northfleet. My first visit was way back in January 1972 in the Southern League Cup. 5-1 with goals from Paddy Powell (2) Les Eason (2) and Lou Adams. Les and Lou scored 54 goals between them that season- those were the days!
More reminiscing - Season 2002/3 gave the travelling Barnet fans a laugh with the sight of Roland The Rats’ nephew tearing around the terrace and trying to copulate with Janet Matthewson’s fur boots! Witnessing Jimmy Greaves score an breathtaking equaliser at in a Southern League Premier game, and then sitting on the train home surrounded by a load of Punk Rockers and considering dying my hair amber. Jimmy’s best games in a Bees shirt seemed to be reserved for those away from Underhill. It was a real privilege to be one of the loyal Barnet away following at that time who week in and week out saw the jealousy and envy on opposing supporters faces as we chanted the great man’s name - marvellous. A nail-biting 3-2 APL win also at Stonebridge Road in 1982 is a vivid memory not only for the result but also because Mrs Reckless was smitten by the recently purchased Bees striker Danny Westwood and he scored a beauty!
Our last visit to Stonebridge Road was way back in December 2004 with Barnet at the peak of their Conference power which resulted in a 3-1 win. Nicky Bailey, Dean Sinclair and Liam Hatch were the scorers.
Overnight Stay Factor:
Don't be silly.
It is an interesting fact that the 16th century red Indian Princess Pocahontas is buried in nearby St George’s Church Gravesend and the town holds a monthly guided walk in her name and that the famous celebrities are spilling out all over the place. Mr Blobby, Joe Pasquale, Herr Flick, Cheryl Baker (offered her a drink once in the Shakespeare Head in Holborn. She was lovely but declined as she was with her boyfriend), plus the late great James Bond, Roger Moore.