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During lockdown a few of our supporters have decided to share with us their first game they experienced at the Charles Ground..this week is our avid supporter Phil Chalk ⚽️🖤🤍

“Firstly thanks must go to Eric Diver, Paul Bates and finally Colin Adams for dotting the “eyes” and crossing the “teas” to help me put this together”

I vaguely remember seeing a game in November 1980 against a team who played in green and I thought that Deal had won something like 6-1 on the day.
How do I remember the year and the month? Well, it was the first year that I started seeing my (now) wife Julia and I remember going to see the game, just to get out of going Xmas shopping with Julia and her Mum!

With help from the above mentioned trio,I have found out that the opposition on the day(1/11/80) were Slade Green FC and Deal won 5-1 in a League Cup Game.

Line up on the day was B.Curtis, M. Newton, A. Barrow, R.King, J. Gorman, G. McClellan, P.Smith, D.Bostock,G. Doherty, M.Henderson, R. White. Sub;B. Hardy

Scorers on the day were Doherty 3, King and Bostock.

First impressions of the ground were rather mixed. Walking through the gates at the St Leonards Road end, I must admit I was taken aback by a gentleman sitting at a wooden table, collecting the gate money and placing it in a brown bowl!
These were the days before the covered end and turnstile which we enjoy now and when I had paid him, I was into the ground!
Admittedly, the picture below is from some years before but you get the idea! No hoardings or adverts on the fencing!
The old “bus shelter” stand, that ran roughly half the length of the pitch (on the club house side) provided some good protection from the weather on the day and also created a good atmosphere, with many gathered underneath.

A cup of tea was obtained from the old tea hut, which if I can remember was next to the changing rooms.
Didn’t that get burnt down later? I was impressed with the large terracing that used to be at the Mill Road end,especially roundabout August/ September, when you got a great view of the pitch and at half time, if you were lucky, you managed a spot of sunbathing!

I must admit I wasn’t too impressed with that fire risk of a stand that was in place at the time! Thank goodness we replaced it with the one that exists today! A couple of photos to jog the memories of some of the older supporters are attached.

How times have changed!

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