Laithwaite Community Stadium

Capacity: 6,000 (2,500 Seated)
Address: Kingfield, Woking, Surrey, GU22 9AA
Telephone: 01483 772 470
Fax: 01483 888 423
Pitch Size: 109 x 76 yards
Club Nickname: The Cardinals
Year Ground Opened: 1922
Home Kit: Red, White and Black

Leslie Gosden Stand
Leslie Gosden Stand
Main Stands
Main Stands
Kingfield Road End
Kingfield Road End
Tennis Club Terrace
Tennis Club Terrace

The ground has an impressive and fairly modern looking single tiered stand situated at one end of the ground. This stand, the Leslie Gosden Stand, towers above the rest of the stadium. At the other end is a small covered terrace, called the Kingfield Road End, whilst on one side there is a small open terrace, called the Chris Lane Terrace. This terrace looks a little ugly as it has quite large warehouse type structures, sitting behind it, which comprise the David Lloyd gym and tennis club. On the other side are a couple of small strange looking, covered seated stands, I guess one of which at one time was the Main Stand, as this has the team dugouts located in front. There is a portion of terracing to one side of this and some portakabin offices at the other end. These stands seem quite old and unfortunately they look to have better days. However, one nice feature is the abundance of greenery, with lots of trees surrounding the stadium.

In August 2015 the Kingfield Stadium was renamed the Laithwaite Community Stadium, in a corporate sponsorship deal with a local Financial Services firm.

The Club have announced their intention to redevelop the Westfield Road side of the ground with a new 3,000 capacity stand. This will replace the two current old Main Stands at the ground and run the full length of the pitch. It is believed to generate funding for the new stand that the scheme will also involve the building of some residential accommodation next to the ground. However no formal timescales have been announced as to when planning permission will be sought or when it is intended that the new stand will be open.

Certainly one of the better days out in the Conference, with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. There is normally no segregation for away fans. However if segregation is in place then normally the whole of the Chris Lane (Tennis Club) Terrace and in some circumstances part of Bellway Homes Stand Stand are allocated to away fans. Adam Beal a visiting AFC Wimbledon supporter adds; 'I found it difficult to find a parking space in the local streets, but did so eventually, may be an idea to consider public transport next time. The food in the Leslie Gosden Stand is run by a local fish and chip company and was of a really good quality and gave the stand a great smell. The Club Bar was hospitable if not overly lively, with some pleasant banter amongst supporters. Overall a very pleasant ground and an enjoyable night.'

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Tom McNamara informs me; 'There is the Cardinals Bar situated behind the Main Stand where away fans are normally welcome and there is usually a good and lively atmosphere there'. It also has a large screen television showing Sky Sports. However, away fans are only allowed in when there is non segregation of fans for the forthcoming match. Paul Hennessy adds; 'The nearest pub to the ground is the the Kingfield Arms. It is located about 300 meters from the ground down Kingfield Road towards Old Woking. The landlord is friendly and caters for Football fans. There are three television screens which show Sky Sports'. 

Otherwise you can take the ten minute walk into Woking town centre, where there are an array of pubs to be found including a Wetherspoons outlet, called the Herbert George Wells on Chertsey Road, which is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Towards the town centre on the Guildford Road (A320) is the 'The Sovereigns' which is an Ember Inn. 

The 'trick' to finding the ground is to follow signs around Woking for the nearby leisure/sports centre. 

From The East:
Leave the M25 at Junction 10 and take the A3 towards Guildford. On approaching Guildford turn right onto the A320 towards Woking. On entering Woking turn right at the roundabout into Wych Hill Lane, towards Old Woking (A247). This road leads into the A247 Kingfield Road and the entrance to the ground is down on the right.

From The West:
Leave the M25 at Junction 11 and take the A317 and then the A320 towards Woking. Continue on the A320 through Woking town centre. After passing a hospital on your left you will come to a fork in the road, where you want to leave the A320 and branch left into Claremont Road towards Old Woking (A247). At the bottom of Claremont Road turn left onto the A247 Kingfield Road and the entrance to the ground is down on the right.

There is no parking available as such at the ground. Therefore, it is either street parking (if you arrive early enough there are spaces on Westfield Avenue) or at the Woking Leisure Centre which is opposite the entrance to the ground and is free to park in for up to three hours. Otherwise a 15 minute walk way from the ground (and well sign posted) around the town centre is the Heathside multi storey car park, which on Saturday's costs £4.40 for four hours (a walking route is signposted from the car park to the ground).

Woking Railway Station is about a mile away from Kingfield Stadium and is around a 20 minute walk, although it is well signposted. The station is served by trains from London Waterloo.

Exit the station on the opposite side of the station to the town (Station Approach/Oriental Road side). Turn Right down Station Approach and at the bottom, turn left onto Claremont Road (the A320). At the end of Claremont Road turn left on Kingfield Road and the ground is over the road on your right. 

Thanks to Ben Smith for providing the directions.

Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:

Adults £18
Over 65's/Students £13
Under 16's £5

Official Programme £3

Kingstonian, Stevenage, Farnborough and Aldershot.

Woking FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website)

For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the Level Playing Field website.

Record Attendance
6,064 v Coventry City
FA Cup 3rd Round, 4th February 1997

Average Attendance
2016-2017: 1,430 (National League)
2015-2016: 1,634 (National League)
2014-2015: 1,912 (National League)

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If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: duncan@footballgrounds.net and I'll update the guide.

Woking v Bury
FA Cup 1st Round
Sunday 5th November 2017, 2pm
Malcolm Parr (Bury fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Kingfield Stadium?
We hadn't played an FA Cup tie on a non-league ground for 15 years.
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
I travelled to the game on the official supporter's coach. We left Bury at 7.00am and arrived at the ground at 11.30am. There are long-term roadworks in Woking town centre and beware of the one-way system!
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
We visited a snooker club which is located next to the ground. There are no pubs that I could see within easy walking distance.
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Kingfield Stadium?
The Kingfield Stadium is well-appointed, clean and tidy. We were allocated an open terrace which runs alongside the pitch. To our left was a modern seated stand. There was a small covered terrace to our right. The opposite side of the pitch was flanked by uncovered terracing and covered seating. The more vociferous home fans congregated on the terrace to our right.
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
Facilities for away fans were limited but clean. We were searched thoroughly before we entered the ground, but the stewarding was mostly unobtrusive. The game itself was disappointing for Bury fans. We took the lead after 40 seconds but Woking took control. They equalised after about 25 minutes. In truth, they were the better team - we haven't won an away game since March, and it showed!. We held on for a draw and a replay but the travelling fans vented their displeasure at the end of the match.
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
Our coach left within ten minutes of the end. There was very little congestion.
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Good points - It was another ground visited and a day out in good company. Bad points - Our dreadful form continued.

Woking v Chester
National League Premier
Monday 29th August 2016, 3pm
David Williams (Chester fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Kingfield Stadium?

This was a ground I had never been to before. It was also. I am ashamed to say, an opportunity to sort out the football geography of south-east England. The last couple of decades have seen the decline of many of Chester's traditional northern opponents from league days such as Halifax, Darlington, Wrexham, Barrow , Southport, Tranmere - teams from distinct towns with a definite identity - and their replacement by southern teams such as Dagenham, Crawley, Sutton, Stevenage, Welling, Bromley and Barnet. I for one never had much idea of where these places are, and tended to think of them as 'in London'. I thought it was about time I refined my knowledge, and I am pleased to report that Woking at least is separate from the capital and has an identity of its own.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I arrived by train, and knowing to exit the station from the side opposite the town centre, immediately picked up fingerposts which directed m e to the ground via a pretty upmarket residential area of well-tended gardens and trees. the only jarring note was struck by stickers on some of the signs which informed me that 'Watford s**t on Luton' which struck me as inappropriate both in terms of geography and proportionality, Watford being in the Premiership and Luton having fairly recently left the National League.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

Unfortunately this signed walk bypassed the pub where I was planning to meet some London-based supporters, which was probably as well in that the fifteen to twenty minutes it took left just enough time to enter and buy some very nicely cooked chips from an appealing menu in a trailer just inside the gates. There was an impressive selection of ketchups, mayonnaises and mustards but alas no salt or vinegar, which made me feel some sort of country bumpkin that had drifted in.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Kingfield Stadium?

The ground's situation in a pleasant residential area and the hot weather was reminiscent of attending a match on the continent, but ground itself could have been nothing other than an English construction. It has obviously grown up piece-meal over the years and as a result has a great deal of character. It is dominated by a large modern stand, which any club would be proud of, behind one goal, and opposite this is a covered terrace. The popular side is relatively narrow and completely open (the hand of Health and Safety is evident here - half of its depth is painted with instructions not to stand on it). On the other side of the pitch are two small stands; one composed of seating over the half of a pitched roof of a large hut which must contain the dressing rooms and the other a miniature version of a typical 1950s stand. Between them, behind them, alongside them and in front of them is something of a labyrinth containing offices, tea bars, and as I found out at the end of the match, players. There seems to be room on this side of the ground for another large stand, but really it would be a crime to demolish the present arrangements. There was no segregation for this game, so your admission gave you free range over standing and seating. Thus it was one of the few grounds where it was possible to change ends at half-time. The stand behind the goal even has a section of padded seats in the centre, possibly built for special guests but seemingly open to all.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The programme struck a nice balance between information for the committed supporter and general features. Unusually, as well as a feature on the football club, there was one on the city of Chester, which told me some things I didn't know before. There must be some teams where it is difficult to find anything non-libellous to say about the towns they come from (I'll name no names - they know who they are). The programme seller was particularly chatty; the stewards were very smart and official looking. As I was wandering onto the open side one headed straight for me, and I mentally reviewed my behaviour of the past few minutes to see what I was in trouble for. but he wanted to warn me of the presence of a wasps' nest in the gable of one of the industrial units adjoining the ground. The crowd was 1,271, with about 150 from Chester. The summer weather tempted the fans of both sides to mix and spread out into the uncovered areas, and allowing for this the atmosphere was not too bad.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

The council had supplied another set of fingerposts back to the station, this time by a different route through some park land. Again, the experience was more continental than English, with families picnicking on the grass in the sunlight.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

All in all, the Kingfield Stadium is a very pleasant place to watch a game of football. It would be even better if you got the result you wanted (we lost this one 3-1).

Woking v Maidenhead United
FA Trophy Second Round Proper
Saturday 16th January 2016, 3pm
Shay (Maidenhead United fan) 

Why were you looking forward to visiting the Kingfield Stadium?

I had not visited the Kingfield Stadium before, as Woking are in the league above Maidenhead, and so I was excited to see and experience a new ground. 

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

From where I lived, it was relatively easy by train since there are very few stops on the Guildford to Woking leg of the journey. It was a 15 minute walk to the ground and a 20 minute leaving it, since Woking Station was uphill from the ground 

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

I didn't visit any of the pubs, but a relative of mine who had visited before said they were decent enough. The home fans were friendly enough, and there was no segregation inside the ground, meaning they obviously haven't had too many issues in the past.  

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Kingfield Stadium?

Like I said, there wasn't any segregation, so we just followed the direction Maidenhead were shooting. The far side of the pitch from the entrance was not sheltered, which seems kind of confusing considering there is a large grandstand at one end of the pitch. Some other parts seemed a little out-dated compared to the rest of the ground, particularly near the tunnel.  

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

We lost 6-1, despite leading at half time. The fans seemed a little quiet, but that may have been due to the lack of roofing where they were stood. However, the stewarding seemed poor; they threw someone out for banging on the wall of the stand, which seemed a bit harsh. 

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

I left early to avoid any bother, which subsequently meant I got back to the station fairly quickly. 

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was a nice day even despite the scoreline, and if it hadn't been for the fracas involving the stewards, it would also have been a trouble-free one.


Woking v Wrexham
Conference National League
Saturday 17th October 2015, 3pm
Peter Laggan (Neutral fan)

Why were you looking forward to visiting the Kingfield Stadium?

A new ground for me to visit and relatively close to where I live, being around a 75 minute drive away.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?    

Easy journey from the up from the South. I parked at the leisure centre opposite the ground which has three hours free parking at weekends.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?    

Arrived early to get my usual pie and programme. (Spoiler alert - there are no pies!!).

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Kingfield Stadium?    

One very nice new stand at one end, the rest of the ground is old and in need of an uplift.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The match was of a reasonable standard. Wrexham won the game by a single goal, but there was plenty of action. With the attendance below 2,000 and with few away fans, then there wasn't much atmosphere. Although there were three different food outlets, none had pies. I even asked some of the stewards where I could buy a pie - they looked at me as if I had asked for a bowl of jellied eels! (PS: Pukka Pies had an advertising hoarding up - obviously put to there to taunt me!).

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Just a short walk to the car park and then an easy exit.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The FA should drum any club out of the association that does not sell pies. When I go to a garden centre I expect to see flowers, when I go to a pub I expect to see beer and when I go to a football ground I expect to see pies!

Woking v Bristol Rovers
Conference Premier League
Saturday, January 17th 2015, 3pm
Thomas Cook (Bristol Rovers fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

A reasonably close match to travel to and with Rovers sitting 2nd in the table trying to close the gap on long time leaders Barnet it was a must see game.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I travelled on a private coach leaving at 9am from Bristol and got dropped in the town centre of Woking around 12 midday. We later took a taxi to the ground around 2.20pm. The five minute journey cost £6.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We headed into the town centre to find a Wetherspoons pub. The area was full of Rovers fans but again we were made to feel welcome. Didn’t really see many home fans although one Woking supporter in the pub was chatty and friendly

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The queue for the away end was very busy stretching the length of the home stand behind the goal. We got into the ground shortly after the game kicked off. We were lucky, as we found afterwards that over 200 Rovers fans were locked out as the full signs went up, not long after we entered.

The ground itself was fine with one very impressive new stand at one end. This stand towered over the other terraces and stands. On one side there was a long open terrace, which was packed out. Luckily the weather was dry!

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Just under 1,900 Rovers were in attendance, but the organisation from Woking was poor. The stewards did there best but Woking would not allow the locked out Rovers fans into other parts of the ground (there was only 4,000 in the stadium - the ground has a published 6,000 capacity).

Hopefully Woking will learn from the mistakes as they missed out on revenue and visiting fans missed out on football after travelling a long way. My other complaint was the lack of toilet facilities. The 600 strong away contingent in the Main Stand, had just two portaloos to use which were shared with the terrace fans who only had 1 other small toilet , the queues were huge as you can imagine. Tried a hot dog from the ground (credit for keeping up with demand ) but the rolll was still frozen , the sausage tasted okay though, so probably better when they are less rushed!

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

After the match had ended, we had a 45 minute wait on the coach, before finally exiting the Leisure Centre car park where coaches were told to park up. This could have easily been prevented by some traffic control by a few of the numerous police in attendance, but alas not.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A fairly dull goal -less Game, (the ones locked out weren’t so unlucky after all!). The atmosphere started well but petered out as the game got a little boring. Hopefully lessons have been learned with regards ticketing for future big games as the club itself and the atmosphere was good.

Woking v Barnet
Conference Premier League
Saturday, 22nd November 2014, 3pm
James Sweeney (Barnet fan)

Why you were looking forward to going to the Kingfield Stadium?
It is a relatively very short away trip from Barnet and from where I live so we did not hesitate to make our way down the M25 to their stadium. Also, we had heard that there were a lot of Barnet fans making the short trip down to Surrey so we joined them in supporting the Bee Army.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking? 
It was very straight forward, onto the M25 via the A40 and off at junction 11 and onto the A320 which takes you through the Surrey Countryside and into Woking town centre and down to the Ground. There is limited parking there so you need to find a space either on Westfield Avenue or at the nearby leisure centre. 

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly? 
We had a pub lunch in the Kingfield Arms, a Wetherspoons pub not that far away from the stadium. We then walked down to the ground and paid our admission, which was at a decent price. I also bought a programme which cost £3 and was worth it for the read. The home fans that we encountered were okay.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium? 
The modern looking South Stand at one end dominates the stadium. The away fans were housed in the uncovered terrace running down one side of the pitch. Opposite was a small directors stand and a small Main Stand from where the teams emerge. At the remaining end there was a covered terrace where a lot of noise was made by the Woking fans.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc.. 
It finished 1-1 with Barnet taking the lead early on by Luisma, only for Mike Cestor to equalise for the home side. 382 Barnet fans made the short trip into Surrey, but it was difficult to really make ourselves heard on the open terrace. 

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game 
Although there was a bit of traffic in the town centre, the rest of the roads were fine and we made it back in good time, with no problems on the M25 for once!

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
It was a nice away game to go to and I would definitely go again. Next time though, I will go for a seat in the covered South Stand as it was a wet November day. 

Woking v Macclesfield Town
Conference Premier League
Saturday, August 16th 2014, 3pm
Myles Munsey (Neutral fan)

Reasons for going:

With my team, Torquay United having sadly been relegated at the end of the 2013/2014 season, I was once again having to get used to watching games at this level. One of our former players Scott Rendell was banging them in last season for Woking, so it was a chance to see if he could continue the trend.

A day out in leafy suburbia appealed as Woking and Aldershot are the nearest conference grounds to where I live in Newbury. I’ve been to Aldershot several times so this was a new one. Three of us were going – all work colleagues from the same department once so it is a social thing as much as anything else. Both sides had made good starts to the new season so a keen contest full of attacking football seemed likely.

Getting there:

So far as getting to Woking itself was concerned, it was an easy train ride via Reading and Guildford arriving at just after 1pm. There’s some tired old legs out there these days (and I don’t just mean on the pitch) so the three of us piled into a taxi down to the ground.

Before the game:

Richard likes Wetherspoons pubs, so we went into the one right by Woking Station for a good nosh-up before the formalities. After the brief taxi ride to the ground, we took a quick look inside the club shop and then into the stadium to find our seats. I also purchased a programme, which was very well edited with a challenging quiz to do at half-time. I like these and wish more clubs would do the same.

First impressions:

This is a tidy, well-maintained ground, a strange mixture of old and new. The main stands (there are two) made an odd, rather uneasy contrast with the Leslie Gosden Stand which tends to overpower you as it is way higher than anything else. The stand is impressive though and certainly would not be out of place at a Football League ground.

Kingfield Road End

Kingfield Road End

The game:

We sat in one of the two main stands. Finding the best vantage point wasn’t that easy owing to several places being taken by Directors and Season Ticket holders, plus the habitual annoyance of supporting pillars marring the view. Eventually we found a good spot a row back from the front.
If games were won on corner kicks then Woking would have won easily 14-4. Sadly it was one of those days where despite bouts of pressure from the home side and enterprising play from the visitors it just wasn’t to be. The game which started 43 seconds early according to our unofficial timekeeper (the third member of our group) was very far from being a bore and there was skill a-plenty in a lively open encounter, but goals there were none.  The nearest we had to a goal was a shot from distance by Goddard, which Taylor finger tipped onto the frame of the goal. Though by no means a classic, I’ve seen far more turgid affairs than this.

Getting away:

The same taxi driver took us back having phoned right on cue at 5pm. When we took the call we were standing right next to his cab without realising!

Overall impressions:

Despite the 0-0 score line, a day to remember. My abiding memory is of the couple one row down with a very well-behaved young girl of around 15months. How nice that they can take the young lady without feeling threatened or unsafe.  She probably enjoyed it more than we did! And the crackly tannoy announcements were pure joy!

Woking v Grimsby Town Conference Premier League Saturday, November 2nd 2013, 3pm Glynn Sharkey (Grimsby Town fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):  

I have had the pleasure of nights out in Woking when visiting friends from the area but have never been inside the football ground due to being the wrong shift every time Grimsby have been in town. One visit included a short nap in O’Neils and being asked to leave which has resulted in the lasting nickname of the Grimsby sleeper!

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?  

I had arranged to meet Bob an exiled Mariner living in Stratford at Woking Wetherspoons so it was the train to Kings Cross arriving about 10.30am. I even had time for an excellent set you up for the day full English Breakfast across the road from Doncaster station.

An easy tube hop on the Piccadilly line to Leicester Square, then the Northern Line to Waterloo and I came up onto the concourse just in time to jump straight on the choo choo to Woking arriving about 30 minutes later. When leaving Woking station, the Town centre is one side of the station and the football ground is the other side of the tracks in the opposite direction.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?  

Bob was running late so I thought I would pop in for a kip… err… pint at O’Neill’s to use up my internet downloaded £5 voucher (two pints of London Pride for 70p!) and had a chat with some local lads who said they always look forward to visits from ex league clubs.

Half an hour later I left the pub only to be confronted by a Martian war machine which chased me around the corner into Wetherspoons. Damn that H.G.Wells!

As a matter of interest, Wells wrote War of the worlds while living in Woking and set the initial Martian landing on nearby Horsell common. Various references to the author can be seen around the town including the impressive Martian war machine sculpture (pictured below):

War of the Worlds Statue

Bob and his daughter Tilly arrived so we had a pleasant hour or two chatting away before we set off for the ground.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

To be fair it seemed a fair old trek after finding the subway under the railway. There was a lot of park to walk through and we actually missed the first goal while we were approaching the ground such was our under estimation of how long it would take to walk.

Kingfield looked small but tidy and the larger stand behind one goal towers over the ground, it’s probably made to look bigger by the lower stands on the other three sides.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

With no segregation we had the opportunity to walk around the whole of the ground and very friendly the atmosphere seemed too. I didn’t have any food or drink but Bob said the food was above average and a credit to a small club like Woking, if they can do it, why can’t we?

Goals for Grimsby in about the first land last minutes gave the 250/350 (hard to tell with no segregation) Grimsby fans something to cheer about but it was a definite smash and grab.

Stewarding looked to be by a private company and they seemed perfectly affable, total gents. It’s something we should expect as a matter of course but don’t always get.  

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Twenty minute walk back to the station and maybe forty minutes later we were at London Waterloo. A couple in the station bar and we said our good byes. To round the day off, I had the chance of a swift one or two on the balcony at the Betjeman arms overlooking Kings Cross, one of my favourite watering holes.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:  

A very happy bunny arrived home about midnight, kebab in hand, poured himself a large single malt and put his feet up with a smug grin.

Enjoyable day? Yes

Would I go again? Oh yes!

Woking v Luton Town
Conference Premier League
Tuesday, January 1st, 2013, 12 noon
Paul Willott (Luton Town fan)

I have always looked forward to New Years Day football; rather like Boxing Day games, a real tradition of festive entertainment that some in football would happily erode for the much debated "winter break" that some seem to hanker for. Many years back I had cause to drive past Woking's ground, little thinking that some ten years down the line Luton Town would be scheduled to play a league fixture there.  

Therefore I highlighted this as a fixture that would be a 'must', and the early kick-off gave me an excuse to lay off too much in the way of New Years Eve silliness.

There wasn't too much traffic on the motorways and trunk roads when I departed home, and although negotiating my way through Guildford proved a little troublesome I still found the ground at Woking without any trouble. I was mildly dismayed by the sign outside the Woking Leisure centre actively discouraging football supporters from parking there, but as I noticed a good dozen or so cars there with Luton fans engaged in the act of donning scarves and woolly hats and the nearby police van and its occupants paying no heed to them I chanced my arm and followed suit.

A short and pleasant walk to the ground itself and I was soon on the Chris Lane terrace where a queue stretched all the way back to the half-way line for the refreshment stall. I joined the queue and found it moved along fairly quickly, and there was a good selection of reasonably priced burgers and other food with a team of ladies working cheerfully flat out to serve us.

The ground is quite odd; to our left is the strikingly distinctive Leslie Gosden stand that would put many a lower league ground to shame, whilst opposite our terrace was this collection of odd looking rather ramshackle stands that looked as if some-ones grandfather had cobbled them together and might come crashing down if one was to lean too heavily upon them. Since the photograph in the guide was taken, one of these oddities has had a crude type of scaffold erected above the roof, perhaps with the thought of extra advertising space, but for the time being it simply adds to the "Heath Robinson" appearance. I half expected the grandfather flump to appear with his flumpet to give us a tune, such was their appearance; quite at odds with the new stand alongside it behind the goal. There is a modest covered terrace behind the other goal.

The atmosphere was as flat as a pancake, which I put down to the early kick-off; but then I have always maintained that the only really lively atmosphere I have ever really enjoyed at one of these festive games was a 17:45 kick-off one Boxing Day when i watched Wolves play Preston North End; as most folks may be shaking off hangovers or too much christmas pud, maybe the football authorities should make every game a 17:45 start to engender more atmosphere.

The quality of the pitch was very poor, not withstanding the inclement winter weather, it was one of the worst pitches I have seen for a while, almost like a throwback to the 1970s. If it looked poor at the kick-ff, it looked like a bomb-site by the final whistle.

The match was entertaining enough. The home side taking an early and deserved lead until Luton pegged them back with a very well taken goal. Despite much huff and puff, the once proud league club couldn't find a second goal, and in the event the part-timers grabbed two more goals of their own towards the end of the match to wrap up a well earned win.

Once back at my car, it took a little while for traffic to exit the leisure centre car park, but once clear of that it was a clear drive away.

Did I enjoy it? Course I did. Football beats staying in and watching boring old films with a hangover any day!

Why not write your own review of the Kingfield Stadium Woking and have it included in the Guide? Find out more about submitting a Fans Football Ground Review.

Updated 15th January 2018