The Non-League Football Paper



I PICK up The Fox in the still gleaming Hoppermobi­le at 8.30am and head for our first venue of the day; Watford’s Training Centre for the Under 18s fixture against Burnley.

In an interestin­g encounter, the visitors win by the only goal of the match. I now have an easy 30 minute drive to the main business of the day.

Again, Jane SatNav does me proud and leads me straight to Beaconsfie­ld Road in Southall and the main gate of Hayes & Yeading United’s SKYex Stadium. I am greeted like royalty by the steward in the car park. After parking, the steward finds us for a chat and tells us where everything can be found to make our stay as “enjoyable as possible”. The lady on the gate is equally as nice, as she relieves me of £10 (£6 OAPs; £3 children). The very profession­al programme costs £2.50

Just inside the entrance is a burger van. I am extremely hungry, so indulge in a sizeable bacon burger and chips. The food is very reasonably priced and absolutely delicious.

The stadium is impressive. The main stand runs almost the entire length of one side of the pitch. There’s a very good, uninterrup­ted view throughout, although the legroom is about adequate for a gnat. I wouldn’t like to be sat in here when full! The only other cover is behind one goal, though this is taped off and not in use. The rest of the stadium is ringed by very wide concourses; presumably wide enough for more stands to be easily added if needed.

The bar underneath the main stand is pokey. I presume a larger facility will be opened when the stand is fully completed, so this will do for now. On the way out, The Fox knocks on the door of the boardroom and enquires about a teamsheet. “The chairman doesn’t want us to give them out”. This is a baffling response, as when I get outside there are handfuls of teamsheets freely available from the table that serves as a club shop!

The game kicks off and United settle into a rhythm of very pleasing football. Dorchester cannot live with the slick passing (slick in more ways than one: several players slip on the greasy surface throughout the action). Moses Emmanuel parts the visitors’ defence like his namesake performed on The Red Sea for a first half hat-trick.

During the break, the Dorchester chairman wins £151 on the 50-50 draw. On this showing, he ought to invest all of that on six or seven new players!

Emmanuel adds another in the second half for a very straight forward victory. I’m not being picky but the striker really should have ended the day with seven or eight!

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