ATT: circa 45
Additional: Entrance FREE, Programme £1.00
Brookburn Road in pictures
Ground Statistics (marks out of ten, maximum 40)
Character 6, Structures/Terracing 5, Hospitality 7, Backdrop/Scenery or aesthetics for larger stadiums 5
My Top 40, a list of all non league grounds at step 6 or above, within 40 miles of where I live, had a new entry this season – straight in at number 25 (duh-duh duh-duh DUH) at 32.6 miles. West Didsbury and Chorlton, from south Manchester, have joined the Vodkat League from the Manchester league. Updates to their ground made them eligible last season, but the Manchester league held on to them for another year. Tonight’s game was one of a number of pre-season friendlies, whetting their appetite for the start of their first ever step six season.
While being new to the Vodkat, WD&C are not a new club, receiving a telegram from the queen three years ago. They were founded as Christ Church AFC by a Sunday School superintendent in 1908 and changed their name to West Didsbury AFC in 1920. They have spent their existence in local county leagues moving to their Brookburn Road home in 1997. With the new ground located in Chorlton, Chorlton wanted a bit of recognition in the club name, were invited to sit behind an ampersand in the club name, in 2003.
Their website directs you confusingly to a bowling green in Brookburn Road and unless you have looked at Google Maps you wouldn’t know to go to the end of the road and down a small uninviting track. If you look very closely at the gate, at the entrance to the track, there is a small flyer stuck there, advertising the next games.
The track goes down for hundred yards or so until you reach a dishevelled entrance, with a graffiti spattered club sign and separate metal fences filtering you down the path to the ground.
Despite the ground’s scruffy ingress, the interior is quite smart with parking to the left of the ground and the new pavillion at the back. The only seating was at the front of the pavillion, exactly 50, providing the stand for the ground, which gave the rest of it a rather sparse feel. It was a friendly welcome, one of the club officials introducing himself and explaining that the free entry was due to him not wanting to stand in the rain collecting £2 from everybody!
Curzon Ashton looked a very good outfit right from the start – an energetic, passing side who raced quickly into a deserved 3-0 lead. West Didsbury hardly had a look in and chances were few and far between. Goals were hard to come by; you could say that for goals it was a case of Chorlton-cum-Hardy. They were much better in the second half, making more of a game of it, but couldn’t get a goal back.
Good to have a new team in the Vodkat making the step up – good luck to them this season.