A rough guide to... Wealdstone

Cod Almighty | Article

by Sue Firth

24 October 2021

A trip down memory lane leads Sue to Tesco as she finds Wealdstone living the high life in Ruislip

How are you?

Last season Wealdstone completed their first in the fifth tier of football since the late 1980s, having been promoted on the points-per-game system during the Covid-curtailed 2019-20 season. They finished in 19th place, which is probably good going for a semi-professional club that has average home attendances of under 1,500 and presumably the budget to match.

Wealdstone have achieved something Town never have – winning the FA Trophy. They beat Boston 2-1 at Wembley in 1985 and also won their league that year, making them the first club to do the non-League double.

It's nice to meet you

Town have not played Wealdstone in a competitive fixture, which is probably not that surprising given the Stones have never risen above the fifth tier in their 120 year history.

Apart from Michee Efete, who was part of the Wealdstone side which gained promotion in 2020, there is an unexpected player connection: Wes Parker. Wes was born in Lincolnshire, attended Town's youth academy and signed as a professional in 2002, but made only nine appearances in the second division before he was released two seasons later – if memory serves me rightly because of a health issue. After spells at Gainsborough and Boston, he joined Wealdstone in 2010 and captained the side, making 251 appearances over the next seven years.

Where are you from?

Disappointingly, Wealdstone no longer play in Wealdstone or even the London Borough of Harrow. This disappoints me because I attended a college in Harrow and have fond memories of parking in the football club's car park when visiting the ABC cinema as a teenager. I was looking forward to revisiting a few old haunts.

Wealdstone had been at the Lower Mead ground in Harrow since 1922 but left in 1991 amid financial difficulties made worse by their owner selling the ground for commercial development. The club received only a small share of the proceeds and were left to arrange groundshares with other local clubs for many years. Attempts to build a new ground at Canons Park in 2003 were thwarted when their commercial partners went bust and the land was eventually sold to Barnet FC and became the Hive. Is anybody else thinking, there but for the grace of god...

Wealdstone finally got another home of their own in 2008, settling at Grosvenor Vale in Ruislip. The stadium has a capacity of around 4,000 but any further information about it is hard to come by. It's greatest asset is probably being within walking distance of four tube stations on three different tube lines, the closest being Ruislip.

It is located in the Borough of Hillingdon which, unluckily, is about the only north London borough of which I have very little personal experience. My brother did once get sunstroke at Ruislip Lido, but as the game is on Tuesday evening that shouldn't be a problem. I'm guessing the focus will be more on drinking establishments. What could be more convenient than the Ruislip Social Club which is co-located with the stadium and boasts comfortable seating, large-screen TVs, dartboards and a pool table. It might prove more entertaining than the game.

You must be so...

... proud that Stuart Pearce* started his football career with you. Or maybe just fed up with that being the only thing many football folk know about Wealdstone.

*aka Lawnmower Man from when he lived next door to my friend Jo and fixed her broken mower

Pre-Match Fact File

Wealdstone's form is not so good at the moment. They've won only two games this season – 1-0 at home to Altrincham and 1-0 at Kings Lynn – and drawn three. They have a goal difference of -10. As long as Town take them seriously, there's cause for optimism.

Six of the Stones' 14 goals have been scored by Josh Umerah, so I'm plumping for him as the one to mark closely. Having come through the Charlton Academy, he has bobbed about in non-League at Boreham Wood, Ebbsfleet and Torquay, pitching up at Wealdstone this summer.

Ex-Town Factor
Rhys Browne was on Town's books during the first season back in the league but spent most of it on loan at Macclesfield, having failed to find a place in the team after Paul Hurst left. Rhys went on to play for Yeovil and Port Vale before signing for Wealdstone last December. No goals yet this season.

And then there's Ira Jackson Jr, who signed last month and made an instant impact with a goal in his second game and getting sent off in his third. Some fans feel Hurst was wrong to let him go when Town are short of strikers – so bound to score against us.

Rivalometer – 0
We've never met before and, hopefully, this will be the only season when we do.