Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gillingham Travel – Saturday

Gillingham v Hereford United

Football League 2

Saturday 2nd April 2011 KO 3.00pm

Priestfield Stadium

Redfern Avenue




Phone 01634 300000

Gillingham trace their history back to 1893 with the formation of New Brompton FC. Share capital was issued at £1500 and a plot of land purchased for £600 that was to become known as Priestfield Stadium. They became a professional Club the following year at the same time as becoming founder members of The Southern League. The name was changed to Gillingham in 1913 and in 1920, they joined the Football League. A further spell outside the League between 1938 and 1950 preceded a promotion in 1964 to the then Division 3 where they stayed until 1989. Financial problems followed and The Club eventually fell into administration in 1995. With total extinction looming, it was the eleventh hour takeover by Paul Scally that ensured the continuance.

They are currently managed by former player Andy Hessenthaler who is in his second spell as The Gills boss. He is assisted by former Barnet man, Ian Hendon.

Priestfield is barely recognisable from the stadium that was taken over by Scally and boasts three newish stands at the only League ground in Kent. The old Town End terrace was demolished in 2004 to make way for the proposed Brian Moore Stand but, so far, only a temporary seated but uncovered structure accommodates the visiting fans. Admission is by pre-purchased tickets at £20 for adults, £16 for 65+, £13 for 16-21, £9 for 12-15 and £6 for U12’s. PLEASE NOTE, The Gills charge a premium of £3 on match-days for all but those under 16 so advance purchase is strongly advised.

HUISA – coach departs from Radford's at 8.00 am with a fare of £26 (members £24).

BY CAR – Travel to Gloucester then follow the signs for Cirencester and Swindon to join the M4 east (sign London). Continue on the M4 before joining the M25 anti-clockwise at Junction 4A (sign South, Gatwick). At junction 5 of the M25, take the M26 and then continue onto the M20. At M20 J6, take the A229 north to connect with the M2 at J3. Follow the M2 eastwards to leave at J4 where you take the A278 for Gillingham. At the third roundabout, take the first exit onto the A2. At the Premier Inn roundabout on the A2, take the third exit onto the A289 then at the next roundabout take the first exit onto Cornwallis Avenue. Cross the traffic lights before turning right onto Toronto Road then second left into Redfern Avenue. Priestfield Stadium will be on your left. Postcode is ME7 4DD, mileage approximately 190 miles and you should allow at least 4 hours. Parking is mainly in the streets but you should note that many streets are “permit only” and the local traffic wardens relish match-days at Priestfield. Fortunately, the town centre is close enough to provide parking and to walk to the stadium.

TRAIN – Hereford to London Paddington then either Victoria or Charing Cross to Gillingham station, which is a ten-minute walk to the stadium. Update: St Pancras has trains to Gillingham every 30 mins, takes 45 mins.

REFRESHMENTS – The Dog and Bone on Jeffrey Street is close to the train station and offers a decent range but no food. The Frog and Toad on Burnt Oak Terrace and the Will Adams on Saxton Street are both worth a visit. There are two chip shops on Gillingham Road just a few minutes from the ground.