Wealdstone: Club history
Wealdstone FC can reasonably confidently trace its history back to 1899-90 when the club was to be found playing in Division Two of the Willesden & District League. A year before that a Wealdstone Albion had been playing in that division and it does seem to have a direct connection. Earlier origins are more speculative. While there were teams playing under a Wealdstone name – The Oaks (Wealdstone), an Athletic, a Juniors, a Rovers, and a Wanderers – from as early as 1887 they all seem to have been fairly short-lived and their status as direct ancestors of the current club rather more tenuous. It’s possible the ‘Albion’ part of the name was dropped so that players and fans from other rival ‘Wealdstones’ could feel more comfortable joining a composite club.
For 1900-01 Division Two was scrapped so the club found itself in Division One, of which they became Champions in 1904-05. Then, for reasons rather lost in the mists of time – lack of a good enough pitch has been cited, while an item in the local press suggested “a lack of interest from players and supporters” – most of the players and much of the Committee decamped to Wealdstone Church Athletic which also took on Wealdstone FC’s fixtures.
A Wealdstone FC didn’t re-emerge until 1908-09, again in the Willesden & District League, becoming Champions in 1912-13. Closed for the duration of the First World War the club started up again in 1919-20, playing in both the London League and the Middlesex Senior League.
The 1922-23 season was an important one for the club. Firstly, it joined the Spartan League and (switching to the Athenian League from 1928-29) would remain at that level for the next 42 years. Secondly, after a nomadic existence, it finally settled at Lower Mead which would remain home for 69 years until 1991. Apart from County Cups silverware was in short supply, one Athenian League title in 1951-52 the only trophy of note.
In 1964 The Stones joined the Isthmian League and shortly after, in 1966, won their only FA Amateur Cup at Wembley. In 1971 amateur status was left behind as the club turned professional and joined the Southern League. First Division South Champions in 1973-74 took them to the Southern League Premier Division and a first meeting with Yeovil Town.
The 1977-78 season saw Wealdstone reach the Third Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first (and so far only) time in its history. After beating Hereford United away in a First Round replay [SNAP! – well, Second Round for us] and Reading at home in the Second Round the reward was a tie against First Division Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road, which was lost 4-0.
Solid though unspectacular (never finishing higher than 8th) members of the SLPD, this was enough to get them a place in the Alliance Premier League along with our good selves when it was formed out of the top Southern League and Northern League clubs in 1979. Two seasons of struggle saw them relegated but they bounced back at the first time of asking and then The Stones entered their ‘Golden Age’. Third in 1982-83 (after which they sold Stuart Pearce to Coventry for £30,000) and fourth in 1983-84, in 1984-85 Wealdstone were Champions and also won the FA Trophy, beating Boston United 2-1 at Wembley, to achieve the Non-League Double. The Glovers, meanwhile, were getting themselves relegated out of the same Alliance (Gola) League.
However that Golden Age was very short. By the time Yeovil returned three years later they had gone, having finished 10th, 19th and then been relegated in 1987-88 in 21st. The only time we would meet again for over thirty years was a 1989 Testimonial for Alan Cordice, brother of our own Neil, arranged by Brian Hall, who had been coach and then manager of Wealdstone during those glory years before moving to Huish in 1987. Brian would manage both clubs a second time, with both returns equally unsuccessful. And things were to get worse, much worse, for The Stones…
There were three mid-table seasons in the Southern League Premier before the 1991-92 campaign saw them relegated to Southern League South. However this was by no means the worst of it as in 1991 they lost their stadium, Lower Mead, and were fated to spend the next 17 years wandering from ground share to ground share (see below, Directions to the Ground – General). With no home of their own and dwindling income hard choices had to made, and for 1995-96 the club voluntarily moved to the Isthmian League, starting at the bottom in Division Three. With less travelling, and a level they could afford to be competitive at and build again, it was a sensible move. Champions of Division Three in 1996-97 and promoted out of Division Two in a single season, they were up to Division One in 1998-99 and should have had a third promotion in three seasons, only to be denied by White Lion Ground, which they were sharing at that time, not having the grading required for the Isthmian Premier.
Miss the moment and it can come back to haunt you. The Stones lost momentum and it took them until 2004 to reach the Isthmian Premier; and that as much through a massive reorganisation of Non-League football as their own endeavours. They then, with one switch into the Southern League which only lasted a season, remained an IPL club through to 2013-14 when, after two previous play-off misses, they went up to Conference South as Champions. In the meantime they had got their own stadium at last, Grosvenor Vale in Ruislip, in 2008 – so at least any ground grading issues were in their own hands this time.
You may be wondering why the usual host of changing managers has been absent. This is because Gordon Bartlett had been managing Wealdstone for 22 years, finally stepping down in 2017. There was regime change in the boardroom too, with former Accrington Stanley chairman Peter Marsden taking over as chairman and former St Albans City chairman Nick Archer joining as vice-chairman at Grosvenor Vale in 2016. Their choice for the new manager was Bobby Wilkinson.
2017-18 was a very average season but things got more exciting in 2018-19, not all for the right reasons. In January 2019 boardroom strife broke into the open and Marsden was voted out as chairman. The Wealdstone Official History on its website glosses over what was going behind the scenes but presumably Rory Fitzgerald, who had earlier replaced Archer as vice-chairman and now took over as chairman, was somewhere close to the centre of this coup. On the pitch a win over Hemel Hempstead in the final match of the regular season squeaked Wealdstone into the last play-off spot. There they beat Bath City but lost to Woking at the semi-final stage. Wilkinson departed the club.
The new manager was Dean Brennan, with Stuart Maynard as assistant. Wealdstone hit top spot in the league by mid-August and never relinquished it. When the campaign was ended early because of Covid-19 The Stones didn’t have to worry about PPG calculations, they were on their way to the National League Premier.
The 2020-21 season saw Wealdstone make a bright start, with 5 wins from 8 matches placing them 2nd. However form then collapsed and the slide down the table went on and on. Rather than sack the manager – sackings cost money – in February the board ‘leaked’ that it wouldn’t be renewing Brennan’s contract in the summer. Brennan felt his position had been made untenable and walked. Maynard stepped up from assistant to manager and The Stones finished the campaign in 19th.
In January 2022 it was announced that Manoj Badale, whose Emerging Media IPL Ltd. holds a 65% stake in Rajasthan Royals of the Indian Premier Cricket League, had made an investment (undisclosed sum) in the club; while a USA businessman, Todd Johnson, member of the consortium owning Minnesota United FC, would be joining the board of directors.
Wealdstone: We’ve Met Before
Previous Results for Yeovil Town First Team vs Wealdstone
|11/09/1974||Home||SLP||W||4-1||1997||Pickett, Plumb (2), Brown|
|23/02/1977||Home||SLP||W||3-1||1464||Leigh (2), Hickton|
|16/12/1978||Home||SLP||W||4-1||Platt (3), Morrall|
|25/03/1981||Home||APL||W||4-0||1098||Brown (2), Ward, Green|
|14/01/1984||Home||FAT1||W||4-3||1397||Doherty (2), James, Ward|
|19/03/1985||Away||GOLA||W||3-0||698||Barnes, Botham, James|
|06/10/2020||Home||NLP||D||2-2||0||Murphy 46, Lee 60|
|01/05/2021||Away||NLP||W||2-0||0||Knowles 14, Quigley 23|
Results Summary For Yeovil Town First Team vs Wealdstone
Wealdstone: Club Statistics
|18/12/2021||Needham Market||Away||FAT3||L||1-2||432||Buse 64|
|15/01/2022||Dover Athletic||Home||NLP||W||2-1||940||Cooper 63, Charles 70|
|29/01/2022||Grimsby Town||Away||NLP||L||1-2||4747||Mascoll 55|
|08/02/2022||Yeovil Town||Home||NLP||W||2-1||1175||Umerah 38, Tavares 43|
CURRENT LEAGUE SEQUENCE STATISTICS
|Games Without A Win:||3||Games Without A Home Win:||1|
|Games Without An Away Win:||4||Games Without Defeat:||0|
|Games Without A Home Defeat:||2||Games Without An Away Defeat:||4|
|Games Without A Draw:||1||Games Without A Score Draw:||12|
|Games Without A No-Score Draw:||1||Games Without Scoring:||0|
|Games Without Conceding:||0||Home Results Sequence:||LLWDW|
|Away Results Sequence:||DWLLLL||Overall Results Sequence:||DWLLLLWLDLW|
Highest League Attendance: 2,662
Lowest League Attendance: 940
Average League Attendance: 1,485
Wealdstone: Club Information
Grosvenor Vale Stadium
Click for map.
Telephone Number: 07790 038095
Chairman: Rory Fitzgerald
Media Officer: Chris Woods
Club Secretary: Paul Fruin
Team Manager: Stuart Maynard
Covered Terrace: 1,166 [This may have changed, with the club increasing seating and reducing terracing to get to Ground Grading Category A following promotion to the NLP.]
Record Attendance: 13,504 v Leytonstone, FA Amateur Cup 4th Round replay, 05/03/1949 (at Lower Mead); 2,662 v Barnet, National League, 13/11/2021 (at Grosvenor Vale)
Home kit: blue shirt, white shorts and socks with blue trim
Nickname: The Stones
Now known as the Trophy Losers to Needham Market Derby this will be a segregated match. Tickets can be bought via the Wealdstone On-line Portal here (registration is necessary). Walk-up sales are available on the night and there’s no indication of a match-day purchase surcharge being in place.
Concessions (65+, student* [presumably if over 23 or one might as well buy the Next Generation ticket], serving member of the Armed Forces*, STH of another football club* except matchday opponents): £10.00
Next Generation 18-23*: £8.00
Under 18*: £5.00
Under 14: FREE (when accompanied by a paying adult)
[* Documentary ID to prove eligibility may be requested at the turnstiles.]
Official Away Travel
The Green & White Supporters’ Club is running away travel to Wealdstone on Tuesday, February 8th.
Details are as follows:
Adult Members: £25
Members Concession: £23
Non-Member Concession: £25
Coach departs Huish Park: 2.00 p.m.
To book, call Paul Hadlow on 07736 044570 or email him on email@example.com.
If you are getting in touch by email, please make it clear which match you are booking for and that you give your full name, the names of people that are travelling and a contact telephone number.
You may be asked to pay a £5 deposit to reserve your seat.
Wealdstone: Directions To The Ground
The first thing to note is that Wealdstone FC is not in Wealdstone (London Borough of Harrow). With the club in dire financial straits they sold their home there since 1922, Lower Mead, in 1991. However they had broken the First Rule for football clubs: never ever ever hand over your ground until you have the new one ready to move in to. The company handling the deal went into liquidation and, after lengthy court proceedings, only a fraction of the sum Tesco had paid for the site came the club’s way. With no home, and no money to build one, The Stones spent the next 17 years rolling from one ground share to another: Watford, Yeading, Edgware Town and Northwood.
However it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and when in 2008 Ruislip Manor FC was wound up its misfortune was Wealdstone’s gain, taking over their stadium, Grosvenor Vale, in the London Borough of Hillingdon.
The shortest route driving from Huish Park to Grosvenor Vale is 127 miles via the A303 and M3. Leave the M25 at Junction 16 and take the M40 towards London. At the end of the M40 the road becomes the A40. Take the first exit off the A40, onto the B467 towards Ruislip (at the roundabout at the top of the slip road take the first exit signed Harefield/Ruislip).
Continue along the B467 through two sets of roundabouts. At the end of the B467 in Ickenham you will reach a T-junction that has a small bandstand located in front of you. Turn left here onto High Road (B466). Follow High Road, passing West Ruislip Station on your right. High Road becomes Ickenham Road (still the B466) and at the roundabout with the White Bear pub (see Local Pubs, below) on the right hand corner, take the fourth exit onto Wood Lane. Continue along Wood Lane crossing one small roundabout and at the next roundabout bear right onto West End Road (A4180). The second left hand off West End Road is into Grosvenor Vale, with the stadium is located at the bottom of this road.
Some on-site car parking is available at the stadium with a charge of £3.00 per vehicle. The club warns parking is weather dependent, and the aerial Google shot confirms it is a field. It has announced that the parking at the stadium will not be available for this fixture.
It offers no suggestions as to alternatives apart from on-street parking (which is not usually easy to come by around London).
The nearest car parks we’ve found that become free (after 6.00 p.m.) are Kings End North (33 spaces), Pembroke Gardens (91 spaces) and Linden Avenue (69 spaces). All are north of the stadium and around ten minutes walk away. Pembroke Gardens and Linden Avenue are near Ruislip Manor Underground Station while Kings End North is near Ruislip Underground Station. Ruislip Underground Station also has its own car park (156 spaces) but that costs £4.00 whatever the time of day.
This trip is not doable by rail from Yeovil if one is aiming to return the same night.
For Glovers living in London and the South-East the nearest Overground stations are West Ruislip (1.1 miles, so about 20 minutes walk) and South Ruislip (1.6 miles, so about 30 minutes walk). Services are operated by Chiltern Railways and run from London Marylebone. There’s four trains an hour at peak morning and evening ‘rush hour’, falling to two an hour throughout the remainder of the day.
The Underground services are more frequent, with stations closer to the stadium. One’s spoilt for choice of lines: Ruislip and Ruislip Manor are both on the Uxbridge branches of the Piccadilly Line and Metropolitan Line and under ten minutes walk from the ground; Ruislip Gardens on the Central Line is 15 minutes walk.
Despite living in central London for a couple of years, and subsequently spending the next thirty+ visiting about once a week, the bus system remains something of a mystery to me – there are simply too many buses going in too many directions for an outsider to have a clue – and only rarely used it. The closest stop to the ground is Grosvenor Vale Bus Stop (couple of minutes walk from the entrance to the stadium) which is served by the E7 and the No. 696. Bus routes U1 and U10, H13, and Nos. 114, 278, 331 and 398 also serve Ruislip, with their nearest stops probably around Ruislip Underground Station. If all those numbers and letters mean something to you, use them. If they don’t I’d advise taking the tube.
A selection of taxi firms based in the area can be found here.
Harrow Times has occasional items on The Stones, but this is London so there’s a multitude of other sports stuff to search through to find them.
The Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette is published on a Wednesday with a free on-line PDF version. It may or may not have coverage of Wealdstone FC but as one has to sign up to get a ‘key’ to read I wasn’t interested enough to bother.
Wealdstone : Food & Drink
Great swathes of North London are soulless dormitory suburbia with very little that distinguishes one place from another; and not much there except endless roads of housing. This particular district was pretty much unpopulated countryside until the arrival of what are now called the Metropolitan and Piccadilly Lines in the early years of the 20th Century (and the Central Line extension after WW2), but what’s now generally deemed to be Ruislip (it’s rarely clear on the ground where one place ends and another begins) has a population of around 60,000.
The area is the death of the pub writ large. Many are now restaurants in all but name (or even in the name, with ‘Kitchen’, ‘Brasserie’, ‘Bistro’ or ‘Café’ added) with the merest token nod to still serving beer. Then there’s the Beefeater, Harvester etc. type establishments which keep up a façade of superficially looking like pubs, but aren’t really. It’s been a struggle to even come up with four (Local Pubs, below).
Wealdstone has some serious facilities for this level of football (no mouldy tent here) in the form of Ruislip Social Club. There’s a Main Function Hall (300 capacity); the Main (also known as Middle) Bar which has large screen televisions with Sports TV, two dart boards, a pool table, games machines, pinball-table and bar football; and the Lounge Bar (80 capacity). Has two hand pubs with the offerings changing, usually from large breweries such as Marston’s (Carlsberg Group), Greene King (CK Assets of Hong Kong) and St Austell but occasionally venturing into micro-breweries. The facilities are normally (but not always) open to away supporters. For our visit the Social Club is open before, at half time and after the game, for both sets of supporters.
Black Bull: This is a possibility should you be using the Central Line route to the ground (see By Rail, above) 10 minutes walk from Ruislip Gardens station and 20 minutes walk from the stadium. From the small Whelan’s chain (it has eight pubs, three described as ‘Irish’ and five, including the Black Bull , as ‘Premium’). Lots of screens showing Sports TV, a pool room, large beer garden, covered smoking area, own car park, disabled access, children welcome until 7.00 p.m. Food is typical ‘pub grub’ fare served from noon to 9.00 p.m. There’s a children’s menu; and pensioners get 25% discount on all food Monday to Friday. Beer is mainstream, so the option on cask might be something from Fullers (Asahi) or Wychwood (Marston’s), while keg is the likes of Kronenbourg, Heineken, Guinness. Opening times: 11.00 a.m. – 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11.00 a.m. – 1.00 a.m. Friday and Saturday, noon – 11.00 p.m. Sunday.
The Black Bull, Victoria Road, South Ruislip, Greater London, HA4 0EF. Tel: 020 8841 0405 Map: Black Bull.
Hop and Vine: For whatever reasons micropubs are more common in south London than north, but Ruislip has one, opened in December 2016. The beer (and cider) range is kept up to date on its Facebook page (and via Twitter and Instagram for that matter). Recently back from a winter break through most of January it seems to be stocking slightly less than usual, presumably until the daylight draws out and the weather gets warmer, so expect three or four cask beers, three or four keg, and a couple of real ciders, all from small independent producers. Has disabled access and an outdoor patio to the rear. Opening hours are 5.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, noon – 11.00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon – 6.00 p.m. Sunday. About 15 minutes walk from the ground (0.8 of a mile).
The Hop and Vine Bar, 18 High Street, Ruislip, Greater London, HA4 7AN. Tel: none found. Map: Hop and Vine.
J.J. Moon’s: If it’s J.J. Moon’s it’s a Wetherspoon, a name the company commonly used for its earliest pubs. Pretty much right opposite Ruislip Manor station (Piccadilly and Metropolitan Lines, see By Rail above), so half a mile (10 minutes walk) from the stadium entrance. A former Woolworths, everyone knows what to expect from Spoons by now – both the good points and the bad. This one opens from 8.00 a.m. every day, alcohol service beginning from 9.00 a.m., food all day up to 11.00 p.m., and closes at midnight Sunday to Thursday and 1.00 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
J.J. Moon’s, 12 Victoria Road, Ruislip Manor, Greater London, HA4 0AA. Tel: 01895 622373. Map: JJ Moons.
White Bear: Part of small The White Brasserie chain which has 18 outlets around the South-East. If this one is anything like the branch fairly local to me it’ll be very much restaurant dominated, with a small more ‘pubby’ area attached somewhere. The cask range tends to be nationally available standards such as Marston’s Doom Bar and St Austell Tribute though the branch I know does sometimes put on something local as one option. Keg is multi-national. Food (separate children’s menu) is at the upper-mid price range for a pub and served from noon until closing. Has a garden (but only open in summer months), smoking area and car park. Opening hours: 11.00 a.m. – 11.00 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 12.00 noon – 10.00 p.m. Sunday. This might be convenient if using West Ruislip (Overground and Central Line, see By Rail above) station as it on the route from there to the stadium: 7 or 8 minutes walk (0.4 of a mile) from the station to the pub; c.15 mins walk (0.7 of a mile) from the pub to the ground.
The White Bear, Ickenham Road, Ruislip, Greater London, HA4 7DF. Tel: 01895 679770. Map: White Bear.
Likelihood the Natives Will Understand You: Probably. Other regions of That London have Cockney, Estuary, Sarf, Sloane etc., but North London nothing particularly distinctive – rather like the area itself.
Top-Tip: Don’t forget, Wealdstone FC is in Ruislip, not Wealdstone.
Other Points Of Interest: Alleged psychic and astrologer Russell Grant is a Patron of The Stones, so presumably one can ring him up ahead of the game on his Psychic Line (Tel: 0161 784 0000, £1.50 per minute plus your phone service provider’s premium rate) to discover what the result will be and thus whether it is worth going.
[No responsibility is taken for any inaccuracies. This page is entirely the product of bias and prejudice.]