Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Any sadder sight in football?

Last night I went to see Orient play Hull in the League Cup but as I was arriving early, I thought if I could visit a few other local sporting grounds whilst in East London.

This was a last minute plan but a quick check of the map and I could see the home of Leyton Wingate FC and Leyton Cricket Club. I did not have tome to research much else other than finding out that Leyton Cricket Club had used to be the home of Essex Cricket club and they continued to still visit the ground and play a game a season till the early 70's. But I knew little about Layton Wingate FC - I was in for a shock!!

The Club no longer exists and I found a deserted football ground that is now home to a large marquee, owned by the neighbouring Indian restaurant. the pitch is also a car park but the stands, lights and one gaol plus nets, still survives - how did it happen?

A picture on twitter and a quick chat with the landlady of the 'Hare and Hounds' the former name of Leyton Stadium = told a tale of owners in jail for Fraud, VAT evasion and club mergers, moves and court cases over the name of the club.

It seems the last game was played in the 2009 and the club was thrown out of the league in January 2010 - Leyton FC - the second oldest football club in London.

It is hard for non league clubs in London, in particular north of the river and it is surprising that Ilford FC survive, at least Clapton FC are putting a fight up! More on the sad end of Leyton FC can be found here

It seems the Indian restaurant seem to have the ground on a year by year lease but are not allowed to play sport on the pitch! Only a long goal kick from here is the Olympic Park - but come to Lea Bridge Road and you will see no Olympic legacy.

If you get a chance take a look before it decays further - the future? would guess that some developer has his eyes on the site.

Further down the road at Leyton Cricket Ground, no longer a home fit for Essex CC but a brilliant pavilion, listed and so the residents of Leyton can still use this facility- a far different story to what is happening up the Lea Bridge Road.

Leyton Cricket Ground

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