Hendon 2-0 Eastbourne Borough
When: Saturday 18th November 2023
Where: Silver Jubilee Park, Townsend Lane, Kingsbury, London NW9 7NE
Competition: The Isuzu FA Trophy Second Round Proper
I enjoy a roving reporter role with FA Trophy and FA Vase sponsors Isuzu. In effect, I go to matches in those respective knock-out competitions accompanying a camera crew to compile film reports. Yet the weather has stifled my efforts just lately.
The last two games I was due to cover were both postponed when I was en route because of waterlogging. In view of rain continuing unabated, the betting suggested plenty more football cancellations.
Therefore, Isuzu suggested I should pick an encounter on a 3G artificial pitch for the FA Trophy Second Round Proper to ensure our targeted game definitely went ahead. So I carefully perused the full set of fixtures and one tie particularly stood out – Hendon versus Eastbourne Borough.
Not only was it gracing a synthetic playing surface, but Hendon were my local Non-League team that I passionately supported as a 1970’s child growing up in Golders Green.
I cherish fond memories of cheering on ‘The Dons’ at their famous Claremont Road headquarters which was sadly demolished once football ended there in 2008.
Following on, Hendon groundshared at Wembley FC and Harrow Borough FC before permanently settling into Silver Jubilee Park in Kingsbury during 2016.
Looking back, this was Kingsbury Town FC’s base where I sporadically watched them play in Athenian League action. Kingsbury eventually merged with London Tigers FC in 2006 to form Kingsbury London Tigers FC.
They reverted to the London Tigers title six years later and currently participate in the Middlesex County Football League at their own Spikes Bridge Park ground.
Bringing the story up to date, Silver Jubilee Park is a thriving 3G community hub accommodating Hendon FC as well as Edgware & Kingsbury FC (members of the Combined Counties League and previously called Edgware Town FC until 2022).
Glancing across the venue now, I noticed Kingsbury Town’s original grandstand and clubhouse have been completely refurbished in recent times. Some old terracing remains too. Furthermore, three prefab covered areas are fairly new additions plus another seated stand behind one goal.
Thus spectator shelter is present on each side of the arena. Plenty of external car parking exists and helpful stewards pinpointed available spaces. On a personal note, I liked the club souvenir shop incorporating abundant stocks of valuable programmes.
I recall 1970’s enthusiasts avidly congregating around a tiny designated hut at Claremont Road buying and swapping programmes. It was run by an enthusiastic guy named Malcom Graves, who did a great job encouraging us youthful fans to become programme collectors. Malcolm even blasted on a battered bugle at Hendon matches to embellish supporters’ singing.
Incidentally, I still possess every programme I purchased from Malcolm – much to my wife’s dismay!
Hendon have always produced a good matchday programme and I used to relish the illuminating ‘Claremont Chatter’ editorial throughout my formative years.
I must say this season’s contemporary effort more than met my preconceived expectations of excellence. Priced at £2.50p for 32 glossy colour pages, it afforded a veritable smorgasbord of fascinating reading.
Contents included the manager’s notes, Hendon FC historical musings, FA Trophy features, general football articles, away team details, stats and league tables.
And to my utter delight, a column gloriously brandished that aforementioned halcyon heading of ‘Claremont Chatter’…Fantastic!
A cup upset totally confounding football betting odds. Hendon at Step 3 of our Non-League Pyramid in the Southern League Premier South deservedly beat Step 2 National League South opponents Eastbourne Borough.
First half exchanges here were even. The home side flashed several shots inches wide although Eastbourne Borough earned a golden opportunity to score after a penalty was awarded on 17 minutes. However, Decarrey Sheriff’s low spot kick was brilliantly repelled by host goalkeeper Matt Kerbey.
Hendon stepped matters up past the break and cleverly fashioned two picturesque goals. In the 57th minute, man of the match Sam Adenola rattled in a whiplash volley from the edge of the box.
Then 17 minutes later, Adenola dynamically impacted again cavorting down the right flank prior to picking out Niko Muir for a crisp finish. This brought loud renditions of “We’re The Barmy Hendon Army” amidst jubilant aficionados behind the goal.
Also, spirited “C’MON ’ENDON” cries persisted all afternoon reminding me of how I meticulously perfected a mock Cockney accent to seamlessly blend in shouting similar stuff myself whilst I was 10 years old at Hendon games.
Quite an achievement for young me living in an entirely Irish household!
Hendon’s general manager Ian Allinson gave us a very friendly welcome and made suitable arrangements for our two camera operators’ filming schedule
I can still visualise Ian playing for Arsenal in the 1980’s. “A long time ago now!” he laughed when I mentioned this to him.
It is a real family affair for Ian at Hendon these days whereby his son Lee is first team manager and Lee’s wife Faye is involved on the club’s admin side.
*Credit for the photos in this article belongs to Tony Incenzo*