Football in Berkshire
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A perfect match day: Bracknell Town FC

Ben Martin-Dye on a perfect match day taking in a game at Larges Lane

A perfect match day: Bracknell Town FC

“What makes a great matchday?” says Tom.

For me, a loyal supporter of Bracknell Town Football Club it’s the thrill of the chase.  My perfect match day starts at my house (obviously!) which is in Forest Park, Bracknell, a tidy little 2-bed which incidentally is on sale at the moment. Contact Duncan Yeardley to put in bids!

I have been coming to Larges Lane now for around 10 years now I think, one of the first games I went to we were losing 5-0 at half time.  I remember thinking ‘this is terrible’ but like everything in life it deserves a second chance. The next game was equally sh!t but what the heck, I was roped in.

The ground is a 23 minute walk (when I’m in PB shape!) and I normally start off with a pre match meal at home of chicken and chips smothered with way too much ‘Franks Hot Buffalo Wing’ sauce, I do it every bloody time. Ahem.

Then I take the majestic walk through Harmanswater, heartily waving to the staff at the chip shop and Londis on the way. It is a walk of dreams.

Related: We’ve got more ‘Perfect Match Days’ here

I sometimes stop at ‘The Running Horse’ 10 minutes into my journey for a little rest… Nicely decked out and some good beverages on sale. Last Saturday I managed to empty the whole contents of the salt cellar on my chips as the lid fell off. Cool story I know but the message to you is ‘always check the lid first’.

I normally get to The Old Manor at around half one. A very popular pub is the Old Manor and one of Bracknell’s oldest buildings having being built in the 17th century. The pub still has a priest hole which is situated over the main fireplace, originally used by local highwaymen keen to escape from authorities. Now used to flee from the match if the boys are not playing well!

The Old Manor. Photo: Google Streetview.
The Old Manor. Photo: Google Streetview.

If you look hard enough down one of them you may stumble across old players with long curly moustaches and leather footballs.  The Old Manor is often busy as owned by Wetherspoons but they do a good selection of ales and good value food. Worth a visit.

Larges Lane is a few minutes’ walk away and when the smell of Deep Heat hits the nostrils you know you have arrived at the field of dreams. 

The pitch is always a welcoming site, a resplendent 3G green, so much better than the grass pitch which every winter resembled a bog. I remember one game when a Bracknell player’s shoe did a George Michael (we can’t publish what Ben wrote on a family blog, but if you’re curious.. Google..). Now when home game comes around you are safe that a postponement won’t wreck your weekend.

Ben Edwards plays on a muddy Larges Lane surface.
Ben Edwards plays on a muddy Larges Lane surface.

Ricky does a sterling job handing out printed team sheets before the game and fans discuss changes clutching pints close to their chest.  The atmosphere really taking hold by now as the players warm up close by.

There are two bars, one further up by the changing rooms where you can purchase burgers and chips and other reasonably priced fayre.  I had one the other week, very good, moist, a fine layer of cheese and very flavoursome. 5 stars!

The bar at the bottom is now quite small as has been refurbished recently to incorporate a classroom for students keen to progress in sports studies.

When the game is over I normally don’t hang around, unless an away game. Always a few beers down so I normally find out that Fulham have lost and make the trudge home which now takes 46 minutes! Some Singapore noodles from the Chinese at Harmanswater shops hits the spot, those chilli’s get me eveytime !

Now that to me is a perfect matchday. COYR!

If you’d like to contribute a ‘perfect match day’ please do drop us a note on our contributor page. It doesn’t have to be Berkshire, it can be anywhere in the country but importantly, it’s not really about football.

Locations:

Bracknell Town FC: Larges Lane, Bracknell RG12 9AN

The Old Manor: Grenville Place, Bracknell RG12 1BP

Great Wall Chinese Takeaway: The Square, Bracknell RG12 9LP

All the latest transfer news ahead of the 2019/20 season is here. Keep up with all the pre season fixtures in Berkshire here.

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Tom Canning

Tom is the co-editor of Football in Berkshire. He has played at the lowest possible level of football. In real life Tom works for Reach PLC. Former manager of Binfield Ladies in the Thames Valley Women's League.

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