Note Hayes Football Club was founded in 1909 when Eileen Shackle, the teenage daughter of a wealthy land agent, encouraged the local youngsters to form a football team. The team was originally known as Botwell Mission, after the mission church that was built in memory of her grandfather, and that still stands today as part of the Hayes Library in Golden Crescent.
The club’s first home was at Botwell Common where they played until acquiring a new ground in Church Road. The site was originally known as Cox’s Meadow or latterly, Townfield and was officially opened on 26 August 1920 with a ‘Whites vs Stripes’ trial.
The club’s official website states that at the end of the 1928-29 season the club changed its name to Hayes FC, although the club retained the nickname “The Missioners” in memory of its origins. The clubhouse received a direct hit courtesy of the Luftwaffe in 1942, destroying all the club’s pre-war records. The present clubhouse is located outisde of the ground itself.
In 1925 a wooden grandstand was built which survived until the 1960s when it was replaced by the present brick built structure, with its deeply pitched roof. Despite the rather low roof and intruding roof supports, it affords a reasonable view of the action. The dressing rooms are housed within the building..
The vast banks around the ground were gradually terraced after WW2 and today provide an excellent vantage point for spectators. They also gave the ground an impressive capacity as evidenced by the 15,370 that watched Hayes play Bromley in an Amateur Cup tie in 1951.
Further cover is provided by cover that runs for most of the far touchline. Church Road is a personal favourite and one wishes that Hayes could command the sort of support that might generate the sort of atmosphere that would befit such a venue. DB