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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Thamesmead Town FC

Bayliss Avenue
Thamesmead
London
SE28 8NJ

Telephone: 0208 311 4211

Website

Nickname: The Mead

Stand

Players’ walkway

Dugouts

Two views

Clubhouse

Thamesmead FC was formed in 1969 when a group of adults got together to form a club with two teams for local youngsters. The club merged with Southlake FC in 1973, and by 1979 ventured into Saturday football, playing on park pitches at Crossways in Thamesmead. The club entered the London Spartan League Intermediate Division Three and won it at the first attempt in 1980. Thamesmead continued to progress and won the London Spartan League Intermediate Division in 1984/85 and 1985/86, but were unable to gain promotion to the Senior Division until they gained Senior Status. In the meantime, The Mead played their matches at the Meridian Sports Ground in Charlton.

The club changed its name to Thamesmead Town FC in time for the 1985/86 season, and by the middle of that campaign had found their current home at Bayliss Avenue. The clubhouse, pitches and car park and other original facilities were constructed at a cost of £450,000. The club gained senior status during the summer of 1987 and were accepted into the London Spartan League Premier Division for the 1987/88 Season. During Easter 1988, the first game at Bayliss Avenue was played against Hackney Downs FC. The new ground was officially opened however, in August 1988 when the then FA Cup holders Wimbledon were the visitors for a friendly. The club joined the Kent League in June 1991.

Mead enjoyed their best runs in the FA Cup and Vase during the 1995/96 Season, reaching the last 16 in the Vase before bowing out dramatically 2-1 to Canvey Island - a game played at Slade Green FC before a crowd of 811 after the FA deemed Bayliss Avenue too small to cope with the expected crowd. Mead had already knocked out the holders Arlesey Town 2-1 away in an earlier round.

Further ground improvements were carried out prior to the 2000/01 Season, including perimeter railings and hard standing being added on the dugout side of the pitch. During that season, the team reached the last 32 of the FA Vase.

Improvements have continued at Bayliss Avenue, including erection of a new 125 seat stand, replacing the two smaller stands with bench seating that originally stood on the eastern touchline. The ground is well-maintained but clearly has to be protected from the more undesirable elements of the local community. Accordingly, the large clubhouse is heavily fortified and the playing area surrounded with high mesh fencing. The latter also encloses the players’ walkway behind the near goal, from the clubhouse/dressing rooms to the pitch. There is also a large car park, whilst the atmosphere is constantly penetrated by traffic noise from the busy A2016 flyover that runs past the far end of the pitch

Out-of-town visitors should be aware that Thamesmead is a huge urban development in South East London and it is very easy to become lost and disoriented in its midst, if directions are not followed carefully.

Ground details
Capacity: Unknown
Seats: 125
Floodlights: Yes.

Directions
From Abbey Wood, proceed north along Harrow Manor Way (A2041). Shortly after the large interchange with Eastern Way (A2016) dual carriageway, take the third exit at the next roundabout into Crossway, and Bayliss Avenue is the third turning on the right.

By rail
Abbey Wood (BR) one and a half miles.