Aldershot Town

09-11-1993: Aldershot Town 2 Tilbury 0 (Diadora League Division Two) Recreation Ground, Aldershot, Hampshire

25-01-1994: Aldershot Town 2 Malden Vale 0 (Carlsberg Trophy) Recreation Ground, Aldershot, Hampshire

On Saturday August 6th Aldershot Town travel to Bradford City to kick-off the twentieth season of their relatively short existence. Aldershot Town were formed from the ashes of Aldershot FC who, in March 1992, became the first team since Accrington Stanley to go out of business mid-season.

By today’s standards the debts of Aldershot FC were relatively modest at just under £100,000 but it was enough for the club to be declared “hopelessly insolvent” and wound up in the High Court. A saviour in the unlikely form of 19-year-old public schoolboy and property developer Spencer Trethewy looked to have saved the ‘Shots’ a few months earlier but his cheque for £200,000 bounced and that appeared to be it for the Hampshire side.

But not so, the fan driven birth of Aldershot Town FC took just a matter of months to organize, and by August of the same year the new club had entered Division Three of the Isthmian League. A steady climb back up the national pyramid began and in 2008 promotion to the Football League was achieved.

The ground today looks to be much the same as it was when I visited it twice during the 1993-94 season, which is to say much as it was when first opened in the 1920’s and extended in the 30’s. A short walk from the town centre the Recreation Ground was at one time – and perhaps it still is now – the only ground in the Football League that is set in a public park.

There are stands on three sides of the pitch while the forth has just a narrow path behind it backed by a line of trees. Trees in fact tower over the far end of the ground too, with a few of their number higher than the floodlight pylons. A newspaper article from the late 1920’s describes the Recreation Ground rather nicely as one of the ‘prettiest football enclosures in the South’.

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