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Rhodes

The Hidden Gem

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Posted (edited)

Everyone will know full well exactly what I am talking about, the wonderful Viking Sports Ground, former home of Viking Sports FC, located in Avenue Park, just off the A40 Western Avenue in Greenford. The Club were founded in 1945, immediately after the war, and initially known as Viking, growing out of a works team at the Associated Equipment Company factory in Southall. It was not until 1966 however that they moved to the so called Hidden Gem and the rest is pretty much history although sadly the Club itself eventually folded in 2003, despite a name change to Viking Greenford in 1999, due to a gradual decline in support, poor results and administration and a disastrous fire at the ground in 1989 that totally destroyed the original clubhouse and changing rooms and which they struggled to recover from. The Club never flirted with the Spartan League or Spartan South Midlands League prior to its demise in 2003 however gained election to the Middlesex League in 1969, the Hellenic League in 1980 and the Combined Counties League in 1991, they were also accepted into the FA Vase in 1987/88 and the FA Cup for the 1992/93 season losing 1-0 at home to Bishop's Stortford, the likes of Alan Devonshire and Les Ferdinand were with the Club briefly as youngsters and trod the hallowed turf:

https://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/features/30298/viking-sports-fc-defunct-touring-side-steeped-in-history/

http://inbedwithmaradona.com/journal/2013/10/8/the-vikings

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Edited by Rhodes

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Is the venue being used by anyone or has it been left to rot?

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Savagebee will be interested to see the 1969/70 Middlesex League Premier Division table when Viking Sports joined, Harefield United won it pretty much every year until they were accepted into the Spartan League in 1971/72:

https://www.nonleaguematters.co.uk/nlmnet/Aarg3ED/Msex66.html

1969-1970 

Middlesex Premier Division 

  1. HAREFIELD UNITED                26   20    3    3    74 - 20   43

  2. NORTH GREENFORD UNITED          26   15    9    2    69 - 32   39

  3. BARNES                          26   16    6    4    67 - 49   38

  4. BEDFONT                         26   17    2    7    77 - 30   36

  5. HANWELL TOWN                    26   12    7    7    52 - 35   31

  6. VIKING SPORTS                   26   12    7    7    52 - 44   31

  7. VICTORIA                        26   11    5   10    59 - 49   27

  8. B.E.A.                          26    8    8   10    55 - 43   24

  9. MILL END                        26    7    5   14    46 - 58   19

 10. SOUTHALL CORINTHIANS            26    8    3   15    37 - 63   19

 11. RUISLIP TOWN                    26    6    5   15    43 - 83   17

 12. HAM                             26    5    6   15    35 - 71   16

 13. NORTHOLT SAINTS                 26    4    4   18    35 - 81   12

 14. TWICKENHAM                      26    4    4   18    31 - 74   12 

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10 hours ago, Rhodes said:

Everyone will know full well exactly what I am talking about, the wonderful Viking Sports Ground, former home of Viking Sports FC, located in Avenue Park, just off the A40 Western Avenue in Greenford. The Club were founded in 1945, immediately after the war, and initially known as Viking, growing out of a works team at the Associated Equipment Company factory in Southall. It was not until 1966 however that they moved to the so called Hidden Gem and the rest is pretty much history although sadly the Club itself eventually folded in 2003, despite a name change to Viking Greenford in 1999, due to a gradual decline in support, poor results and administration and a disastrous fire at the ground in 1989 that totally destroyed the original clubhouse and changing rooms and which they struggled to recover from. The Club never flirted with the Spartan League or Spartan South Midlands League prior to its demise in 2003 however gained election to the Middlesex League in 1969, the Hellenic League in 1980 and the Combined Counties League in 1991, they were also accepted into the FA Vase in 1987/88 and the FA Cup for the 1992/93 season losing 1-0 at home to Bishop's Stortford, the likes of Alan Devonshire and Les Ferdinand were with the Club briefly as youngsters and trod the hallowed turf:

https://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/features/30298/viking-sports-fc-defunct-touring-side-steeped-in-history/

http://inbedwithmaradona.com/journal/2013/10/8/the-vikings

Image may contain: outdoor

 

I was sent that article from the Non League Football Paper the other day but I haven't read it yet.

The ground is still in a post-apocalyptic state after some Do As You Likeys moved into the place rent free and trashed it 😡

If the ground was done up it could do a decent job for a Step 6 club in my opinion.

 

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10 hours ago, Rhodes said:

Savagebee will be interested to see the 1969/70 Middlesex League Premier Division table when Viking Sports joined, Harefield United won it pretty much every year until they were accepted into the Spartan League in 1971/72:

https://www.nonleaguematters.co.uk/nlmnet/Aarg3ED/Msex66.html

1969-1970 

Middlesex Premier Division 

  1. HAREFIELD UNITED                26   20    3    3    74 - 20   43

  2. NORTH GREENFORD UNITED          26   15    9    2    69 - 32   39

  3. BARNES                          26   16    6    4    67 - 49   38

  4. BEDFONT                         26   17    2    7    77 - 30   36

  5. HANWELL TOWN                    26   12    7    7    52 - 35   31

  6. VIKING SPORTS                   26   12    7    7    52 - 44   31

  7. VICTORIA                        26   11    5   10    59 - 49   27

  8. B.E.A.                          26    8    8   10    55 - 43   24

  9. MILL END                        26    7    5   14    46 - 58   19

 10. SOUTHALL CORINTHIANS            26    8    3   15    37 - 63   19

 11. RUISLIP TOWN                    26    6    5   15    43 - 83   17

 12. HAM                             26    5    6   15    35 - 71   16

 13. NORTHOLT SAINTS                 26    4    4   18    35 - 81   12

 14. TWICKENHAM                      26    4    4   18    31 - 74   12 

Ham FC? I live just down the road from Ham. No such club anymore though 😞

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Savagebee - I took that photograph myself on 11 September 2009 and thought that it said everything about the so called Hidden Gem. You would never imagine in a million years that a stadium was there as you drove along that particular stretch of the busy A40 Western Avenue trying to stay calm, opening up the gate on matchdays, or for training, was just like opening a gate to the Garden of Eden as you would walk through for 20 yards or so and then see the hallowed turf, goalposts and Clubhouse in front of you, it was always a surreal and indescribable feeling. There's an interesting thread entitled 'Viking Greenford/Viking Sports' on another Forum worth reading:

https://nonleaguematters.co.uk/forum/gforum.cgi?post=267318

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Savagebee - I see that there is a thread on this very Forum from when the Club (Viking Greenford) sadly called it a day in 2003, the poster Deroy seems very knowledgeable and, sadly, all these sort of 'old school' posters have disappeared haven't they which is a shame:

 

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, petethegreek said:

Is the venue being used by anyone or has it been left to rot?

No and yes.

Needs loads of work done to it it would be a massive job.

A waste of a ground in my opinion. It would really suite a Step 7 team looking to make the jump up to Step 6.

Don't know who owns it? 

Edited by Savagebee

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Although, Viking Sports were never members of the Spartan League or Spartan South Midlands League (SSML), despite being in their catchment area, they interestingly played against Wingate & Finchley, who were at that time a Spartan League Club, in a 1993/94 FA Cup First Qualifying Round tie, winning 3-0 at the so called Hidden Gem. The following 1994/95 campaign saw them draw South Midlands League Premier Division Welwyn Garden City in the competition, losing 1-0 at Herns Lane in a Preliminary Round replay after a 1-1 draw at the Hidden Gem. Finally, in 1997/98 they drew SSML opposition in the FA Cup in the shape of Premier Division North side Milton Keynes, this time winning a Preliminary Round replay 1-0 at the Hidden Gem after a 1-1 draw, this was the first season that the SSML came into existence following the exciting merger of the Spartan League and the South Midlands League.

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11 hours ago, Rhodes said:

Savagebee - I took that photograph myself on 11 September 2009 and thought that it said everything about the so called Hidden Gem. You would never imagine in a million years that a stadium was there as you drove along that particular stretch of the busy A40 Western Avenue trying to stay calm, opening up the gate on matchdays, or for training, was just like opening a gate to the Garden of Eden as you would walk through for 20 yards or so and then see the hallowed turf, goalposts and Clubhouse in front of you, it was always a surreal and indescribable feeling. There's an interesting thread entitled 'Viking Greenford/Viking Sports' on another Forum worth reading:

https://nonleaguematters.co.uk/forum/gforum.cgi?post=267318

Your praise for the place has to be admired Rhodes.

Have you seen the place of late? If not It would really upset you.

The Garden of Eden I love that 😀

I watched a good few London Tigers FC games there + a few random local league finals and I always liked the place for some reason maybe I felt a bit sorry for the place as it was just getting more and more run down with each visit.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of the place.

The ground is surrounded but other grass and 3g pitches.

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1 hour ago, Rhodes said:

Although, Viking Sports were never members of the Spartan League or Spartan South Midlands League (SSML), despite being in their catchment area, they interestingly played against Wingate & Finchley, who were at that time a Spartan League Club, in a 1993/94 FA Cup First Qualifying Round tie, winning 3-0 at the so called Hidden Gem. The following 1994/95 campaign saw them draw South Midlands League Premier Division Welwyn Garden City in the competition, losing 1-0 at Herns Lane in a Preliminary Round replay after a 1-1 draw at the Hidden Gem. Finally, in 1997/98 they drew SSML opposition in the FA Cup in the shape of Premier Division North side Milton Keynes, this time winning a Preliminary Round replay 1-0 at the Hidden Gem after a 1-1 draw, this was the first season that the SSML came into existence following the exciting merger of the Spartan League and the South Midlands League.

Your researcher needs a refresher course, I was at both games and the first game on Saturday 27 August 1994 was the 1-1 draw at Herns Lane with the replay at Viking Sports the following Tuesday with the Citizens winning 1-0, Sean Giddens scoring for the Citizens in both games. The Citizens were to return to your so called 'Hidden Gem' on the 4th October 1997 when they won 4-3 in the FA Vase with goals from Duncan Hardy (2), Steve Gibbs and Steve Smart (pen).

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Karen - You're definitely Motty in disguise aren't you, actually I was about to summarise Viking Sports FA Vase exploits against all Spartan League, South Midlands League and Spartan South Midlands League opposition since they entered the competition in 1987/88, five seasons before they entered the FA Cup for the first time. Viking Greenford never played against any SSML Club's in the FA Cup or FA Vase following the Club's change of name from Viking Sports in 1999:

Viking Sports FA Vase record against all Spartan League, South Midlands League and SSML opposition

1989/90 Walthamstow Pennant (Spartan League), Extra Preliminary Round, Away, Lost 1-2

1991/92 Amersham Town (Spartan League), Extra Preliminary Round, Home, Won 3-2

1991/92 Brimsdown Rovers (Spartan League), Preliminary Round, Away, Won 1-0

1992/93 London Colney (South Midlands League, Extra Preliminary Round, Home, Lost 1-2

1993/94 Leverstock Green (South Midlands League, Preliminary Round, Home, Lost 3-4

1994/95 Tower Hamlets (Spartan League, First Round proper, Home, Lost 3-4

1996/97 Milton Keynes (South Midlands League, First Qualifying Round, Away, Drew 2-2

1996/97 Milton Keynes (South Midlands League, First Qualifying Round Replay, Home, Won 6-1

1996/97 Brache Sparta (South Midlands League, First Round proper, Home, Lost 1-3

1997/98 Welwyn Garden City (Spartan South Midlands League, Second Qualifying Round, Home, Lost 3-4

1998/99 Buckingham Athletic (Spartan South Midlands League, First Qualifying Round, Away, Lost 1-4

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Savagebee - There are no words are there, I can't think of any anyway:

travellers-greenford.jpg

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8 minutes ago, Rhodes said:

Savagebee - There are no words are there, I can't think of any anyway:

travellers-greenford.jpg

Bit difficult to judge off side from there.

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2 hours ago, Rhodes said:

Savagebee - There are no words are there, I can't think of any anyway:

travellers-greenford.jpg

You can just make out the main stand over the mountain of rubble.

Where would you start eh?

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2 hours ago, petethegreek said:

Bit difficult to judge off side from there.

Excuses Excuses 😉

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In told that the owners of The Hidden Gem had plans to return the ground to its former glory then get London Tigers FC back but that doesn't seem to be happening?

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8 hours ago, petethegreek said:

Bit difficult to judge off side from there.

So what would be new for you then, I guess you would need to change your trademark running style though wouldn't you and where you hold out the flag at a 180 degree angle

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9 minutes ago, Rhodes said:

So what would be new for you then, I guess you would need to change your trademark running style though wouldn't you and where you hold out the flag at a 180 degree angle

You will have to post a visual example of what you mean.

I have yet to be told by an Observer that my running style is unorthodox or that there is an issue with the angle of which I hold the flag. 

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On ‎06‎/‎05‎/‎2020 at 23:48, Karen Browne said:

Your researcher needs a refresher course, I was at both games and the first game on Saturday 27 August 1994 was the 1-1 draw at Herns Lane with the replay at Viking Sports the following Tuesday with the Citizens winning 1-0, Sean Giddens scoring for the Citizens in both games. The Citizens were to return to your so called 'Hidden Gem' on the 4th October 1997 when they won 4-3 in the FA Vase with goals from Duncan Hardy (2), Steve Gibbs and Steve Smart (pen).

Savagebee - It's interesting isn't it that our very own Karen has been to the so called Hidden Gem, on at least two occasions, to watch her beloved Welwyn Garden City in the FA Cup on 27 August 1994 and in the FA Vase on 4 October 1997, I wonder what she thought of it. That's what I mean as she could be so invaluable to this Forum with her wealth of knowledge and also being with the higher echelons of the SSML and in the know, it's such a pity she chooses to be so aloof and, as one poster so perfectly described her, 'a party pooper'.

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On 07/05/2020 at 11:53, Savagebee said:

Fly tipping is massively on the increase in this area, especially as recycling centres and town tips are closed because of the dreaded COVID.

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12 hours ago, Rhodes said:

Savagebee - It's interesting isn't it that our very own Karen has been to the so called Hidden Gem, on at least two occasions, to watch her beloved Welwyn Garden City in the FA Cup on 27 August 1994 and in the FA Vase on 4 October 1997, I wonder what she thought of it. That's what I mean as she could be so invaluable to this Forum with her wealth of knowledge and also being with the higher echelons of the SSML and in the know, it's such a pity she chooses to be so aloof and, as one poster so perfectly described her, 'a party pooper'.

It's a strange little ground which kind of makes it unique in a way.

A shame that it has been left to rot.

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