I’ve spent more time than I care to at Sam Smith’s Park this season, and I’m unable to fathom out why. Not only have Benfield played averagely at best, they also contain one of my least favourite football players ever.
Paul Brayson, ex-Newcastle United and loads of others, is infuriating to watch. Languid would be a polite way to describe him, yet every time I’ve seen Benfield play he’s scored and I’ve enjoyed being at their ground.
The stadium itself is small but homely. Once through the turnstile you’ll find two decent sized stands for this level, plus a covered standing area. Programmes sell out early if you’re there for a game but a simple tweet to the club later and I found one on my doorstep a day later free of charge. Nice.
I did have the surreal sight on one of my first visits here of one of the home bench spending the entire game topless. And not in a good way. Sunning yourself during the match seems somehow disrespectful to the game, especially if you’ve got a really hairy back.
Minus marks are also awarded for simply dumping old seats and other rubbish in a corner of the ground and fencing it off, rather than getting rid. Whilst it’s nice to have a nose at old parts of football grounds, even at this level I’m a fan of not ruining the magic.
Thankfully these minus parts are won over by a massive banner advertising Martin’s Windows. I’ve never heard of them but after this bonkers bit of rhyming I’m almost tempted to pop along. Bang goes your mangoes indeed. It’s also right next to a railway line, which appeals to the train spotter in me; even if you can’t see them you can hear trains rolling past.
I’ve very little advice to offer anyone visiting this ground. Although it’s tucked away location wise, it’s an old enough ground to have a bit of character to it, it’s showing its age but in a perfectly acceptable way.
Not one for the tourists but if you’re after taking in a new ground to watch a match in it’s well worth the trip.