Photographer puts focus on Bromley's football grounds in new book
PUBLISHED: 13:52 03 January 2013
Mike Floate's passion for the grassroots game is so strong he visited over 170 grounds to compile a book of his favourites.
But forget Old Trafford or the Emirates- Mike is in love with non-league stadiums.
And despite being a Swansea City supporter, who now play in the Premier League, his passion remains for Kent grounds belonging to clubs like Bromley FC, Holmesdale FC and Coney Hall FC.
“At non-league games you can move round, get the feel of being at a game without pressure to behave and can get to meet the players after the game,” he says.
“It is competitive on the field but real friendships are developed through a mutual love of the game afterwards.”
Mike first released a book, called Football Ground Frenzy Kent, in 1997 and a reprint was published recently. Here, he tells us his favourite grounds in Bromley:
Bromley FC, Hayes Lane
Hayes Lane is just about the last traditional terraced ground in London, although I d miss the wonderful old wooden grandstand. Somehow I can still smell the embrocation as I sat above the changing rooms over thirty years ago.
Holmesdale FC, Oakley Road
Holmesdale have developed their ground in their own way and through their own effort. Their stand is possibly one of the ugliest in the country but I love it for its quaint eccentricity in providing the height which makes watching a game whilst seated just about tolerable.
Coney Hall FC, Tiepigs Lane
This is a remarkably rural venue and at the time of my visit had the old cover still standing behind the modern version. The Hayes branch railway line runs past the far corner of the ground and all that is needed is for the trains to be steam hauled one weekend for this to be a perfect scene.
Palace Guard FC, The Eagles Nest
They are not your usual non-league team. The club go back to 1975 and provide ball boys at Crystal Palace matches. Their teams have a base in Keston, with a simple cover providing photographic interest in front of their changing room block.
Farnborough Old Boys Guild
This is a nice enclosed ground with old bus stops for cover. It goes to show anything can be used as a focal point for spectators to gather and make an atmosphere.
St Mary Cray Rec, St Mary Cray Recreation Ground, Park Road
The club may only have hosted Cray Wanderers for a short time when the club was at a very low ebb but remarkably again hosted the club as it began the celebrations of their founding as the second oldest club in the world with a game against neighbours and rivals Crockenhill.