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Woking

Grier's Guide to Woking

The town: Large town which, although having history all the way back to the Domesday Book, really grew in earnest following the coming of the railways in Victorian Times. Despite the football club’s often impressive exploits, including three FA Trophy wins under Geoff Chapple, the town’s most notable sporting achievements are probably those of the McLaren F1 team, who are based on the outskirts.

The ground: The Laithwaite Community Stadium, Kingfield, Woking, Surrey, GU22 9AA. The ground is most notable for the massive stand behind one of the goals, which holds the majority of the 2,500 seats in the 6,000 capacity ground. Nonetheless in the long term the club plan to demolish the ground to replace it with a 10,000 capacity replacement on the same site. 

Directions: About a 20 minute walk south of the station which has regular trains from Surbiton, the fastest of which (17:39 and 18:40) take just 12 minutes. By car you’ll want to avoid Woking town centre in the evening and instead head down the A3 then up through Ripley and Send. Parking at the ground isn’t easy though, with the nearest car park at Woking Park: https://woking.gov.uk/parking-and-streets/car-parks/find-car-park/woking-park-car-park

Our record there: We’ve played Woking over 150 times over the years but not at Kingfield since 2002 when they knocked us out of the FA Trophy. We did manage to stay unbeaten in our three visits in the Conference though and in 2006 Kingfield hosted our Surrey Senior Cup final win over AFC Wimbledon, after an online petition ­persuaded the Surrey FA to move the game away from their preferred venue of Imber Court.

Players to watch: Veteran strike Dave Tarpey has over 150 league goals in a non-league career at clubs including Hampton, Farnborough and Maidenhead. Jake Hyde is the top scorer and Jamar Loza has four full Jamaica caps. But Ks fans are most likely to notice captain and left-back Josh Casey, who had an extremely successful spell with us, and our popular former manager Alan Dowson.

Recent form: Tenth in the National League and still very much in playoff contention, although their form has tailed off recently with only one win in their last six – a run that started with their 3-1 defeat to us in the FA Trophy and also includes a 6-2 defeat at Sutton over Christmas. With this being the Surrey Cup though form can go out of the window and much will depend on how strong a team Dowson fields.

Crowd: Woking tend to get around 2,000 for their home games but only 335 saw their last Surrey Cup game, a win over Chertsey.

Drinking: There’s a cluster of pubs just to the north of the station but that’s the wrong direction from the ground. The obvious choice o­­­n the direction of the ground is the Sovereigns, a huge Ember Inn that does good value food.

Food: Again the majority of the food options are in the town centre to the north of the station. The local branch of Pizza Express recently made worldwide news when Prince Andrew mentioned it in his infamous interview with Emily Maitlis. It’s about a five minute walk from the station.

Published Sunday 19th January 2020