Grier's Guide to Aldershot Town
The game: Aldershot Town v Kingstonian, FA Trophy. Saturday 18 December, 15:00.
The club: Formed in 1992 from the ashes of Fourth Division Aldershot FC, they worked their way through four divisions of the Isthmian, and then the Conference, before eventually reaching the Football League in 2008. They're now back in the National League.
The town: Best known for its military links, the town grew rapidly with the establishment of the Aldershot Garrison during the Crimean War. It's known as the home of the British Army and still has one of the country's largest garrisons today.
The ground: The EBB Stadium, High St, Aldershot, GU11 1TW. The Rec, as it's best known, has a 7,100 capacity which (I think) makes it the biggest ground we'll have played at since we were in the Conference. It's a proper old-school league ground with good-sized seated stands down both sides and an impressive terrace at one end, the East Bank. Especially under the lights it's brooding, characterful and atmospheric. The game will be segregated and we've been given a block of seats in the South Stand.
Directions: Trains go direct from Surbiton at 12 and 42 past the hour, taking 37 minutes, with the ground a short walk away. The Supporters Club is running a coach - details here. By car, head over the Hog's Back, then take the A331 and A323 into town. Shots are selling nearby parking for £5 or you can use the High St multi-story on Wellington Avenue. Don't follow the signs for the away entrance - Ks fans will instead use turnstile 4 at the front of the ground.
Tickets: £14 adults / £10 seniors and disabled / £5 17 and under. Tickets won't be available on the turnstile, you need to buy them in advance here. Choose the 'south east seating' to be with the Ks fans. EDIT (11.15am Tuesday 07/12): Tickets have just been made available for the Away Uncovered Terrace, use this same link to book, if you want to exchange your ticket for a terracing one, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and he will sort you out.
Parking: Following the closure of the Parsons Barracks Car Park, the Shots have managed to source private car parking spaces for home games in the old Muller Car Park, just a two minute walk from the front of the EBB Stadium. This car park will be open from 1.30pm to 6pm and will cost £5 per car. Due to limited spaces, all those looking to use the car park should pre-book (this is the same website for booking match admission tickets), with the closing time for booking being 3.00pm on Friday 17th. The postcode for this car park is GU11 1TH.
Our record there: By far our most famous visit was the 1996 Guardian Insurance (Isthmian League) Cup Final, when we beat the Shots 4-1 thanks to a Jimmy Bolton brace and goals from Eddie Akuamoah and Dale Jasper. The reformed Shots were still on their way up through the pyramid at this point, a division below us, and took the game seriously with 3,246 fans making for a raucous atmosphere (hard to compare to the Isthmian League Cup these days). Our last visit in an FA competition was less happy though - Aldershot made the first round of the FA Cup at our expense with an 11-1 win in 1929, our second-heaviest defeat of all time
Recent form: They made a poor start to their league campaign but have now hit some form, taking three wins and a draw from their last four to pull clear from the relegation zone. Much will of course depend on how strong a team they field - like many ex-league clubs, they've often used the Trophy as a chance to field fringe players.
Players to watch: Of most note for us is Corie Andrews, who shone for us last season before being snapped up by AFC Wimbledon and now loaned out to the Shots. Mohamed Bettamer has proven a handful for us before in the colours of Staines Town and has since become a full Libyan international. Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain is the brother of Liverpool and England star Alex.
Crowd: On a good day their crowds top 2,000 and it makes for a fantastic atmosphere in the ground, particularly from the East Bank. But Trophy games tend to be less of a draw for the home fans, so don't expect such a big crowd for our visit.
Drinking: The bar at the ground is for home supporters only. The Rec and the station are both on the edge of the town centre and there are a few pubs nearby - Football Ground Guide gives some suggestions which may welcome away supporters (note The Beehive is now closed).
Food: The ground is on the edge of the town centre with plenty of the usual chains. If you fancy a curry after the game, Aldershot has a large Nepalese community and there are at least eight restaurants to choose from nearby. If driving and looking for something quick, Tongham Services at the A31/A331 junction includes a Greggs and you'll also pass drive-thru McDonald's and KFC on the way into Aldershot.