Grier's Guide to Hayes and Yeading United
The game: Hayes & Yeading United v Kingstonian, pre-season friendly. Saturday 7 August, 15:00.
The club: Formed in 2007 as a merger of Hayes FC and Yeading FC, two Conference South neighbours who were punching above their weight in the face of low support. They won promotion to Conference National in their second season before slipping down three divisions during a period of groundsharing outside London. In 2017 they moved into their new home and have since been promoted back to the Southern League Premier South, the same level as Ks.
The town: West London suburbia sandwiched between Southall to the east, West Drayton to the west, RAF Northolt to the north and Heathrow and the M4 to the south. George Orwell taught there, EMI had their UK base there and scenes from Bend It Like Beckham were filmed there - at Barra Hall Park (a public park in the grounds of an old manor house) and The Warren (Yeading's old ground).
The ground: SkyEx Stadium, Beaconsfield Road, Hayes UB4 0SL. In one of many cautionary tales for Ks around new grounds, they ended up groundsharing for six years after delays in its building. It has an impressive 1,000 seat main stand but little on the other three sides.
Tickets (updated 4th August): £7 adults / £5 concessions / £3 for Under 16s, you can pay using cash or card.
Directions: On an industrial estate between Hayes itself and Southall, it's not far as the crow flies but is a lengthy journey by public transport. Depending on where exactly you're going from, the X26 bus to Heathrow and then the 90 to Hayes might be the best of various difficult options, though that still leaves a mile's walk. Hayes and Southall stations are even further. It's not much fun by car either, with traffic likely to be heavy whether you go via Feltham and Heathrow, or Richmond and Isleworth. However you get there, expect it to take well over an hour.
Our record there: Our only visit was for the last of our five futile friendlies between lockdowns last winter, finishing in a 1-1 draw. It's built on the site of Yeading's old ground The Warren, where on our final visit in 2005 Yeading beat us about as comprehensively as you can in a game that only finishes 2-0. The following week their impressive side went on to hold Newcastle to a mere 2-0 defeat at Loftus Road in the FA Cup third round before going on to comfortably win the league. Ks, still owned by the Khoslas, finished bottom.
Recent form: Friendly results have included 4-1 wins over Westfield and Ashford Town (Middlesex), along with a chastening 9-0 loss to a strong Oxford United team.
Players to watch: Striker Moses Emmanuel has joined from Wealdstone over the summer - he has extensive Conference National experience and a strong goalscoring record. He's made an immediate impact with three goals in pre-season.
Crowd: Hard to make an up-to-date judgment - crowds are typically in the 200s but the recent friendly was behind closed doors. They brought some vocal fans to Kingsmeadow for our only competitive meeting, when they beat us 3-1 in an entertaining cup tie in 2008.
Drinking: The nearest pub to the ground is the Hambrough Tavern, a traditional-looking boozer. Options on the way from Hayes include a Wetherspoons, a Beefeater and Pub Punjabi, a rare place where you can get both a pint and a kebab under the same roof.
Food: There doesn't appear to be anything by the ground itself, even in the nearby retail park. But nearby Southall has the largest Punjabi population outside of Asia - it's well known as a centre of Punjabi culture, including many restaurants.