homevenues

MAIN MSFL HOME VENUE FOR SEASON 2017/18
ROGER BANNISTER SPORTS CENTRE
A venue used by former MSFL club Pinner FC for many seasons, the Roger Bannister Sports Centre has two senior pitches located behind the running track. As for the location, the Sports Centre is on the Uxbridge Road at the Oxhey Lane roundabout. There's an ample car park there and decent changing facilities

A history of the Club's home pitches


THE CLUB’S first home pitch was at the Parliament Hill Playing Fields, where Temple Fortune played for one season only, which was the Club’s inaugural Maccabi (Southern) Football League campaign in 1976/77.

Hiring the venue from the former Greater London Council, Temple Fortune played most matches on the sloping field facing the changing rooms (which housed two pitches) but occasionally the players had to walk over hills and through woods to locate a more distant pitch. In all cases, the goal posts had to be erected before the kick-off and dismantled afterwards, to be returned to a storage hut. Imagine the blissful scene – cold, wet through and caked in mud, having lost, and then being asked to carry heavy posts and cross-bars back to a hut! At least there were no goal nets to sort out, since in 1976 the MSFL had yet to introduce the rule insisting on the provision of them.

Which meant that being allocated West Hendon Playing Fields for the following season came as a blessed relief! Permanently erected goal posts with nets attached were a welcomed improvement, although the picth itself was of poor quality. WHPF was the Club’s first pitch hire from the London Borough of Barnet and Temple Fortune stayed there for five seasons. Home matches were played on the first sloping pitch there – incidently a Grade C pitch, which was the lowest rating under the Barnet Council's public parks pitch grading system.

However, the Club were finally allocated a Grade A pitch at Bethune Park, the top parks rating and first played there in September 1982. Fortune’s pitch was located within a fenced-off athletics track and was one of the best in the Borough. Unfortunately, Council cutbacks in subsequent years meant that the pitch no longer received the care first given to it and it gradually worstened. With the cutbacks came the scrapping of the grading system and sadly the Club’s formerly excellent Bethune Park pitch became an inadequately undersized paddyfield.

In 1998, following sustained complaints to the Council, the Club were offered another home venue, namely Childs Hill Park, which became first choice and was used primarily by the First Team. Childs Hill Park had a new drainage system installed during the previous summer and within a couple of months of Fortune’s debut there, the dressing rooms were refurbished as well.

Problems still continued at Bethune Park which was being used by the newly-revived Second XI. Vandalism of the dressing rooms resulted in the Club finally leaving the Friern Barnet-based pitch after 15 years midway through the 1997/98 season. The Old Boys game against a MSFL Referees XI in late December 1997 (drawn 2-2) was the Club’s final home match at Bethune Park.

Temple Fortune were allocated West Hendon Playing Fields for the rest of the 1997/98 season and staged home fixtures there in addition to staying at Childs Hill Park. Unlike the previous spell at West Hendon, the Club had use of a flat pitch up a raised incline further away from the changing rooms than the original sloping pitch.

When the Club folded the Second Team at the close of the 2003/04 season, West Hendon was dropped and Childs Hill retained. But an on-going problem with the Council over an issue of players urininating in the bushes at Childs Hill Park which was reported by residents led to the Club controversially losing this particular venue.

After contacting several councils for a new home venue, the Club finally were allocated Whitchurch Playing Fields for the 2005/06 season, hiring a flat pitch from Harrow Council, with dark green portacabins located nearby as the changing rooms, albeit without running water which was far from being ideal. This was the first time Temple Fortune had staged home MSFL matches outside the London Borough of Barnet since 1977.

Season 2006/07 saw Temple Fortune being moved to Hatch End Playing Fields on the Uxbridge Road, the furthest away the Club have been from its original roots. But at least there were changing rooms located there with hot water and showers – a welcomed luxury compared to Whitchurch! The Club managed to acquire a second pitch at Hatch End for the 2010/11 season after reforming the Second Team.

During the summer of 2011, the Club was given an opportunity to move MSFL home matches to two different venues for season 2011/12. The Hive, Barnet FC's training ground, which is located in Harrow but close to the London Borough of Barnet boundary! Ten permits were hired for the First Team's use on the 3G pitch costing twice as much as those at Hatch End! But, unlike the latter venue, The Hive offers excellent facilities, both in terms of the playing surface and changing rooms. The Second Team played at Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City, a venue used by the Maccabi Masters League for around ten years.

After just one season at Gosling, the Club were offered a pitch at the Roger Bannister Sports Centre on the Uxbridge Road, Harrow, not a million miles away from Hatch End. This was taken by the Second Team, whilst the Firsts stayed on at The Hive. For season 2013/14, when the Club returned to running one MSFL team, the Roger Bannister Sports Centre was retained as the main venue for economical reasons, since the price at The Hive had been increased to an enormous £150 per game! Unlike the Masters League where pitch costs are shared, MSFL teams have to foot the bill for home pitches and this made The Hive unaffordable.

During season 2016/17, the Club's First Team played mainly at the Roger Bannister Sports Centre but completed the last two leagues fixtures on the 3G at Silver Jubilee Park, home of Hendon FC of the Ryman League Premier Division. The Maccabi Masters League, hirers at SJP for three years, offered TFFC a pitch share opportunity at Silver Jubilee Park for season 2017/18 which the Club accepted. The newly-reformed Second Team continued at the Roger Bannister Sports Centre.

Over the years the Club have utilised Hampstead Heath Extention more than any other as an alternative home venue, mainly on occasions when the first choice location wasn’t available. Brook Farm in Whetstone has also been used several times for additional pitches, as were pitches at Hackney Marshes and Wormwood Scrubs on the occasions when the Club had to find home venues after early April due to the posts being removed in Barnet.


TEMPLE FORTUNE FOOTBALL CLUB'S HOME VENUES
YEARS
SEASONS
VENUES
COUNCIL/OWNERS
1970-1976
6
Hampstead Heath, Hampstead G.S. NW11
Greater London Council
1976-1977
1
Parliament Hill, Hampstead NW3
Greater London Council
1977-1982
5
West Hendon Playing Fields, NW9
London Borough of Barnet
1982-1997
15
Bethune Park, New Southgate N11
London Borough of Barnet
1997-2004
7
West Hendon Playing Fields, NW9
London Borough of Barnet
1997-2005
8
Childs Hill Park, Golders Green NW11
London Borough of Barnet
2005-2006
1
Whitchurch Playing Fields, Harrow
London Borough of Harrow
2006-2010
5
Hatch End Playing Fields, Harrow
London Borough of Harrow
2011-2012
1
Gosling Sports Park, Welwyn Garden City Gosling Sports Park
2011-2013
2
The HIve, Barnet FC, Edgware
Barnet Football Club
2012-2018
4
Roger Bannister Sports Centre, Harrow
London Borough of Harrow
2017-2018
1
Silver Jubilee Park, Kingsbury NW9 Kingsbury Town Management Ltd


Hampstead Heath Extension, home of Temple Fortune's very first 11-a-side match in 1970, staged many home matches over the years but it never became a seasonally-hired venue.

Temple Fortune played at Parliament Hill Playing Fields during the inaugural league season in 1976/77. All the pitches were sloping, uneven and bobbly – and posts had to be put up at each fixture!

West Hendon Playing Fields became Temple Fortune's home venue in 1977 and was hired in two separate spells covering 12 seasons in total.

Bethune Park, looking immaculate when the Club first were allocated it in 1982

A view of the pavilion containing the changing rooms at Bethune Park. This building was subjected to many incidents of vandalism over the years.

Bethune Park in action! One of Temple Fortune's more memorable days at Bethune – Temple Fortune Old Boys (or Old Fortunians as they were initially labelled) played Bushey Old Boys in the Murray Epstein Old Boys Challenge Cup in April 1993, drawing a fair crowd on a lovely sunny morning. Temple Fortune, wearing 'clash' colours of navy and light blue diagonal shirts, won 2-1.

Bethune Park's main enclosed pitch deteriorated over the years due to council cutbacks. Heavy bogs were common as shown above.

Childs Hill Park, which had one football pitch, was allocated to the Club in 1997 and remained Temple Fortune's main home venue for eight years.

Temple Fortune played home matches at Whitchurch Playing Fields during the 2005/06 season. The portacabin dressing rooms are located to the right of the M(S)FL XI's pitch.

Another view at Whitchurch Playing Fields in Harrow.

After just one season at Whitchurch Playing Fields, the Club moved to Hatch End Playing Fields off the Uxbridge Road in 2006, the furthest away TFFC has ever been from its original roots.

The Club's main pitch at Hatch End Playing Fields, used by the First Team. The Second Team were allocated another pitch at the same venue in August 2010. This picture was taken in December 2010 – the match in question was postponed due to the pitch being frozen.

The Club managed to hire permits at The Hive, Barnet FC's training ground, on the excellent 3G surface for First XI home fixtures during the 2011/12 season.

Also for season 2011/12, the Second XI were allocated the large grass pitch at Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City, which had been staging Maccabi Masters fixtures for 10 seasons or so.

The Club decided to dispense with Gosling after one season and accepted the Roger Bannister Sports Centre in Harrow. This ariel picture shows the two senior pitches to the right of the athletics track.

Temple Fortune in action at the Roger Bannister Sports Centre during the 2013/14 season.