CONIFA Stadiums – Coles Park Stadium
This is the third in a four-part series looking at a selection of ‘Under the Radar’ non-league stadiums chosen to host CONIFA Football World Cup Matches in London this summer.
Coles Park Stadium – Haringey Borough FC
When heading to a football match at White Hart Lane, N17, North London, it’s probable you’re in ‘Premier League’ mode and the home side will be Tottenham Hotspur.
The actual White Hart Lane, in N17 (the road not the stadium name), has two stadiums in fact, neither of which though are home to the Spurs.
At the western end of White Hart Lane there is the New River Sport & Fitness Stadium, an impressive facility with a huge variety of leisure provision for the local area. Then there is Coles Park Stadium. It’s a 10-minute walk from the imposing new stadium that Tottenham Hotspur are building on the High Road; a million miles away though in most other regards.
This series looks at stadiums ‘under the radar’ and it’s fair to say the home of Haringey Borough Football Club (HBFC) fits the bill perfectly.
Haringey Borough FC trace their roots back to Tufnell Park FC who were founded in 1907; whilst the team name changed to Wood Green Town or Edmonton & Haringey FC and others, the Coles Park Stadium was the one consistent thread, from 1930 to the present day.
Arriving for the 9th / 10th ‘Placement Game’ in the wonderful 2018 CONIFA Football World Cup, it was clear this was the 3rd most luxurious stadium in the immediate area. The lumpy bumpy car park, the graffiti, the rickety scaffolding (doubling up as a covered standing area) it’s clear that the larger investments have gone elsewhere.
It’s true too that the place felt a little ‘sad’ on the day of our visit. Two sets of lively, colourful fans supporting Kabylia and Abkhazia did their best to add razzmatazz to the occasion but not too many others turned up. A placement match for 9th and 10th perhaps unsurprisingly not quite capturing the imagination of the locals. The reality for clubs like Haringey though is that things can be sad, and hard, repeatedly thankless and often disheartening. Like the 15/16 season when they had to play some home games 30 miles away in Tilbury as they’d had so many postponements. That may not sound so terrible, in fact they performed well there, but lose you bar takings and many of your paying home support and the honest truth is that it isn’t always easy at this level.
The stadium and the club are not a hard-luck story though, they are in fact the reason why we are writing this series. It’s at grounds like these and at clubs like HBFC where football fans should be found on Saturday afternoons or Monday evenings. Over 1/4 million people live in the Borough of Haringey, the main stand at HBFC has a capacity of just under 300, the club would love to see that stand and the surrounding terraces full!
In fact, In 17/18 season average attendances were up, the stadium even witnessed its record crowd of 1,133 (for an FA Trophy match v Leyton Orient). There’s a new 3G synthetic surface that means postponements are a thing of the past and vital funds can be raised through hiring the pitch out during the week They also celebrated promotion to the Bostik Premier League, the third tier of English non league football.
So let’s not feel sorry for the club, the owner, the fans and volunteers, nobody said it would be easy; just make a visit to the real White Hart Lane and put a smile on their face. Making sure the stadium and the team are still around in 2030 to celebrate 100 years of football at Coles Park.
Coles Park was chosen to host 6 matches during CONIFA Football World Cup 2018 – visit the website for more information http://www.conifa.org/en/
Photos can be found here https://flic.kr/s/aHskCKc2L9
CONIFA, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations, is the football federation for all associations outside FIFA. It’s a global acting non-profit organization that supports representatives of international football teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories.
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