Ian Cartwright reports
For many Charlton fans, the thought of a Saturday afternoon out in Bromley in July would probably not be one that would see them jumping for joy - think of the car park at The Glades alone and its sends shivers down the spine.
However, due to the continually quirky nature of our pre-season fixture programme, Charlton will now be visiting Hayes Lane on Saturday, July 28th (3pm).
Tickets for the match are priced £12 adults, £6 over 60s and £5 U16s and students. A family ticket is also on offer, priced £17, which admits one adult and two U16s, while transfers to the stand are a further £1. You should be able to purchase in advance and collect from Hayes Lane, while their number is 020-8460 5291.
For those that have never nipped down to Hayes Lane before, or always wondered what the floodlights were when driving along said road, the ground is situated between Bromley and Hayes on, ermm…Hayes Lane.
The postcode is BR2 9EF and it's basically off the A21 beyond the continually bizarre set of traffic lights between Bromley and Bromley Common - it confuses me and I travel by bus!
The entrance itself is a little secluded but signposted on the right-hand side if you are coming from Bromley, albeit the turning is a little sharp. The other thing to watch out for is to avoid making the schoolboy error of going into Norman Park at the mini-roundabout because it's impossible to cut across the allotments, park and various other foliage to get to the ground despite its close proximity. Here speaks the voice of experience!
It is a classic 'walk around ground', with just the one set of turnstiles in the corner to the left of the stand, next to the clubhouse. Behind one goal is a covered seated area which has a quite uniquely structured roof in terms of structure, while the remainder is uncovered terrace in close proximity of the pitch, with good, unimpeded views and room to manoeuvre. The stand affords a pretty good view, too, and is one of those that has a brick wall below it then a couple of staircases leading up to it. On the whole, it's a nice facility.
In terms of pubs, there is certainly not a great deal within the immediate vicinity and having given the one by Hayes station a second bite of the cherry last season, it will not be getting a third, although the game being on a Saturday does help.
Bromley town centre will no doubt be heaving, but there are plenty of nice places to both eat and drink there and the ground is only a short bus ride or stagger away.
The afore-mentioned clubhouse, aka the Sports Bar, is spot on, however, having even laid on a barbeque in the past - it offers a decent pint, nice atmosphere and even a glimpse of the pitch.
However, having entered via the turnstiles, if you turn right, walk along the front of the stand, then once at the end, turn right, then right again. Here you will find the entrance to the Glemnet Suite, which is a nice modern facility, with satellite TV, and which serves a good pint and bite to eat and offers even more than just a glimpse of the pitch - I'll say no more than that, but I for one was delighted when the match moved to a Saturday because I had a banging headache the morning after our previous two visits!
There are three buses which stop immediately outside the ground - the 119, 146 and 314 - and these all run back into Bromley. The parking is a bit limited, but there is always The Glades!