True blue: Harrow, Enfield or Hendon - who are Wealdstone’s real derby rivals?
PUBLISHED: 07:47 23 August 2013
Copyright - Â© Steve Foster/Wealdstone FC 2012. You do NOT have permission to use this image unless it is properly accredited.
Wealdstone blogger Nick DuGard looks forward to two mouth-watering Ryman League Premier Division clashes
The new football season is already well underway and already high expectations – fuelled by summer signings – may already be dented or, in some cases, reinforced.
At Wealdstone the words ‘frustration’ and ‘transition’ seem to be key as substantial close-season changes following a long period of stability, leave the players inevitably needing time to gel together as a unit.
But in football, as sometimes in life, you simply do not have the luxury of time, as the hurley-burley of the league takes over. The expectations of the fans and the spectre of league tables becomes immediately and starkly apparent.
And expectations, it seems, are always sky-high at Wealdstone. Just ask the manager Gordon Bartlett, here for 18 years – it’s a curse and a blessing.
A curse because it can sometimes create unhealthy pressures on players and results, and a blessing because it can drive success and ever higher standards of achievement.
Fortunately Gordon is used to it by now but new players sometimes aren’t fully prepared for it, particularly when they are, perhaps, more used to playing in front of, shall we say, less fervent support and two men and their dog .
Already, the Stones are facing an August bank holiday weekend of the dreaded ‘local derby’.
Wealdstone will contest two local matches this weekend, against league rivals Harrow Borough and Enfield Town, over a three-day period.
But what really constitutes a local derby these days? Is it geographical location, fan rivalry or history and tradition? And do so-called local derbies really pull in the crowds these days in the non-league game?
The Oxford dictionary definition of a derby is: ‘a sports match between two rival teams from the same area’
In recent years the Wealdstone versus Harrow Borough matches have seemed to become a derby, but in the halcyon past it was, dare I say it, Barnet and then Enfield.
These were huge clashes and very well attended - usually well over 1000, sometimes with a 2000 crowd. But that was in the 1970s and 80s and times and the cycle of financial and playing fortunes for all clubs change – and has indeed significantly changed for all these clubs including Wealdstone.
And then, of course, there are our new neighbours Hendon, based at Harrow Borough. Hendon were the staple derby rivals in the amateur era when games were, unbelievably, played on Christmas day in front of thousands.
But part of that constant change has seen the re-emergence of Enfield Town, a club that still has the potential to pull in decent support.
They are, perhaps, our true rivals in the tough and very competitive world of the current Ryman Premier League.
But which is the true derby clash from the Wealdstone perspective - Harrow or Enfield? Or is it Hendon! Why not come along to a match over the weekend and find out for yourself!
Wealdstone play Harrow Borough at Earlsmead on Saturday, kick-off 3pm, and host Enfield Town on Monday, kick-off also 3pm.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Brent & Kilburn Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.