Emotional day ahead as Moneyfields bid farewell to Dover Road pitch and facilities

Emotions will be running high when Moneyfields play their final game on grass at Dover Road this weekend.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 12:10 pm
Moneyfields play their final game on the grass pitch at Dover Road against Amesbury this weekend. Picture: Neil Marshall
Moneyfields play their final game on the grass pitch at Dover Road against Amesbury this weekend. Picture: Neil Marshall

The curtain will be brought down on facilities the club have used since the mid-1990s when Amesbury visit for a Wessex League Premier Division game on Saturday.

Previously, the Copnor venue had been used by Portsmouth FC as a training ground.

Once the Amesbury game is over, officials will then have a week to clear the site before the wrecking ball moves in on Monday week to start knocking down the changing room/bar area.

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Flashback - how the Moneyfields site looked in June 1985

When Moneys next play competitively at the site, it will be on one of the two artificial pitches forming part of the multi-million pound John Jenkins Stadium redevelopment.

‘I’m sure it will be an emotional day,’ said Moneys chairman Pete Seiden.

‘There will probably be a tear or two.

‘Certainly for the likes of Pete Shires, Alan Smith, Christine - she’s done the tea hut since year dot.

No more umbrella pictures like this at the John Jenkins Stadium! Flashback to 2005 and George Wain shows off a watery Dover Road pitch that resulted in a postponement. Picture: Malcolm Wells

‘For me, it’s more a case of looking forward. This had to happen - this (redevelopment of the Dover Road site) has saved the club.’

Due to the size of the clubhouse area, numbers are restricted for Saturday’s farewell occasion.

But Seiden said former Moneys management teams of Dave Carter and Gav Spurway and Miles Rutherford and Micky Gee have been invited for a post-game drink.

‘It’s only right we did that, between them they managed the club for about 20 years,’ said the chairman.

For current Moneys boss Glenn Turnbull, it will be a day of memories.

‘There’s a lot of emotion for me,’ he remarked. ‘Moneyfields has been a big part of my life since I was eight.

‘Living in Copnor, I used to nip over the bridge to watch Pompey train and I used to go and watch the Pompey youth team play. I saw Sol Campbell and Andy Cole playing for Tottenham and Arsenal youth.

‘I remember watching the 91 FA Cup final there when Gazza did his knee, and I had my engagement party there!

‘It’s things like playing five a side on the old outside court and breaking my toe kicking the wall because I couldn’t get near Calvin Hore … I’ll remember those things more than actual games.’

Turnbull continued: ‘It’s tinged with sadness, but it’s like when I walk past the old Mayfield School site and see a load of bricks. Next is a facility that looks a million dollars and that’s what we’re going to have.

‘The new facilities will hopefully pull a few little levers with regards to recruitment.

‘I don’t think it matters if you off players £50 or £60, but offer good coaching at a great facility …

‘We’ll also know our games are going to be on, which helps players to plan their lives a bit better.

‘When we had the storms the other day, it was only Alton, Hamworthy and Stoneham (all with artificial pitches) that played. That’ll be us in future.’

Turnbull said this weekend’s game against Amesbury is ‘tinged with a bit of anger’ following events which took place in December.

Back then, the Wiltshire club said they couldn’t raise a side for the trip to Dover Road.

Amesbury will be relegated if they lose on Saturday and Bournemouth Poppies beat AFC Stoneham.

Moneys will be without 25-goal top scorer Steve Hutchings (holiday) and 23-goal James Franklyn (groin injury).

Tyler Moret will come in for Hutchings if he has recovered from the sickness that forced him to miss Tuesday’s Portsmouth Senior Cup semi-final win against Locks Heath.

Another striker, Evan Harris, will probably be with Lee Mould’s Hampshire Premier League title-chasing reserves.

‘Ev’s been a bit unlucky,’ said Turnbull. ‘He’s a centre forward but we haven’t actually played him in a front two yet. We’ve played him in Franko’s role, we’ve played him on the left and on the right.

‘He needs a bit of a confidence boost so he will probably go with Lee for a few weeks. Hopefully we’ll get the reaction that we had with Josh Bailey - he went with Lee and ended up player of the month.’

Moneys still have two home Wessex League games after this weekend - they are playing lofty pair Shaftesbury (April 9) and Bashley (April 13) at US Portsmouth’s Victory Stadium. Other clubs, including Baffins, had offered their grounds in a show of non-league friendship.