Resurfacing some 40-year-old footage

Somewhat grainy and perhaps not too easy on the eye in this video-on-demand generation, but these match highlights from four decades ago are one of the earliest surviving film records of Stonebridge Road.

Not quite as old as this brief footage from a 1957 match between the Fleet and Kettering Town (3-2 to the Fleet in front of 2,797), which predated the construction of the Stonebridge Road/Liam Daish stand…

… but there is very little other footage of matches from the intervening period in circulation.

The story behind these Barrow game highlights came courtesy of our local neighbours Corinthian.

The Fawkham-based club’s founder and owner was in the rare position in the late 1970s of having his own cameraman in Norman Tovey in the days before portable video equipment was in use by non-league clubs.

Match footage at the Fleet 1979-style courtesy of Norman Tovey

He lent the Fleet both cameraman and camera, perched atop a scaffold, for the visit of Barrow to enable Tony Sitford’s side to watch their performances during the following week’s training. How much Sitford learned is open to discussion, however, given Fleet cruised to a 5-1 home win in what was only the club’s third home game at Alliance Premier/Conference/National League level.

A few curiosities to note in this video are the very different state of the Swanscombe End, the smaller dugouts in front of the main stand, that stand’s much larger capacity before the back rows of seats were closed off and the large Charrington’s Beers sign (one of only a few spaces sold by the looks of things) along what is now commonly termed “Geek’s Corner”.

View the video below…


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