Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sporting Bengal United FC

Sporting Bengal United 1 Whitstable Town 5 - Kent League Premier Division

Mile End takes its name from a milestone signifying the point one mile east of the boundary of the City of London at Aldgate. Although historically the stone's position was near Stepney Green tube station, in the modern era Mile End is used to describe the area about half a mile east of this point, around Mile End tube station. The Mile End Stadium is home to Sporting Bengal United FC.

Formed in 1996 to encourage Asian football in London, Sporting Bengal United initially played in the London Intermediate League until they gained senior status in 2003. At this time they joined the Kent League.The Sporting Bengal set-up is unusual in that it is operated by the Bangladesh Football Association (UK) and players are selected from (and retain their affiliation with) the Sunday league clubs which are affiliated to that organisation.

Accompanied by my daughter, I was able to make the relatively short journey to Mile End (District Line - Central Line closed for engineering works) via London Liverpool Street. From the station the stadium is little more than 5 minutes walk. Limehouse (c2c and Docklands Light Railway) is of similar distance to the stadium.

The match featured bottom of the table Sporting Bengal United up against table toppers, Whitstable Town. Therefore we expected to see a few goals and in the end that was the way it turned out with the visitors scoring 5 goals. However, it was the home side that struck first in the 2nd minute and with a little more fortune on the day ought to have added to their tally. In truth though, Whitstable always had something in reserve and could also have scored more. Daughter enjoyed the match and the sand in the long jump pit!

A typical Athletics venue, the stadium only has one spectator area, this being the covered stand featured above. The visiting Whitstable fans were in fine voice supporting their team. They in turn were supported by a large case of Fosters Lager that they brought with them. Refreshment facilities are extremely limited at this venue although vending machines are present in the admin area for the stadium. Although unable to partake, a decent looking Shepherd Neame pub was spied in a side road behind Mile End station.

Attendance: 38
Admission: £5 (concessions free)
Programme: £1 (very limited)

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