Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground and Bedfont Sports FC logo

Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground, Feltham

Bedfont Sports FC vs. Bracknell Town FC
BetVictor Isthmian League South Central Division

Tucked away off the Southern Perimeter Road, in the eye of Heathrow Airport's south runway, is a groundhopper's paradise. There is Ashford Town just a few minutes down the road, and on Feltham’s Hatton Road, there is not only one ground, but two.

The clubhouse at Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground
The clubhouse, which doesn't have a toilet. So be warned, beer drinkers.

Not only that, but they are home to at least four different teams populating the lower regions of the non-leagues. The poor residents whose lives are blighted by the constant sounds of aeroplanes taking off or landing are spoilt for choice.

Welcome to Bedfont sign and club shop
A club shop promised much and delivered little. It's closed.

The leading member of this congested group around Bedfont are also the newest. Bedfont Sports have enjoyed a meteoric rise up non-league football since their formation in 2002, leaving their next door neighbours languishing behind in the Combined Counties League.

As it was a clear and sunny day, the ground's close proximity to the airport meant a perfect chance to take in a game of football and a bonus spot of plane spotting. Bedfont were also playing Bracknell Town, which meant some Berkshire interest as well.

A plane takes off above Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground
We have liftoff at Bedfont.

If there was ever anywhere you should go and have Flight Radar installed on your phone, this is the place. Unfortunately I didn't, and the phone I've been threatening to upgrade for three years refused to play ball, but the planes are so low you can easily make out which airline they belong to.

Where bouncy castles exist to entertain (distract) young children at some games, air traffic serves as the biggest sideshow here. If the game is boring (and the first half of this game certainly was) you can lose yourself in watching people jetting off on adventures and destinations probably far more exciting than an eighth tier game on a warm, Saturday afternoon in Bedfont (whilst nursing the early signs of the flu).

A British Airways flight takes off over Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground
The planes are so low you can't help but wonder if they're ever under threat from a stray shot.

It does make for an unusual atmosphere for a sporting event. Crowd noise is replaced by the noise of a jet airliner’s engine, and even if Bedfont managed to attract more than a couple of hundred, even the noisiest fans would be drowned out by one of Emirates Airlines’ enormous Airbus planes.

Having grown up under the flight path of the Concorde, I really cannot begin to wonder how people can live so close to an airport. After 45 minutes of constant screeching of engines, I had a banging headache (although that may just have been the flu taking effect), so I can’t imagine what it’s like in one of the many houses opposite the ground, even with triple glazing.

Action from the Bedfont Sports vs. Bracknell Town game
There's something missing in this photo. It's both the effort on goal and an aeroplane.

To reflect its status being near the gateway to the UK, Bedfont Sports have decided to decorate their ground with a random selection of flags. I can only assume this is in the hope that maybe some American tourists jump straight off a plane, wander across the south runway, and pop in to catch a game, before heading back to pick up their luggage from the carousel.

I can't imagine this has happened too many times, since walking across a runway is an incredibly stupid thing to do. But apparently you have to do this to get to the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar, so who knows what people are capable of. They might just love non-league football as much as I do.

United Airlines flight takes off over Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground
I made sure that every photograph I took shamelessly also contained a plane.

Fans of pitch-side drinking will also appreciate the Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground. So anyone with a late evening flight to catch could do worse than to stop off here for your pre-flight drinks. It's cheaper than a pint at the Terminal 3 bar I so often frequent that's for sure.

One of the most striking features of the ground was the scoreboard. Not only that, but a fully working scoreboard, really highlighting how new this venue is. They can't even get a video screen at Old Trafford and here Bedfont are with a fully functioning scoreboard, not just a black screen shut off years ago because it's too expensive to maintain, or the thing broke and the manufacturer went out of business ten years ago so you can't replace the parts.

Scoreboard at the Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground
Fans crowd around the scoreboard. Bro, sit down.

Thankfully they still maintained an element of non-league tradition since they couldn't be bothered to update the score once Bracknell doubled their efforts. Who really wants to know the correct score at a non-league game anyway? Not knowing is all part of the fun.

Useless information about Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground

Address: Hatton Road, Feltham, Greater London, TW14 9JR
Capacity: 3,000
Pitch Type: Artificial
Ticket Price: £8
Programme: £2, 16 pages

Bedfont Sports FC 2019/20 season programme