East Thurrock United

FutureFuel Stadium

Capacity: 3,500 (Seats 554)
Address: Corringham, Essex, SS17 9LB
Telephone: 01375 644166
Pitch Size: To be advised
Club Nickname: The Rocks
Year Ground Opened: 1985
Home Kit: Amber and Black

Main Stand
Main Stand
Dugouts Side
Dugouts Side
Church End
Church End
Manorway End
Manorway End
Main Stand Side
Main Stand Side

Overlooked by the church of Saint Mary the Virgin on one corner and surrounded by leafy countryside, the ground is situated in quite an attractive setting. The ground itself though, is a bit of an odd affair. On one side is a small covered Main Stand, which sits astride the halfway line and has a seated capacity of just 160. There are also a number of supporting pillars running across this side of the stand. On one side of this stand is a snack bar and club shop, whilst there are also two large box-like structures, that are stacked on top of one another. All these are painted in a dark green, as well as the turnstiles entrance and a couple of other smaller temporary buildings located on the other side of the Main Stand, in an effort to try and make them blend into their rural surroundings.

The team dugouts are located on the opposite side of the pitch, which leads to a procession of players and club staff at half and at full time. On one side of these dugouts (towards the Church End) is another small seated stand. Although only three rows high, it does have cover and doesn't have any supporting pillars that could obstruct your view. It has 142 seats in total. On the other side of the dugouts towards the Manorway End, is another small covered seating area, with a capacity of 250. The Manorway End itself is an open area consisting of a small portion of flat standing. Opposite this, the Church End has a couple of odd-looking structures that sit on each side of the goal. Both brick built and roofed they do provide some cover for standing spectators. The ground is completed with a set of six modern looking floodlight pylons, three of which run down each side of the pitch.

During the 2016-2017 season, the Rookery Hill ground was renamed the FutureFuel Stadium in a corporate sponsorship deal.

The Club have ambitious plans to sell their Rookery Hill ground for housing and build a new stadium a couple of miles away at Billet Field in Stanford-le-Hope. However the scheme is subject to planning permission being granted, a decision on which is still being awaited upon from the Local Authority.

A visit to East Thurrock is usually a hassle free and enjoyable one. Fans are rarely segregated at games, so you can still enjoy the traditional 'swapping of ends' by supporters at half time. Plus with some small roof covers available providing some shelter, then fans are able to make themselves heard. Although the ground is quite basic, the facilities are adequate and normally a friendly welcome awaits at Rookery Hill.

There is a fair sized Club house called Rocks Bar at the ground itself. It has cask available and welcomes visiting supporters. The entrance to this bar is in the Club car park and the Club allow access to it again at half time from inside the stadium. Otherwise, a few minutes walk away (turn left out of the ground main entrance and the pub is up on right behind the Church) is the Bull, which offers real ale as well as food. If arriving at Stanford-le-Hope Railway Station, then nearby on Station Road is the Rising Sun pub, which is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

Leave the M25 at Junction 30 and take the A13 towards Southend. After around 11 miles leave the A13 and take the A1014 exit signposted Stanford-le-Hope. At the roundabout at the top of the slip road, take the third exit onto the A1014 towards Coryton and Stanford-le-Hope. Go straight across at the next roundabout (ignoring the Corringham Town Centre exit) continuing on towards Coryton. Pass through a set of traffic lights then take the next left hand turn towards Corringham and Fobbing. This puts you on Rookery Hill Road. The ground is further up this road on the left, just before the church on the right. There is a fair sized car park at the ground, however it does fill up quickly on matchdays. There is though plenty of local on street parking available.

Stanford-le-Hope Railway Station is the closest to Rookery Hill, being around two miles away. It is served by trains from London Fenchurch Street and Southend Central. On Saturday afternoons there is a half hourly service and the journey time from London Fenchurch Street to Stanford-le-hope is 49 minutes.

It is probably too far to walk to the ground from the station, so either take a taxi (local taxi firm Whitehall Taxis 01375 671212) or there is service number 100 Bus operated by First Group which runs from the station to the centre of Corringham (at the top of Church Road, ask the driver to be dropped off at Corringham Social Club) which is about a five minute walk away from Rookery Hill. The 100 Bus which has a destination of Chelmsford and runs every 15 minutes on Saturday afternoons, takes about ten minutes to reach near to the ground from the station.

Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:

East Thurrock United FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website).

Adults £13
OAP's/Students £6
Under 16's £3
Family Ticket: 2 Adults + 2 Under 16's £25

Official Matchday Programme £2

Concord Rangers, Canvey Island and Grays Athletic.

Record Attendance

1,661 v Dulwich Hamlet
Isthmian League Premier Division Play-off Final
2nd May 2016

Average Attendance
2017-2018: 295 (National League South)
2016-2017: 305 (National League South)
2015-2016: 204 (Isthmian League)

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, then please e-mail me at: duncan@footballgrounds.net and I'll update the guide.

East Thurrock United v Billericay Town
National League South
Saturday 2nd March 2019, 3pm
Myles Munsey (Ground hopper)

Reasons for visit
A ground I have wanted to visit for some while, because if like me if, like me, you relish true footballing outposts, then the Rookery Hill is hard to beat. And as with my Dulwich trip both clubs needed points for promotion or relegation reasons. Two clubs some nine miles apart in an Essex derby meant a spirited encounter could be anticipated.
 
Getting there
To London first, then over to Fenchurch Street for the 11.54 to Stanford-le-Hope. Once there, and as I had bags of time, I walked. Except that I took a wrong turn. This turned out to be a bonus as with time on my hands and map in hand I found a superb detour using local footpaths across fields and on through rustic farmland with glimpses of the Thames Estuary.  The path brought me out almost opposite the church, so a short stroll up the lane and I was there.
 
First impressions
The composition of the ground itself is not that unusual, but my goodness is the setting surreal. It is most probably the strangest ground I have visited at least in terms of location. In a country lane between a church and open farmland, the presence of cars parked on the verge suggested a religious service rather than a football match.
That idea was soon dispelled once I had paid my entrance money and squeezed through the narrow turnstiles. A job lot of green paint was the explanation for the club’s colour scheme. Inside the facilities are basic, but perfectly acceptable for this level and there was plenty of space to move around. The mixture of different shapes and sizes of stands, the lawnmowers, the spindly floodlight pylons and the two concrete structures behind the church end goal (known as the bus shelters) had me warming to this ground. Outside the perimeter were a couple of training pitches – all this adding to the rural aspect.
 
The 'Bus Shelters'
The Bus Shelters and Church
 
Before the game
That walk across the fields on a bright sunny day had left me somewhat warm so I was grateful that the premises were open for business at 1.45. I partook of a coffee at the refreshment hut (The T Bar), whilst noting the prices:
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, Bovril £1.20
Cans of soft drinks £1
¼ pound burger £2.70
Cheeseburger £3
Hot dog £2.70
Bacon Roll £2.70
 
I had already eaten at Fenchurch Street so I only had a coffee. I spoke to several of the stewards and officials about this club and as ever they were a fount of knowledge about football and the wider area. I intended sitting in the Main Stand but found that the supporting pillars were a nuisance so swapped to the dugout side. This was mainly occupied by Billericay fans but they were easy-going and interesting to chat to. The only downside is that over on the far side one has to struggle somewhat to hear the loudspeaker announcements.
.
The game
This was a very good game full of incident. Billericay scored inside 5 minutes, Adam Coombes following up his own saved penalty kick. Having nearly made it 2-0 with a shot tipped onto the post, Billericay then conceded when Thurrock equalised on 11 minutes. Ricky Hayles pounced on a poor clearance to volley home left-footed straight past Alan Julian. And 10 minutes before half time Hayles completed the turnaround when he bundled in following a corner. At times the match boiled over with the referee besieged several times which was a shame because the football was good. The three points for the home side might be too little too late but at least they have a springboard for some optimism. 
 
Getting away
Out of the ground in no time, I chose the conventional route back to the station in failing light along the Manorway. This took half an hour so I easily made the 17.48 back to Fenchurch Street.  Indoors at Newbury for 9 pm so quite a trek!
 
Overall thoughts
A long day out but well worth it for an excellent game. And walking through fields to a football match has to be a first.  You can discuss the merits of football at this level and in such a remote location, but I am certainly converted. Another example of a small club with a loyal fan base not having the best of it perhaps, but deserving of their place in this level of the pyramid. A football club effectively in a village and you don’t get many of those.
 
Attendance 484
 
Postscript
The club badge with a man wielding a scythe has nothing to do with the grim reaper but owes its origins to the peasant’s revolt in 1381. Which began so they told me up the road in the village of Fobbing.

East Thurrock United v Welling United
National League South
Tuesday 16th August 2016, 7.45pm
Brian Scott (Neutral doing the 202)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Rookery Hill Ground?

As East Thurrock have recently been promoted I wanted to go to the ground to add to my total of National League grounds visited.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

My journey by car from the Chelmsford direction was quite straightforward, but I was thankful to have a Satnav for the final part and also for the return home when the A130 was closed for overnight roadworks.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

I arrived at the ground at 7pm and got parked up in the road only a few yards from the gate of the football club. Had I wanted I could have gone into the clubhouse for a drink and food but I had eaten before I left home. The club car park looked full at that time, probably players and staff mainly. Plenty of room on the local roads for cars. On arrival into the ground I had a look around and walked all the way round to get a flavour of the best view, seat etc.

What you thought on seeing the stadium, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Rookery Hill Ground?

I had been prepared by seeing the pictures on this website and the description so I knew what to expect. Given that they have only just been promoted to this level and the expected crowds I suppose the facilities are adequate. The toilet near the Main Stand was acceptable. There is no specific away area as everyone mingles together in a friendly way.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Welling got off to a cracking start with a goal in the first minute. They also had another chance a few minutes later, but the home keeper made a fine save. It looked as though Welling were going to win until East Thurrock were awarded a penalty a few minutes from the end. I was in the loo so I did not see what it was given for! But I did see the goal. I could in fact see that end of the pitch whilst standing in the loo! There was a reasonable atmosphere if you can call it that. The Welling fans made the most noise especially in the first half when they were in one of the odd stands at the north east end of the ground. At half time, as is usual at this level, they swapped ends but still made more noise than the home fans. There was also some well mannered shouts from the away fans mingled in the seats of the main stand. What few stewards they had were helpful and there was no problem whatsoever.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

As my car was parked so close I was away on the road within seconds of the final whistle.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was worth going just to see the quirky features of this small ground. I had a friendly local sitting next to me and I asked him about the chance of a move to a new ground but he was very skeptical about it ever happening.

Why not write your own review of Rookery Hill East Thurrock United and have it included in the Guide? Find out more about submitting a Fans Football Ground Review.

Updated 8th March 2019

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