Few teams in English football can claim a heavenly name quite like Tonbridge Angels. Mind you, is that the right sort of optic? After all, it’s a competitive sport; possessing the virtues of a celestial body doesn’t really strike an intimidating tone. And yet they haven’t been in terrible stead over the years, even if success on the scale we’ve seen hasn’t so far materialised. Indeed, we’re still waiting for the moment that heavenly fortune shines on us and gives us a first meeting with the Angels…
The start of the adventure here is 1947; the club known only as Tonbridge – not adding Angels suffix to the equation until 1994! Right off the bat, the Angels (yep, the nickname was there back in the early days) went into the Southern League and were members for the best part of four decades. It wasn’t necessarily a good time throughout. In 1969 and 1970, they finished bottom of the competition. Still, they retained their place – leaving in 1989 for the Kent League, having ended up second bottom.
The Angels returned to the Southern League in 1993; making a strong start to the Southern Division season. Alas, they fell away a lot to end up in mid-table. The summer of 1994 is when ‘Angels’ was officially added to the club’s name. We’ve failed to find an actual reason why it became official. Anyway, they plugged away in the Southern League until 2004. At this point, there was a big reorganisation of the non-league pyramid and the Angels found themselves in the Isthmian League.
In 2011, the Angels reached new heights with promotion to Conference South. After a promising first effort, things gradually got worse and they were relegated at the end of their third campaign at that level. It placed them back in the Isthmian League, which the Angels were pretty competitive in. A 2018-9 playoff victory did the job and took them back into what had been rebranded as National League South. And in the immediate years that followed, the club appeared to have found their level.
How to get to Tonbridge Angels – Travel Information – Distance: 74 miles
From Stevenage, you’ll be wanting to head south on the A1(M) and join the clockwise M25 all the way around to the Dartford Crossing. Go across the Thames and pay the toll before continuing south. After just over four miles, the M25 will go around the right; you will not. Take the Sevenoaks A21 exit.
Stay on the A21 for nearly five miles, before taking the A225/B245 exit for Sevenoaks and then the second exit at the roundabout for the B245 London Road. Continue on the B245 for nearly four miles, and then turn left into Dry Hill Park Road.
At the roundabout by St Saviour’s Church, take the first exit onto the A227 Shipbourne Road, before taking the first exit at the next roundabout for Darenth Avenue. Head along here for nearly half a mile and on your right soon after will be the ground.
With the ground located in parkland, immediate parking opportunities don’t appear to be available. But it’s a mere few minutes walk to residential areas, where on-street parking looks to be in abundance.
Services to: LONDON BRIDGE
The station in Tonbridge is some distance away; the other end of the town in fact. The walk to the ground isn’t necessarily a complex one, but it might take you some time.
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