Category Archives: Ground Review

Ground Review – Runcorn Town, Pavilions

Accessibility – 4/5Runcorn Town 1

Appearance – 3/5

Facilities – 2/5

Parking – 4/5

Refreshments – 2/5

Total: 15/25

Located in the middle of an industrial park in Runcorn, you will find the Pavilions Sports Club. It has a large clubhouse, bowls greens, football pitches and the home of Runcorn Town FC.

Pavilions is fairly easy to find, after exiting the A557 dual carriageway you only have to travel another 400 yards or so, make one left turn and the ground is signposted clearly.

The sports club itself has a large car park which is enough to accommodate the cars for a normal game, though they may struggle with the big crowds. When other events are on at Pavilions there is a tendency for it to become overcrowded too, but there are a lot worse car parks in the NWCFL.

You enter the ground itself through a small wooden hut in which two turnstiles are located. After paying a regular adult price of £5 you emerge behind the goal but about five feet below the pitch.

Following a climb up the steps to pitch level you will notice that the main points of interest of this ground are down both touchlines. There is little space behind both goals, with only a small walkway at both ends of the ground.

Looking to the left from the turnstile there are two stands – a small covered standing area and then a decent-sized seating stand that, at a guess, holds between 150 and 200.

Runcorn Town 4

Down the right touchline are another two covered standing areas, one right behind the dugouts with a single step for people to stand on, and a smaller one a bit further down that is similar to the one on the opposite touchline.

Also down the right touchline is the big blue clubhouse, but with the changing rooms also in this building, the clubhouse itself is not as big as you would think (with only four or five tables) and on the bigger games I imagine this is a nightmare to get through.

Runcorn Town 2

The tea hut is also inside here but this only seems to have burgers, chocolate bars, fizzy drinks or tea. The lack of pies and chips I’m sure will be extremely disappointing to a lot of fans!

Pavilions is only a small place, there is not much space around the ground and they would really struggle with a large crowd, but for the level they are at now it does the job.

They have done well to rise up the leagues quickly, just a few years ago they were in the West Cheshire League so they have had to make fast changes to the ground, and it is noticeable. An interesting ground, but the facilities do lack something, if they continue their rapid rise up the football ladder then the ground will need a lot of work.

Ground Review – Stone Dominoes, Wellbeing Park

Accessibility – 4/5Stone Dominoes 2

Appearance – 4/5

Facilities – 4/5

Parking – 5/5

Refreshments – 4/5

Total: 21/25

Stone Dominoes are the most southerly club in the North West Counties Premier Division, but the distance you may have to travel is worth it to visit a very pleasant little ground.

Wellbeing Park is not based in the town of Stone itself, but in the nearby village of Yarnfield. It’s a very nice area and an enjoyable drive down through the country roads and villages after exiting the M6 at junction 15.

The ground is simple enough to find, located on a main road and easy to spot with it being in the country and not hidden in a housing estate like other grounds.

Parking is good too, they have a large gravel-covered car park on location, which is probably one of the largest in the league.

After entering through the gate to the facility you are first greeted by the well-known Domino statues, four of which stand on the grass at about four feet tall.

There are also a couple of pitches, used for junior games and Stone Dominoes training, and a café to be seen before you enter Dominoes’ home itself.

The café is small with only around five or six tables, but it is of good standard. It’s a modern-looking place with a good selection of food and drinks available, and Sky Sports on the TV.

After travelling down a passageway next to the café you reach the turnstile to the ground where you pay an adult price of £5 to enter.

You emerge by a corner flag, to the right is the only stand in the ground – it runs down the entire touchline and is mostly standing, apart from a small seated area in the middle with approximately 50 seats.

Behind both goals are rows of shrubbery on a raised platform but no steps and only a small area to stand.

On the far touchline, where the dugouts are based, is a raised grassy knoll that runs from one corner flag to the other and stands at around six feet high.

Stone Dominoes 1

Stone have the lowest average attendance in the North West Counties Premier Division, but Wellbeing Park deserves more visitors. It’s a small ground but well kept and it a nice location. With Dominoes all but relegated now, it’s a ground that will be missed from the league next season.

Ground Review – Ashton Town/St. Helens Town, Edge Green Street

Accessibility – 3/5Edge Green Street 1

Appearance – 2/5

Facilities – 2/5

Parking – 2/5

Refreshments – 3/5

Total:  12/25

Edge Green Street is currently used by two North West Counties sides, it is owned by Division One’s Ashton Town, but has been shared with Premier Division outfit St. Helens Town since 2010.

As long as you know where you’re going, the ground is fairly easy to get to. It is located just off junction 23 of the M6 in Ashton-in-Makerfield near Wigan.

The town itself is easy to navigate but the ground is located down a small backstreet, it is not signposted and you have to look out for the ‘Edge Green Street’ road sign. With a SatNav it will be simple, but without one you may struggle.

Parking is not the greatest, there is a small area in the ground itself behind the goal for around ten to fifteen cars, but they risk being pummelled with wayward shots. The side street to get to the ground can accommodate around twenty cars, it is bumpy and full of potholes but an easy getaway is ensured if you find a spot here.

After paying an adult price of £5 to enter you emerge behind the goal. Down the touchline to the left are the only two stands, a small all-seated stand that must hold around 100, and another covered area with both seats (approx. 30) and steps for standing.

Edge Green Street 3

Both stands look like their best days are behind them, the seats have faded in the sunlight and the corrugated iron and scaffolding the stands are made from are starting to rust.

Behind the far goal is just a fence and a high net to stop balls from flying out of the ground. Down the touchline to the right are the two dugouts, and a small changing room area.

Edge Green Street 2

The perimeter fence around the ground leaves a lot to be desired, it is covered in either dirty tarp or weedy hedges depending on where you look.

In the corner next to the changing rooms is a small clubhouse with a bar, pool table and TV with Sky Sports, although having no windows makes it very dark inside. The bar wasn’t open when I visited but the tea hut at the far end was, and provided the usual football food.

Edge Green Street is not the best ground in the NWCFL Premier Division, but that is to be expected with it being owned by a club from the league below. It does have a good pitch though, and with a bit of housekeeping to the stands and the perimeter fence it would greatly improve.

Ground Review – Congleton Town, Booth Street

Accessibility – 2/5Congleton 3

Appearance – 5/5

Facilities – 4/5

Parking – 1/5

Refreshments – 3/5

Total: 15/25

Hidden away in a housing estate in Congleton you will find Booth Street, they have done their best to surround the ground with houses but you can just catch a glimpse of it if you look hard enough.

The cricket ground of Congleton CC is easier to see, and if you find that then you’ve found Booth Street, which is just a few yards down the road.

There is no use looking for a car park however, as they do not have one, the best you can do is park up on the roadside of the housing estate. Congleton have escaped getting a 0/5 for parking as there is actually a lot of space to park, but it is certainly not ideal.

Despite what may not be the best start to a visit to Booth Street, when you get in the ground, all will be forgotten.

This is one of the better looking grounds in the North West Counties League, with all four sides providing something different.

After paying an adult price of £5, you emerge from the turnstile by a corner flag; behind the goal on the left is a covered standing area, with netting above to stop any balls flying out of the ground. Down the touchline to the right are two stands (shown below), one is a good sized all-seater that must hold around 200-250, and the other is another small covered standing area.

Congleton 1

On the opposite touchline is a third, fairly modern looking covered stand. This has around four or five steps and sits on the halfway line, in between the two dugouts.

Behind the far goal is a sizeable grass bank, something that always adds a bit of character to a ground. It is fairly steep though, and fans face a struggle to climb to the top where it flattens out, but the struggle is worth it as it provides a great view.

Congleton 4

Congleton, nicknamed the Bears, also have their ‘Bears Den’ club. This is a modern-looking club, not the biggest in the league but still boasts a bar, television and hot food being served, although I believe this was only for the match sponsors.

For the rest of the fans there is a tea hut outside with the usual items on sale – pies, chips, tea, coffee etc. good quality food but with a wait of around 30 minutes for a pie to cook in the oven, they lose a couple of marks here.

From a visual point of view, Booth Street is one of the nicest and most interesting looking grounds in this league. The only thing that lets it down is the parking and the difficulty that some may have to find it, but it would definitely be one that you would look forward to visiting again.

Ground Review – Winsford United, Barton Stadium

Accessibility – 4/5The Barton 2

Appearance – 2/5

Facilities – 3/5

Parking – 5/5

Refreshments – 4/5

Total: 18/25

Winsford United’s Barton Stadium sits atop a steep hill, its large floodlights rising high above the town to be seen from miles away. But that sounds a lot more glamorous than what it really is – a very old ground that is beginning to show its age.

The Barton Stadium is fairly easy to find, those big floodlights do stick out on the Winsford skyline, and it isn’t one of those grounds that’s hidden away on an estate. It has a good location, being fairly central to the town of Winsford and just down the road from a large Morrison’s supermarket.

It boasts one of the best car parks in the league, it’s a good size and well kept. It is not shared with anyone else either so you are pretty much guaranteed a space, and a quick getaway, on every match day.

The Top House pub is situated just next to the ground where many fans will go for a pre-game tipple. Before paying an adult entry price of £6, a fee that many believe is £1 too high for this league.

When stepping through the turnstile the first thing that hits you is the large size of the area the ground covers. The Barton Stadium used to have a greyhound track running around the outside of the pitch, that has been covered in grass now but the space is still there and it goes so far behind each goal that standing there is pointless.

Down one side is the Kingsway stand, a covered standing area that runs along most of the touchline, but with an extremely low roof you have to be careful not to get too enthusiastic when celebrating or you could wind up with a bruised head and hands.

On the opposite side of the pitch is the main stand and club house. The stand itself holds around 150-200 covered seats (depending on how many are actually sheltered from the holes in the roof), with the changing rooms and a tea hut located on either side of it.

Behind the stand is the ‘Blues Club’, a good-sized club with Sky Sports on the big screen and a good selection of drinks at the bar. The decor leaves a lot to be desired though, as it looks as it has come straight out of the 1970s.

Through the Blues Club you can also opt not to go back out in to the cold to watch the football, but stay indoors and watch through the window. The view you get is shown below from a recent game against Runcorn Town when an ambulance was needed for a serious injury.

The Barton 1

It’s a ground that you can tell is aging, but it certainly has character and is something different from most of the things you will see in this league. It is able to hold a large crowd and has good facilities, but just not in the best condition. A recent ground grading review did award the ground an Evo-Stik standard E Grade though, and with the arrangement of new club 1874 Northwich playing there from next season providing extra funds, we may see the Barton Stadium improve in the coming years.

Ground Review – Runcorn Linnets, Millbank Linnets Stadium

Accessibility – 5/5Linnets 2

Appearance – 2/5

Facilities – 4/5

Parking – 4/5

Refreshments – 4/5

Total: 19/25

With a ground that was opened as recently as 2010, you would expect it to be of good quality. Although, as with many of the newer grounds, the Millbank Linnets Stadium does lack that traditional, historic feel that many of the grounds around non-league have.

It is not near the centre of Runcorn itself, but located on the outskirts in area known worryingly as ‘Murdishaw.’ The ground is easy to find though, located less than 100m off an A533 roundabout and well signposted.

As you pull in you may worry at the size of a car park that looks to have a capacity of about 30 at most. But there is an opening that leads you through to the field behind the ground, it may be muddy but they could cater for as many cars as possible here.

You can stop off in the Halton Arms pub next to the ground for a quick pint, or enter straight away for a North West Counties regular price of £5 for an adult.

The ground gives you the feeling that they found a pitch on a field and decided to build a fence around it. Technically that is what has happened, but Linnets have to be commended for building themselves a new home after spending their first four seasons playing at Witton Albion’s Wincham Park.

There are two stands with a distinctly ‘flat pack’ look about them, an all-seated stand located on the half-way line, and a small terrace behind the goal closest to the clubhouse.

Linnets 1

A footpath and a metal bar at optimum leaning height surround the pitch, with a few advertising boards dotted around too. A corrugated fence runs around the whole area, but at a height of about six or seven foot, it is a regular occurance to see balls fly over in to the field that surrounds the stadium.

The clubhouse is usually packed before the game and at half-time, with Linnets boasting the best average attendance in the league. With drinks on offer inside and a good selection of food too, it’s a place that will keep fans happy.

Overall, the Millbank Linnets Stadium is bereft of character but that is something you cannot build in a day, that will come as Linnets continue to play there over the years. The club have plans to build a new roof over the fence, creating what would be like a new small stand which will help. It is a clean, smart looking little ground, nothing spectacular but seeing as the club are less than a decade old, they have done brilliantly to even have their own home.