Appearance – 2/5
Facilities – 3/5
Parking – 5/5
Refreshments – 4/5
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.
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.