Alsager Town
The Town Ground

Ground No. 182
Visited - Saturday 2nd May 2009
Result - Alsager Town 0-4 Newcastle Town
Competition - North-West Counties Football League, Premier Division
Attendance - 52

Founded in 1965, Alsager hit the headlines a few years ago when a group of their supporters ‘the Far Side Ultras’ were featured on the Real Football Factories with Danny Dire. Famous throughout non-league circles for their flags, chanting and occasional flare displays they’d made quite a name for themselves, but just as soon as the club looked like they were on the up, then they were hit by relegation from the NPL due to failing ground grading. With that, their crowds dropped and the financial backers pulled out, with it even looking like the club may fold altogether, but for hard work by long term fans who kept them afloat and going for the 2008/09 season, albeit back in the North-West Counties Premier.

I’d been looking at going to the ground for a few years, partly because of it being local, and partly because of the Ultra’s so with the seasons end fast approaching, I was determined to get it done, choosing a local derby (and final match) versus Newcastle Town to go to.

The journey up there was relatively easy, changing trains in Crewe, it took little over an hour, and I soon found myself treading the leafy streets of the small Cheshire town towards the ground. Nicknamed ‘The Bullets’ due to an armaments factory that was built here during the war, then the image of ultras and ex-hooligans is perhaps a little at odds with the town, having grown as the settlement of choice for factory owners from the nearby Potteries. Despite this, the ground itself is situated on a council estate (albeit a reasonably smart looking one!), and is in fact rather difficult to find, with the main entrance being a small unmarked drive between two houses that would be easy to walk past if you didn’t know where to go! Having researched beforehand though, I was OK, and made my way in, noting the nearby exit gates that read A.A.F.C. (with no apparent indication what the extra A is for (except perhaps Association Football Club)).

Going in, you come out at the top of a slope, with the clubhouse and facilities to your right, overlooking the ground itself. Beyond this is a car park and then the near side where there are two stands, the first of which features a mixture of seating with benches as well as plastic and wooden seats to choose from. This stand sits fairly centrally, whilst to its left is a newer, covered terrace with some more benches towards one end of it. Both ends are hard standing, whilst the far side is mainly hard standing except for the far end of it where sits a covered terrace that once was home to an array of flags and those who made Alsager famous - the ultra’s. Whether it was the clubs relegation (or Stoke’s promotion to the Premier League…), they hadn’t been following the team this season, so that was slightly disappointing to see, if not back to looking more in keeping with your typical Step 5 style support!

Having had a look around, then it soon came 3pm, and the procession of players and officials made their way down the steps in the corner of the ground from the dressing rooms. Prior to the match, the teams were only two places apart in the league, however it was 25 points that separated them, and it soon became obvious as to why. Newcastle dominated the early proceedings, and they took the lead in the 17th minute when Jordan Johnson muscled through a meaty challenge and fired home past the home ‘keeper. It could have been two just a few minutes later when on the break, Johnson crossed the ball across the box only for it to go agonisingly in front of two strikers homing in. They did double their lead on the half hour mark though, this time thanks to their number 2 who worked hard to get to the byline and put a great cross in which no one could get a foot to before it found Chris Budrys at the far post who dived low to head home just a few feet off the ground.

The second half was more even in terms of possession, but Newcastle were still having the lions share of chances, and never really looked like they’d concede, but they had to wait until the 76th minute before grabbing their third. Ryan Dicker floated a free-kick over from the right where it was met by the Alsager number 5 who seemed to handle the ball into the net, the referee allowing the goal to stand. They wrapped things up in injury time, when Alsager’s number 6 bought down a player inside the box. Despite only seconds of the entire season remaining, the ref still sent him off (it wasn’t a particularly bad tackle, just clumsy), and Jordan Johnson grabbed his second of the game from the spot.

After leaving, I made my way home, having a bit of a delay at the station with one train not turning up, but I got home still fairly early, glad to have ticked the ground off the list.

I had been looking forward to this one for a few years, but in reality, whilst it’s a decent set-up, the ground does somewhat lack something. In terms of facilities and stands it’s better than a number of Step 4 grounds I’ve visited (ironic then that they were demoted from Step 4 last year for failing grading), but for some inexplicable reason, it just doesn’t quite feel right. Perhaps it the colour scheme of black/white that doesn’t help, or an ultra-less far side, but I did leave feeling a little bit disappointed, but that aside, then hopefully the club can continue on what had been a good end to the season and put their worries behind them for the future. Although that said, walking back to the station with Stoke fans pouring out the pubs having watched the Potters playing on a dodgy foreign satellite link, then with Alsager’s crowds having halved this season, maybe the future might not be as rosy as it could be if their big local neighbours continue their spell in the top flight.

Hidden Entrance to the Ground

Exit Gates


The Clubhouse

View from the Clubhouse

Players Enter the Pitch

The Far End

The Far Side Terrace

The Near End

The Far Side

The Near Side

Seats in the Near Side Stand

The Town Ground Panoramic


1 comment:

  1. Thanks. Am making my first visit tomorrow for the FA Vase game v Borrowash...
    Coverage will be at