Ayr United
Somerset Park

Ground No. 121
Visited - Saturday 7th April 2007
Result - Ayr United 1-1 Brechin City
Competition - Scottish Football League Division Two
Attendance - 1361

One ground north of the border that I’d wanted to go to for a while was Somerset Park, home to Ayr United. Having seen little development in recent years, it looked a classic old place, although as with many similar places elsewhere, its future was in doubt with plans to move to a new ground afoot.

With a long journey ahead, I had to leave early, catching the 5:30am train from Wolverhampton, heading up to Motherwell before changing there for a local train into Glasgow (the main part of Glasgow Central being closed for the weekend). From there the journey was a little chaotic, having to catch a bus to Paisley and then a train from there to Ayr, but it all went to plan, arriving into the seaside town just after midday.

As usual, I spent the time before the game in town, which seemed quite a nice place (helped by the beautiful weather and views out to Arran from the coast), so after that went straight up to the ground.

From the outside, it really is as good as you expect it to be. The Main Stand and rear of the Somerset Rd End are classic brick built exteriors, with the four traditional floodlight pylons towering over them. You can’t see around the other two sides, but you instantly get an impression of times gone by from these two sides alone. After entering, the ‘old school’ feel is continued, with the Somerset Road End being a classic terrace with a low pitched roof concealing the supporters underneath. Adjacent to it is the North Terrace, which runs the length of the pitch and is open to the elements, with a fence in the middle segregating supporters. The far end is the Railway End, which mirrors the Somerset Rd End, however unfortunately it was left unused for the game (along with that half of the North Terrace), whilst completing the picture is the Main Stand, which is split into two sections, firstly in the centre the oldest part which is a small single tier of seating raised from pitch level, whilst tagged onto the side is a late 1980’s addition which has been built in a similar style.

Having taken a few pictures, I decided to watch the game from the home end of the ground, grateful for the shade of the low roof given the strong sun, of which there was no shelter from on the North Terrace. After kicking off, in the first half, it was Brechin who dominated the game, and they took a deserved lead on 15 minutes when Iain Russell put the visitors ahead following a mistake from an Ayr defender who should really have cleared the ball, but let Russell in to make it 1-0. After that, the visitors should have increased their lead given the possession, but on the stroke of half time, the home side pulled a goal back through Paul Shields who headed the ball home in front of the empty end to make the scores level at the break.

The second half started much the same as the first had finished, but Ayr gradually started to dominate and come the end of the 90 minutes it looked like only one side would win, with Brechin restricted to the occasional breakaway, but for all their effort the home side couldn’t put a second past Brechin ‘keeper Craig Nelson, and so the points were shared, which given the visitors domination in the first half was probably fair overall.

After leaving the ground, I made my way back into town, before getting the train back to Glasgow (via a bus from Paisley again), and onwards to the hotel for the night, ready for the next days match at St Mirren.

Overall, it had been a pretty good day out, the ground is one of a dying breed, a true classic that has seen little changes over the years. The only real downside was that with the far end being closed, it made for a somewhat disappointing view out towards that, and with only about two dozen Brechin fans having travelled, the atmosphere was non-existant. If the segregation fence in the North Terrace wasn’t there (or they’d opened the gate in it), and fans could congregate around all four sides of the ground then that would have given a far better feel to the place, but as it was, it was still a good ground to visit anyway, and one for everyone to try and get along to before the clubs hopes of a new ground ever come to fruition.

Welcome to Somerset Park

Rear of the Main Stand

Main Entrance

The Club Shop

Rear of the Somerset Road End

The North Terrace Turnstiles

The Main Stand

The Railway End

The North Terrace

The Somerset Road End

The old Club Shop

Looking across the Somerset Road End

The North Terrace

The Railway End

The Main Stand

The Somerset Road End

Somerset Park Panoramic

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