Cradley Town
Beeches View Avenue

Ground No. 117
Visited - Saturday 27th January 2007
Result - Cradley Town 0-1 Studley
Competition - Midland Football Alliance
Attendance - 41

Originally I had been planning to visit fellow MFA side Quorn, but having woken up a bit late, my options were limited! Cradley were the nearest team at home that I hadn’t visited, so with time pressing, a visit to Beeches View Avenue was hastily arranged.

The journey down there wasn’t too bad, leaving home at 1pm, there were two bus changes, in Wolverhampton and Dudley, before arriving at the ground at about 2:40pm.

Situated on the edge of a housing estate, it isn’t the most striking of venues, with the car park and entrances at the end of a driveway which is tucked between two neighbouring houses. Going into the ground, it’s immediately evident as to how confined it is, with the turnstiles, clubhouse and toilets in the immediate vicinity, and the pitch just yards beyond that. Hard standing surrounds the pitch at this end, with a rather precarious shelter in the middle of it that looks like it could fall down at any moment! On the near side is more hard standing, and a slightly unusual stand in the middle of that, featuring just one row of covered seating, with half of the stand given over for a dugout. The most unusual part though was the roof, which slopes down behind the stand, covering the hard standing which runs behind it for people to walk to the other end of the ground. That may not sound particularly odd, but when there, with the banking (or more aptly, small cliff) on this side of the ground to the right of it, it does bare a vague resemblance to walking down the tunnels to a mine! At the far end is the most impressive structure at the ground, although once again is somewhat unusual. It looks like someone had started to build a large stand, but for one reason or another had built the sides and roof, but had given up when it came to fitting out the terracing part. With flat standing/large wide steps at the near side, only the middle and far side of the stand has conventional steps with seats placed on them, although as with the rest of the ground, the whole structure was looking very tired with some seats that had all but fallen apart (possibly more ex-Molineux seats?). Coming around to the far side, it did look like it had been accessible at one point, but with the hard standing quite low beneath the pitch and overgrown in places, I only briefly ventured down from the car park end, before giving up!

Having taken a few pictures, I eventually found a place to stand and the game got underway. Neither side were doing particularly well in the league, but they both looked up for it, and it was only a mistake from Cradley ‘keeper Myles Weldon that separated the two sides in the first half. Craig Poutney was quick to pounce on a poor goal-kick, and quickly closed in on goal before poking the ball back past Weldon. Cradley did have a good chance to equalise later on, but a Studley defender made a great goal line clearance to keep the visitors in the lead at the break.

In the second half, both teams seemed less adventurous, although there was a moment of controversy later on when Studley winger Robbie Ager was sent off for a rash challenge, which was probably more deserving of a yellow. Other than that though, neither side really created any particular chances, so it finished 1-0 to Studley, which was slightly harsh on Cradley who had done enough for at least a point.

With the game over, I eventually left, making my way home with no problems, getting back for about 7pm.

Overall, whilst the ground was certainly interesting, it was probably the most dilapidated I’ve been to. With low crowds and not much success in the league, money must be hard to come by, so whilst understandable, it was a shame to see the ground in such a condition. The facilities weren’t much better either, with only the clubhouse really coming out with any real credit, but despite that it wasn’t a bad place to visit. The views of the Clent Hills on the far side made it a surprisingly nice setting, so one worth going to at least once.

Welcome to Cradley Town

Outside the Ground

Rear of the Car Park End

The Turnstiles

Entrance to the Dressing Rooms

The Car Park End

The Far Side

The Car Park End

The Main Stand

'Tunnel' behind the Main Stand

The Far End

The Far Side

The Near Side

The Clent Hills in the distance

Beeches View Avenue Panoramic
(click here for full size picture)

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