Nuneaton Borough
Manor Park

Ground No. 125
Visited - Saturday 28th April 2007
Result - Nuneaton Borough 1-1 Vauxhall Motors
Competition - Nationwide Conference North
Attendance - 2077

I’d known that Nuneaton Borough had been planning to move from Manor Park for quite a while, but the last game had sneaked up on me a little bit, so after having managed to get time off work, and missing a Wolves home game, I made plans to go to the last match due to be played there, against Merseyside based Vauxhall Motors.

Being just the other side of Birmingham, it wasn’t a long journey to the town, arriving on time with no problems on the trains, and after spending a few hours in the centre, I made the walk down to the ground early, aiming to be in for 1 o’clock to see some of the events planned for the day. Having taken some pictures outside, after going in, there was already quite a few people milling around, with a women’s match going on between Nuneaton and Coventry as part of the build up, as well as a Scottish marching band playing bagpipes.

Going around the ground, it instantly strikes you as a place full of character. At the opposite end to the turnstiles is the Beaumont Road End, 15 rows of uncovered terracing that sweeps around the far end, not quite in an arc but with a definite curve to it, making it a bit different to the usual straight stands at most grounds. Running around the far corner, the terracing continues along the Canal Side Stand for about half the length of the pitch, before some more modern terracing continues up to the near corner. This newer section is covered by a high roof and looks relatively modern, perhaps having replaced a previous structure that had stood there at one time? Adjacent to the new bit is the home end, the Cock and Bull Terrace (named after a pub). Split into two tiers, it has a small lower tier before a wall and a slope up to the upper tier which is covered by a low cavernous roof, which helped provide good acoustics for the fans who chose to stand there later on in the afternoon. Finally, on the near side of the ground is the Main Stand sitting in the centre and containing the only seating at the ground. Also on this side is where the clubhouse is located, with the club shop in the corner between the Main Stand and C&B End, whilst in the opposite corner sits a large clock which looks to date back some years.

Having taken enough pictures and watched the warm-up games, 3pm eventually came round and everyone was ready to start the final fixture. That is everyone except Vauxhall Motors, who hadn’t turned up! Traffic had delayed them getting down from Merseyside, but determined not to postpone the day, everyone held on until they arrived, with the coach being sarcastically cheered up the driveway towards the Main Stand when it arrived, and after a brief warm-up, the game got underway 45 minutes late, although not before a minutes clapping to recently departed World Cup winner Alan Ball, although it was interesting to see most fans quickly tiring of the ridiculous, recent fad of clapping, and the 60 seconds ending with most, including myself, standing respectfully in silence (far more appropriate in my view).

As for the game, well, it’s fair to say that it wasn’t a classic. It was a typical end of season affair, with neither side having anything to play for.  Ironically, it hadn’t started out like this though with Nuneaton taking the lead after just 4 minutes when Connor Franklin was bought down in the box, with the resulting penalty being tucked away by Gez Murphy. They could have been 2-0 up but for a disallowed goal (due to offside), but after that it was mostly the visitors who held the initiative, and it came as no surprise when they equalised through Tom Field. The second half was mostly dull and uninspiring, with no further goals from either side, although Tom Field may have his claim to the last goal disputed as two streakers ran on halfway through and, unchallenged, dribbled the ball the length of the pitch, past a stationary home defence before one headed home on the line. It wasn’t a great goal, but it was in the mood of the afternoon, and the grounds time was eventually called when the referee blew his whistle just after half past five.

There were a few presentations on the pitch, and the club had intended to release balloons in the air, which started off well enough as they dragged on a giant net full of them that had been stored in the Canal Side Stand throughout the day, but after getting the net to the centre circle, it became a little bit more embarrassing when it became obvious that they couldn’t open the net which had been securely fastened (a little too securely!). It went on for about five minutes before much to the amusement of fans, one solitary balloon escaped and made its way up into the air, free from several hundred of its neighbours, who eventually escaped a few minutes later. With that over, it was the signal for a pitch invasion and for home fans to take one last look at their home for 88 years.

R.I.P. Manor Park 1919-2007

Welcome to Manor Park

Today's Game

Rear of the Main Stand

Outside the Cock and Bull End

Rear of the Cock and Bull End

The Clock

The Canal Side

The Beaumont Road End

The Main Stand

The Cock and Bear End

Upper Tier of the Cock and Bear End

The Main Stand

You just know they're going to be grim!

The Canal Side

Canal Side Terracing

Bagpipe Players

The Players Come Out (eventually!)

The Cock and Bear End

The Cock and Bear End

The Main Stand

The Canal Side

The Beaumont Road End

The Balloons Escape!

Fans on the Pitch

The Main Stand

Time to go!

Manor Park Panoramic 1

Manor Park Panoramic 2

Manor Park Panoramic 3

Manor Park Panoramic 4

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