Growing up in the West Midlands, with no senior teams in the area, then there really isn’t much of an opportunity to get into rugby, and like the majority I easily fell into following one of the many local football teams. So when the opportunity to visit a stadium of a different sport came up, I decided it was a chance not to be missed.
On the day I was going to Northampton Town’s game with Shrewsbury at Sixfields, so it was only a flying visit, but an interesting one nonetheless. Not really having much interest in the sport or never having seen pictures of the ground, I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived, so was pleased and a little bit surprised to see a stadium that wouldn’t look out of place in the Championship or League 1, being better than many in those leagues.
I had only intended to look at the outside, all of which was quite good, from the more traditional Club Shop/Ticket Office building, to the modern and impressive Tetley Stand, but whilst walking around the rear of the South Stand I noticed one of the gates was open, so couldn’t help but having a look in, where there was a steward inside, who was friendly enough to show me around and let me take some pictures.
The two sides and one end of the ground are totally enclosed creating a wrap around effect, with the Church’s and South Stand, both of which are a fair size and all-seated. Opposite the Church’s Stand is the Tetleys Stand, which is larger than the other two with an area of terracing at its front, and a tier of seating behind it. At the opposite end is the Sturtridge Pavilion, which is an interesting structure, featuring several levels of executive boxes and leaves the ground feeling quite open, but also creates a nice bit of character.
One of the days I’ll have to try and get along to see a game here, like with coming to take pictures, I really wouldn’t know what to expect, but it’s certainly a ground that looks like worth visiting for a match.
The Club Shop and Franklins Bar
Rear of the Church's Stand
Rear of the Sturtridge Pavilion
The Ticket Office
Rear of the Tetleys Stand
Rear of the South Stand
The Sturtridge Pavilion
The War Memorial
The Tetley's Stand
The South Stand
The Church's Stand
Franklin's Gardens Panoramic
(click for full size picture)