Hall Corner

Ground No. 221
Visited - Monday 3rd January 2011
Result - Glapwell 3-0 Kidsgrove Athletic
Competition - Northern Premier League, Division One South
Attendance - 83

The summer of 2010 was a momentous one for Glapwell, the club upping sticks from their Hall Corner home to cross the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border and move in with Mansfield Town. It followed a dispute with the local parish council who were refusing to give them guarantees to play there, so unwilling to spend the money required to improve the ground without such an agreement in place, then it was announced in May that a one year deal had been signed to play their home games seven miles away at Field Mill. All seemed to be going well in the first part of the season until just before Christmas, when disaster struck after Keith Haslam, the controversial owner of Field Mill, and ex Mansfield chairman kicked the Stags out over a rent disagreement from the ongoing legal battles that had followed his handing over of power. This left Glapwell caught up in the middle and so with the gates locked, they decided to move temporarily back to Hall Corner for the festive period until the trouble could be resolved. As they say though, one mans loss is another’s gain, and so with this it gave me the chance to tick a ground that had been sitting empty for six months with its future unclear.

Formed as Young Vanish FC in 1985, Glapwell are indeed a fairly young club, although vanishing they haven’t, instead, since formation they’ve gone from strength to strength. Switching to Saturday football in 1989, they won the Central Midlands League Division One title in their first season, and were promoted from the Premier Division the following year to the Supreme Division after a fourth place finish. It took them two years, but they pushed on and in 1994 were crowned champions of the Supreme Division, stepping up to the NCEL in 1996 where they were promoted from Division One three years later to crown a decade of success which had included a number of cup wins, notably the Derbyshire Senior Cup in 1998. The following ten years saw them find their level in the NCEL Premier, with mostly mid-table finishes before a runners-up spot in 2007/08 saw another promotion, this time to the Northern Premier League, Divison One South. An initial sixth place finish saw them just miss out on the play-offs, but in their final season at Hall Corner the club achieved their highest position in the pyramid to date, finishing a credible third, agonisingly losing out by just one goal in the play-off final to Chasetown, who they’d finished just one point behind in the league.

Since moving, their form at Field Mill had seen them sitting just outside the play-offs, having racked up a few big wins, including a 7-1 victory over Grantham, and having scored five on three other occasions. One blip though was the game away at Kidsgrove which had seen a 4-0 win for the Potteries side back in late August, so revenge was the motto of the day when the teams met in the first game of 2011 after a winter of severe disruption from bad weather had seen ‘The Well’ go over seven weeks without a home game, having not even had a single league fixture since the 20th November as they suffered in line with the rest of the country from freezing temperatures and prolonged snowfall.

Situated more or less halfway between Chesterfield and Mansfield, Glapwell is a former mining village in Derbyshire with a population just short of 1500. Not a lot has happened here it seems, although the settlement dates back long before its mention in the Domesday Book. The Young Vanish Inn (that the club originally took their name from), stands in the centre and in turn took its name from a famous race horse of the 19th Century that was stabled at Glapwell Hall. It was this stately home that the ground is named after, with the buildings having been demolished in the 1950s and the land used for sports ever since. Apparently cropmarks are still visible on the pitch during the summertime, where you can see the outline of the buildings, perhaps giving it the possibility some time in the future of being the first non-league ground to appear on an episode of Time Team!?!
Setting off at midday with a mate, we made good progress, with a quick stop off in Derby for food, before completing the journey with 40 minutes left to kick-off, having found the ground with no problems at all, the village located not far from the M1.

Sitting opposite a farmyard, it’s very much a rural location, albeit only a few minutes walk from the village centre, which left the unusual sight for a Step 4 game of the surrounding roads marked out as not for matchday parking! Even with their return to the village, a big crowd wasn’t expected, and the car park was empty enough to find a spot to park up in and go inside. Coming in through the turnstiles you enter into a busy little area with the clubhouse to the right, and clubshop/refreshment huts and offices to the left. To get to the pitch itself you have to go through a small covered passage between these buildings, which brings you out in the corner of the near end. This end is split in two, with the players entrance a little further up just before the goal, requiring a detour back around the buildings to be able to get to the far side where sits a small covered terrace this side of the halfway line, with the dugouts beyond it. The far end is hard standing, as is the first half of the near side with the seating located beyond the halfway line, under two separate covers, with seats in the closer section, and benches under the slightly higher stand beyond it. For no apparent reason, the far end was closed off from spectators, but after a quick pint in the clubhouse then we took up a position on the halfway line ready for the game to begin.

By this point in 2010 I’d managed to see three games already, but the weather and a general lack of enthusiasm meant that this was my first game of 2011, although it wouldn’t be a long wait until the first goal came, with just two minutes on the clock when Gary Townsend opened the scoring. Kidsgrove goalkeeper Steve Intihar would probably like to blame the slope of the pitch for putting him at a disadvantage, but he could only look at himself when trying to shepherd an innocuous clearance into the area to pick up, only for Townsend to pounce on him and poke it around him and into an empty net when he had all the time to clear it with no problems. As if that wasn’t bad enough for the visitors conceding such a silly goal early on, then it looked like a landslide was on the cards when it was 2-0 shortly afterwards. A long ball forward to Ian Holmes saw the winger twist and turn unchallenged to dance his way into the box and curl a great effort home into the far corner to double the lead and leave Kidsgrove manager Peter Ward probably wishing he’d got out the other side of the bed! To be fair to the visitors, they could have crumbled at this point, with the hosts having a number of chances to increase the lead in the first 20 minutes, but they stuck at it and come half-time it was looking a more even match than the first five minutes had suggested it would be.

In the second half both sides continued to press and in the latter stages it was Glapwell doing most of the defending, but that itself saw the hosts finish the game off in injury time with a breakaway up the far end which found the visitors stretched, and a good ball through to Ian Brown (not of Stone Roses fame), who poked it past Intihar to go round the hapless ‘keeper and stab it home into the empty net to confirm the win by ironically the same goal difference that it had been when I’d visited Kidsgrove, with it being a reverse of this fixture, the Derbyshire side enjoying a controversial 5-2 win back in October 2008.

Unfortunately, no programmes had arrived due to problems with the printers, however teamsheets were freely available, but that aside it had been a good trip, and an entertaining opening to a new year. Whilst the ground might be one of the smaller ones at this level, it is quite homely, with a friendly welcome in the clubhouse, so whilst the club remain there, then a visit is recommended.

According to club officials, the chances of working together with the parish council look more favourable, so a permanent return may yet be on the cards at some point with improvements being made, which if the club are to continue their impressive rise up the pyramid, you’d presume would be necessary, so whilst what eventually happens remains to be seen, it does thankfully look a little premature to write Hall Corner off into the history books just yet. 

Welcome to Glapwell!

Outside the Ground

The Near Side

The Near End

The Press Box

Seating in the Near Stand

Bench Seating in the Far Stand

Looking across the Far End

The Far Side

The Far End

The Far Side Terrace

The Clubhouse

The Far Side

Ready for Kick Off

The Near Side

The Far Side

The Near End

The Near End

The Near Side

The Far Side

Hall Corner Panoramic


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