Sunday, 27 November 2011

Castle Vale F.C.

Castle Vale F.C.

This week we headed to North Birmingham to take in the Midlands Combination action between Castle Vale and Bartley Green. The two sides are at contrasting ends of the league table, Vale, despite not having won (or even scored) in their last three games currently sit forth, pushing for promotion whereas the Owls are fighting for survival down in sixteenth.

Despite the name Castle Vale are based two miles up the Chester Road (A452) in the leafy suburb of Boldmere, They share a ground with Midlands Alliance side Boldmere St. Michaels following their departure from Vale stadium.

We were fortunate to get to the Trevor Brown Memorial ground on time thanks to a rather rude bus driver in Ashby de la Zouch refusing to give us change for a £10 note Setting the travel arrangements back half an hour, Still I couldn't resist a snap of the beautiful St. Michaels Church near the ground during a frantic power walk from the train station.
St. Michaels Church

The Match
The pre-match rituals

The game got off to a far from remarkable start, Very scrappy football with many misplaced passes and poor tackles, I even witnessed a foul throw from a Bartley Green defender which I cannot ever remember seeing outside of schoolboy ranks.
Eventually the home side managed to get a grip on the struggling opposition and settled down, They almost took the lead in the 22nd minute when forward Ryan Nash fired wide from 25 yards, Nash came close again five minutes later after bursting through the defence but fired wide when one on one with Bartley keeper Mark Wolesley.

The spitfires had several opportunities to take a lead into half time, Danny O'Callaghan should have headed in from a corner into a gaping net but squandered the chance by heading wide of the near post, Nash also came close with a diving header and an overheadkick following a scramble, But despite all their pressure Vale were unable to pick the Owl's defence before the break, With their poor finishing today it is not hard to see why they haven't scored in three games.

Vale began the second half in a determined manner, Ryan Nash must have been wandering what exactly he has to do to put the ball in the net, His freekick struck the  Bartley crossbar shortly after half time, The Spitfires finally made the breakthrough in the 48th minute, Midfielder Scott Parker's (Prehaps lost on his way to the Hawthorns for the West Brom-Spurs game?) shot took a wicket deflection off a defender to elude a despairing dive by Wolesey.

Following the goal Vale enjoyed near total dominance for the remainder of the second half, The pace of their attack caused Bartley many problems which they just didn't look equipped to deal with. Centerback Dean Crowley went close to doubling the lead on the hour mark but headed over, His defensive partner Richard Deavall also had a glorious opportunity when he suddenly found himself in an advanced position, He however powered over the bar.  O'Callaghan came the closest to a second when he burst clean through on Wolesley, His shot looked to be going in but just clipped the diving keepers leg, The deflection was enough to take the ball up and over for a corner, The resulting ball was cleared off the line following a goalmouth scramble.

Bartley did have a few chances to steal a point against the run of play near the end but spurned all of them, Handing Vale a well deserved win.

Castle Vale F.C.

Nickname: The Spitfires
Founded: 1964 (As King's Heath)
Ground: Trevor Brown Memorial Stadium, Boldmere, Birmingham, B73 5RY Map
Capacity: 2,500
Contact: 07787804153

Founded in 1964 in the King's Heath district of Birmingham, This club has gone through several name and location changes. Initially founded as a pub team of the Horse and Shoe Inn they began life playing in the South Birmingham league until deciding to change their name to King's Heath FC to better represent their local area, Joining the Midlands Combination division two  which they won in 1982/83.

The club was relocated to Solihull but were evicted due to not being able to produce the funds to improve their ground, They then entered into ground shares with Knowle and Shirley town, These grounds were not up to standard and the club was forced down a division. 
After contributing towards improvements at Shirley Town's Whitlock's End ground up to code the club returned to the Midlands Combination Premier in 1992/93, Another ground share followed in 1994 when they moved in with Alvechurch FC before finding a more permanent arrangement with the now defunct Paget Rangers FC in the Castle Vale area of North Birmingham, They changed their name to Castle Vale KH to reflect their new surroundings but also to retain their ties with their former home of King's Heath. The KH was eventually dropped in 2005.
The club left the Vale stadium in 2011 and moved in with Midlands Alliance side Boldmere St. Michaels in the Sutton Coldfield region of Birmingham.

The Ground

Upon entering from Church road we are greeted by the ticket lady who seems to have been expecting us, She sells us a programme for £1, The programme certainly not the most professional job we've ever seen but for just £1 it's not too bad.
We are escorted to the club house by a friendly young man where we are introduced to Steve Henson, The clubs vice-president who has been involved with the club for 20 years or so, He offers us a drink and shows us around the ground, There is little evidence that Castle Vale play here, All the décor is of Boldmere St. Michaels.
The clubhouse is at the South of the ground, It has a hatch for buying hot or cold food and drink and has a covered area for shelter, The players emerge from a door next door to the refreshment area, The toilets are right in the South-East corner.

Shortly before kick off Steve takes us to our seats in the directors area where we meet chairman Gary Higgins, These are the only seats in the ground, running along the East touchline, There are three rows of black and white seats with the directors and press area on the half way line, Unfortunately neither end of the stand is close so the bitter wind cuts right through.
The main stand is on the right of the field.

The substitute benches are on the opposite side of the field, They are between two of the eight large floodlights which adorn the field, There is no other covered areas in the ground, Just a barrier with a few supporters leaning on. Some have decided to sit in their cars to avoid the cold, Although we can't ascertain how they can see half the pitch from their place in the South-West corner car park.

Panorama of the Trevor Brown Memorial stadium.
Getting to the Trevor Brown Memorial Stadium

By car: Leave the M6 at junction five and take Chester Road (A452) for approximately three miles, Turn right onto Church road, The ground is on the left hand side.

By Train: The closest train station is Chester Road around three quarters of a mile away on the Longbridge to Lichfield line, It has regular services to and from Birmingham New Street.

By Bus: The 66A runs regularly from Birmingham City Centre and stops close to the ground, 

Local Area Info


Bishop Vesey: A well run Weatherspoons pub on Boldmere high street serving the standard spoons' menu as well as a selection of local and international ales.

Harvester: If you don't fancy Weatherspoons there is Harvester right next door! Traditional pub food as well as a delicious grill menu.

Miller & Carter: Situated on the shore of a large boating lake within the scenic Sutton Park, This grill house serves up some of the most delicious meals to be had for miles around and comes with our personal recommendation.

Regards: Asian cuisine, A nice Asian grill restaurant on Boldmere high street. 

To Do

Sutton Park:The beautiful Sutton Park is just a short walk from Boldmere, It is Europe's largest public park and has some great walks. 


Travel Lodge: Located just behind Boldmere high street this Travel lodge offers all you have come to expect from the chain, Comfortable accomodation with breakfast available.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Gresley F.C.

Welcome to our third outing, This time we travelled to see Gresley F.C. in the South Derbyshire town of Swadlincote.

The Match

Gresley marched on into the third round of the FA Vase with something of a shock victory against a strong Kings Lynn side who reached the last four in last years competition.
The breakthrough came in the 31st minute, Midfielder Dean Oliver playing a neat ball over the defence for Richard Hounslow to race clear of the perusing pack, Finishing into Lynn keeper Alex Street's far post.

The goal came somewhat against the run of play, the East Anglian visitors had edged the game up until the goal, Having several chances but not being able to convert any, They thought they had an equaliser almost immediately from the re-start but were denied by the linesman's flag.

Gresley almost added a second five minutes before half time, A goalmouth scramble was not well dealt with by the Lynn defence, The 500 strong crowd prepared to cheer several times before the ball was eventually hacked off the line by a defender.

The home sides assault continued after the break, Jamie Barrett's header clipped the post before James Jepson forced Street into a good save with his long range effort.
Commanding centre back Michael Nottingham was on fine form and was almost rewarded with a goal, His header from a corner was just turned away.

The visitors did however come back and began to take charge of the game, Winning almost twenty corners, Despite dominating the possession in the final 25 minutes or so Lynn didn't really test Gary Hateley between the posts on many occasions as the defence held strong time and time again.

The result was assured in stoppage time, Dean Oliver skipped away from his marker and raced away down field with substitute Royce Turnville in support, With all his team mates still caught out of position Street was powerless to prevent Oliver squaring the ball for his team-mate to make it 2-0.

Gresley F.C.

Nickname: The Moatmen
Founded: 1882
Ground: The Moat Ground, Moat Street, Church Gresley, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE11 9RE, Map
Capacity: 2,400
Contact: (01283) 216315

Gresley FC was formed in 2009 following the liquidation of Gresley Rovers due to financial troubles. They initially joined the East Midlands Counties League, Still using Rovers's Moat Street ground. where they finished as runners up to Dunkirk and therefore narrowly missed out on promotion in their first season.
After several changes at boardroom level the club is looking into moving to a new stadium to help the club progress.

The 2011/12 season saw Martyn Rowntree become manager after coaching the reserves,
Rowntree narrowly missed out on promotion last season, most of the players have returned to the club. Brian Woodall (30 goals) and Royce Turville (21 goals) both featured prominently in the end of season awards and return as does popular club captain Carl Slater who is about to start his ninth season at the Moat Ground.

The Ground

The Moat Ground 

Entering through the Moat street turnstiles which are housed in what appears to be a shed with both ends missing you are immediately greeted by the programme lady who along with her daughter welcome you to the club and sell one a good quality programme for £1.20.

Behind her you have the option of going to your right and joining the small terraced area in the corner where the more vocal Gresley support seems to be housed or going left and taking a seat in what is a rather impressive stand at this level with around ten rows of seats, Home and away supporters mingle freely here, exchanging opinions and banter amongst one another .

Be warned however the view of the North side of the pitch is obstructed by a fence if you sit in the first few rows of the stand on the right.

The offending fence

At the back of the stand are the players' dressing rooms, Their gangway onto the pitch divides the terrace and seated areas. Immediately to the right of the changing rooms is the refreshments bar, Serving some decent food and soft drinks.
Up above the stand is the hospitality area, It seems precariously perched on a scaffold structure which looks as if a strong gust of wind could blow it over, However we are informed it has now stood there for a number of years and is indeed safe.

Leaving the enclosure of the covered stand you come to several portable offices, One of which is the club shop, Selling all manner of merchandise emblazened in Gresley red, Including a range of vintage programs and other memorabilia.
The supporters club lies in the South-East corner of the ground, It caters for both sets of supporters, serving reasonably priced alcohol.

Behind the South goal is a small covered area where the standing away support seems to have set up camp, Decorating their patch with several Kings Lynn flags and banners.
The opposite side of the pitch has another covered area with a single row of seats At the end of the row is a small shed selling hot an cold drinks.

The ground has a very cosy and laid back feel to it, Several supporters from both sides strike up conversation with us, They also share out snacks smuggled in in their coat pockets amongst each other whilst exchanging memories of their clubs whilst stadium announcer blasts out Elvis Presley's hit Hound-dog and other rockabilly classics to humour the clubs mascot Elvis Gresley, A large brown dog wearing the red and white who is parading around the stadium.

Elvis Gresley and mascot

The ground in enclosed by housing on three sides, There are several residents hanging out of upstairs windows or sitting on their garden fences for a view of the game, A father and son even appear to have climbed onto the corrugated steel roof of the West stand with a blanket and sat down to take in the action from the rooftop, The later play the part of ball boys as a defensive clearance sails into their garden.

Getting to the Moat Ground

By Car;

From the South
Follow the M42 northbound to Junction 11, turn off onto the A444 toward Burton Upon Trent. Turn right onto the A514 (Castle Road) toward Gresley and follow the road up the hill to the traffic island at the top. Continue on the A514 over the island and take the second road on the left (School Street), the next left into Moat Street where the Moat Ground is located.

From the North-East
Follow the M1 south to junction 23a, turn off on to the A42 southbound. Continue on the A42 to Ashby-de-la-Zouch then turn off onto the A511 toward Swadlincote. At Woodville turn off the A511 onto the A514 toward Church Gresley, follow the road signs to Gresley, the School Street turn off is second on the right after the Gresley island. Take the first turn on the left in School Street to take you to the ground.

From the North-West
From Stoke-on-Trent follow the A50 toward Burton-Upon-Trent, turn on to the A511 and continue through Burton. Turn off the A511 onto the A444 toward Nuneaton. Follow the A444 until you reach the turn off for the A514. Turn left onto the A514 (Castle Road) toward Gresley and follow the road up the hill to the traffic island at the top. Continue on the A514 over the island and take the second road on the left (School Street), the next left into Moat Street where the Moat Ground is located.

By Train:
The nearest station is Burton-on-Trent (Approx 6 miles) which has regular services to and from many major cities including Birmingham, Nottingham and Cardiff.

By Bus:
There are several buses which stop close to the ground, Arriva's #4 and Midland Classic's #19 both stop outside the Maurice Lee memorial park on Common Road, Just a short walk to the ground.

Local Area Info


The Rising Sun: The closest pub to the ground, Located on Common road. The staff are friendly and the beer cheap, A darts tournament was in progress as we visited making for a good atmosphere as the football supporters filed in.

Travellers Rest

Travellers Rest: Situated about a ten minute walk from the ground across the Maurice Lee memorial park, The Travellers offers a selection of real ales as well as servings some good quality food.

The Sir Nigel Gresley: Named after the famed railway engineer who also lends his name to the Swadlincote districts of Castle and Church Gresley (And of course Gresley FC) This Weatherspoons is always busy, It has a conservatory style restaurant area overlooking the bustling high-street and a bar which serves the chain's normal plethora or British and international beers and spirits.


Millennium Fish Bar: Located close to the ground on Common Road this chippy is ever popular in the area serving up one of the best portions to be found in Swadlincote.

To Do;


Conkers Discovery Centre: Situated two miles away in Moira is Conkers, The centre offers a fun day out for all ages, With an adventure playground for kids, A narrow-gage railway transporting visitors around the vast site, An assault course for big kids and adults and several miles of scenic walks around the National Forest's flagship site.


Swadlincote Ski Centre: The former mining town is the last place you would expect to find a ski slope, But yet the towering hill overlooking the town has been converted into an exhilarating course, Offering ski and snowboard lessons, For the less brave you can also go down in inflatable tubes whilst sitting. A ski lift up the hill takes you to the fantastic Toboggan run which gives you a fantastic view over Swad (Before being launched down the hill at gut-wrenching speed)

Sunday, 13 November 2011


The Match;

Welcome back to for this, Our second installment of non-league action. This week we headed to North Birmingham to take in the action between Romulus and Coalville Town. This was our second game involving the Ravens who arrived at the central ground on the back off a 1-0 victory over Newcastle Town and unbeaten in four. You can read our profile on Coalville here

The teams observe a minutes silence for Rememberance day.

The Leicestershire sides hopes of stretching that run to five faded quickly, The Rom's going 2-0 in the first 15 minutes thanks to goals from striker Marvin Johnson and left winger Ashley Jackson, Both of which were the results of poor defending on Coalville's part. 
First half action as Coalville looked for a way back into the game.

The visitors were lucky not to be several more adrift by half time as Marcus Brown hit the woodwork and new signing Mitchell McPike forced Ravens keeper Sean Bowles into a save at full stretch.

The break brought no relief for Adam Stevens's side, Romulus going three up seven minutes after the re-start, McPike firing in from the edge of the penalty area after more poor defending by the visitors, Their frustration was evident as keeper Sean Bowles engaged in a furious and highly audible argument with team mate Lee Miveld.

The third goal did seem to give Coalville a kick up the backside as they began to dominate for a period, Thhe thought they had their reward when Danny Quinn turned in Louis Dodd's cross, The goal was however canceled out by the linesman's flag for offside. Two minutes later Coalville did indeed have a goal when Dodd turned the ball past Rom's keeper Lewis Exall.
Karl Demidh mesures his free-kick

Karl Demidh came close to making it 3-2 when his free kick was parried onto the post by Exall, The Rom's did however manage to weather the storm and reasserted themselves in the game as Coalville ran out of steam, They made it 4-1 during stoppage time with a fantastic second goal by Marvin Elliot, The striker picking up the ball in a wide position before cutting inside and curling the ball beyond Bowles to complete a dominant performance by the home side and one to forget for Coalville.


Nickname: The Rom's
Founded: 1979
Ground: The Central Ground, Cole's Lane, Sutton Coldfield,  Map
Capacity: 2,000
Contact: (0121) 354 2997

Romulus were formed in 1979, Initially they were a youth club run by a group of parents from Walmley area of Birmingham, running teams at under-12 and under-13 levels.
Success didn't take long, The youngsters won the Lichfield and Birmingham district league on several occasions as well as the Staffordshire youth cup in which they competed against higher age categories throughout, This isn't surprising when you take a look at some of the alumni who started off at the club;
Zat Knight (England, Fulham, Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers)
Luke Rodgers (Shrewsbury Town, Port Vale, Notts County, New York)
Darius Vassell (England, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Ankaragücü, Leicester City)
Luke Moore (Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Swansea City)
Stefan Moore (Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers, Halesowen Town, St.Neots Town)
Lloyd Dyer (West Bromwich Albion, MK Dons, Leicester City)

After twenty years of successful youth football the club commenced it's first adult side in 1999, Richard Evans who had played in every season since the club formed was appointed manager at just 28 years old. They started off in the Sutton district league, winning three successive promotions to enter the Birmingham festival league, Still using predominantly youth players. After more league success the club took the decision to join the Saturday league ranks.

Evans was joined by former team mate Keith Brown as co-manager for the club's first season in the Midlands Combination, The duo proved an instant success, winning promotion to the Premier division at the first attempt in 2000.

2003/04 saw the club march on, acquiring the Midlands Alliance title on the final day to pip rivals Leamington for promotion, they also won the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Challenge Cup with a 2-1 victory over Nuneaton Griff and the Midland Combination Challenge Cup by beating Coventry Marconi 2-0.

The Rom's first season in the Midland's Alliance saw them achieve a creditable 12th place, They also added another trophy to the growing collection, beating arch rivals Leamington for the Terry Alldon Memorial cup.

Romulus won promotion to the fourth tier of the non-league game in 2006/07 to what is now know as the Evo-Stik division one (South) where they remain today alongside Sutton Coldfield Town with whom they share the Central ground. They have made good progress at this level, Narrowly missing a play of spot twice in recent years, Still utilising the youth system which helped the club reach it's current level.

The Ground

Entering the ground from the main Coles Lane entrance we meet the ticket man just inside the security gate who admits for £7 adults and £1 for children he also sells a reasonable program for just £1 as well as various club nik-naks and souvenirs.

Behind him is the entrance to the clubs seated section, The lower floor of the building contains the players dressing room and the upper houses season ticket holders.
Aside from a small sign above the car park there appears very little evidence that Romulus actually play here, Everything is themed blue and white in the tradition of groundshare rivals Sutton Coldfield Town.
There is a car park behind the North goal, Although a large net does stretch above the hoarding the ball does seem to regularly hit the cars behind it. The club house is next to the car park, A neat little bar with a pool table and fruit machine which is accommodating to both home and away support.

Adjoining the bar is a small hatch serving hot and cold food, Nothing special just your football standards such as the Pukka pies and burgers done to a reasonable standard.

The east and South stands both have long covered areas, The home fans seem to congregate in these areas whilst visitors take the club house end, Romulus boast a refreshingly young fan base who are lively and vocal, The young following may owe to the club's policy on utilizing youngsters from within.
Getting To The Central Ground:
Car: From M6: Take Junction 6 and follow the A5127 to Sutton Coldfield, turn right at Odeon Cinema onto HOLLAND RD then take the first right into COLES LANE. Ground is 150 yards on left (it is somewhat set back from the road, look out for the blue sign next to the shop.)

From M42: Take Junction 9 and follow the A4097 to Minworth. At the island follow signs to WALMLEY VILLAGE. Turn right at the traffic lights onto the B4148, after passing the shops take a left at lights into WYLDE GREEN ROAD. Go over the railway bridge and turn right into EAST VIEW ROAD which merges into COLES LANE the ground is on the right, the entrance is next to the shop.

By Rail: Sutton Coldfield station is a 10 minute walk from the ground and has services from Birmingham New Street and Lichfield Trent Valley every 10-15 minutes.

By Bus: There are almost constant services going between Sutton and Birmingham, These all stop in the bus park in the upper-parade, However if you are going stright to the ground you can save yourself some time buy getting off the bus outside The Cup pub, Crossing the road and heading down Duke street, turning right onto Upper-Holland Street, The next left is Coles lane where the ground is approximatly 150 yards down on the left hand side.

Supporter's View
Big thanks to Michael Yates for taking the time to talk to us;

Club Hero

Richard Evans: Has been involved in the club since the very beginning and has done practically every job imaginable for us both on field and off, Including managing us since 1999.

Greatest Moment

Joining Saturday League Ranks: All the hard work the club had put in at youth level and in Sunday league finally paid off with us now competing for serious prizes and money and with the chance to progress up the ladder, which we have, and continue to do.

Advice on Visiting Sutton Coldfield


Bottle of Sack: As you would expect from any Weatherspoon's this pub offers a range of both local and international ales, lagers and spirits. It also serves up a varied menu served throughout the day.

The Station: As the name would suggest this pub is next door to Sutton's train station, It serves many real ales and regularly hosts live bands and comedy acts. Complete with beer garden.


Jimmy's Spice's: Situated on the Sutton Parade this restaurant offers buffet style cuisine from Thailand, China, India and Italy. All for just £9.99 if you go before 7pm.

Miller & Carter: Situated on the shore of a large boating lake within the scenic Sutton Park, This grill house serves up some of the most delicious meals to be had for miles around and comes with our personal recommendation.

Fast Food: If your in a hurry (or on a budget) McDonald's and Subway are situated at the top of the parade in the bus bay area.

Things To Do

If you don't feel like heading into Birmingham City centre take a stroll around the beautiful Sutton Park, Europe's largest non-national park, Town gate is just a short walk from the town center.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Coalville Town

Hello and welcome to the very first installment of our club guide feature,
 Our maiden journey took us to the Leicestershire Town of Coalville for the Evo-Stik division one South game against Newcastle Town, The Ravens ran out deserved 1-0 winners  thanks to a first half strike from forward Danny Quinn.

Coalville Town 

Nickname: The Ravens
Founded: 1926
Ground: Owen Street Sports Ground, Coalville, Leicestershire, LE67 3DA Map
Capacity: 1,800
Contact: (01530) 833365

Initially known as Ravenstone Miners Athletic, The club competed within the Coalville & district amateur league which they won on five occasions. The league folded in 1975 so the club joined the North-Leicestershire league where they also enjoyed success finishing as runners up in 1976/77, Their success was recognized by election to the Leicestershire Senior League in 1991.

With their success Ravenstone had outgrown their home at Ravenslea, A refusal by the Parish council in 1994 to allow the club to install floodlights prompted the club to up roots and move to it's current home at Owen Street, Changing it's name to Coalville Town as it went.

Within two years of the change of address the club had gained promotion to the Leicestershire Premier Division, After back to back title wins under manager Lee Harriman the club was elected into the Midlands Football Alliance in 2003, The team finished a respectable 8th in their first season, The following season saw the club enjoy it's first run in the FA cup, They became only the second side in the competition's history to make it all the way from the preliminary round through to the first round proper where they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Wycombe Wanderers, They also came third in the MFA after a 17 game unbeaten run.

The club had it's most successful campaign in 2010/11, Winning promotion to Evo-Stik Division one South, They scored a record blitzing 153 goals during The campaign to win the title, They also had a trip down Wembley Way as they reached the final of the FA Vase, Where the Ravens were unfortunate to go down 3-2 to Whitley Bay.

The Ground: 

Entering the ground from the main car park behind the South goal you are immediately greeted by the club shop, A small portable cabin with merchandise hanging from the walls, The ware's are reasonably priced, A program will set you back £2.

To the right of the club shop is the refreshments stall, Unlike the former this is a decent sized brick building, serving all the usual food and drink you would find at any given football ground around the country, A nice twist was the food is prepared in an oven rather than a deep fat fryer to spare your heart a little extra Cholesterol.

The ground has three sheltered areas to protect supporters from the elements, The two stands running along the touchlines have a limited amount of seating.

A large embankment towers behind the North goal, Ticketless individuals can be spied at regular intervals throughout the game taking in the action before being ushered away by security.

The players emerge from dressing rooms housed within the club house in the South-East corner of the ground, Security fences have been erected since the clubs promotion to Evo-Stik  division one to comply with the league's health and safety laws regarding the protection of players and match officials.

The more vocal support seems to come from the sheltered standing area behind the North goal with some chanting and drumming on the corrugated steel structure.

The club maintains a loyal following in town and maintains an average attendance of around 200 for league games

Getting to Owen Street:

Car: From M42/A42 take exit signposted Ashby and follow A511 to Coalville and Leicester. After approximately 2 miles you will come to a roundabout, take the second exit (A511) and proceed to the next roundabout. Take the third exit, into Coalville Town Centre. Go straight over at traffic lights and at the mini roundabout, proceed for approximately 50 yards and turn right into Owen Street. The ground is at the top of the street on the left hand side.

Bus:  Regular services run from Leicester and Burton on Trent, Stopping in the town centre, From there it is a short walk to the ground. Be warned some services finish rather early so the bus may not be the best option for returning home from late kick-off's.

Train: Coalville's closest station is Loughborough on the Nottingham to London St. Pancras line, Approximatly nine miles away.

Hopefully you have enjoyed our very first foray into the world of non-league football and will find it useful, Feedback/comments/suggestions are always welcome as we look to improve the service.

Supporter's View
A big thank you to Adam Brindley who kindly took the time to provide us with this weeks spotlight.

Club hero's:

Ash Brown: Coalville's own Captain Fantastic, Ash has been with the club for over 10 seasons and has always been a consistent performer. He reads the game extremely well and has been a foundation in the clubs success

Adam Stevens: Not only is Adam Stevens Coalville's most successful manager. Reaching the Polymac cup final, leading Coalville to 3rd place, 2nd place and then 1st place whilst also taking his side onto the hallowed turf of Wembley

Alvin Jarvis:
Alvin enjoys something of a cult following at Coalville. He became an impact substitution and often turned games around with his strong physical presence going forward. His best moments include scoring the winning goal in the Fa Vase against fierce rivals Barwell and, during the same run, grabbing a late equaliser in extra time against Spennymoor. Although Alvin has since left the Ravens, there are occasions, including the FA Vase Final when the song 'Oh Alvin Jarvis, is bigger than this' can be heard. Whenever he plays against the Ravens, Alvin is sure of a warm reception.

Cameron Stuart:
Cam's claim to fame is that John Gregory paid £50k to sign him to Aston Villa from York City. Gregory's scouts obviously realised that he had great technical ability and that still shows at Owen Street. A player whose free kicks around the edge of the box are almost as automatic as his penalties. In the league title winning 2010-11 season, Cam contributed 21 goals, not bad a for a left back!!

Upcoming talent:

Anthony Carney: Joined Coalville from Sunday League football. Anthony has made a meteoric rise from amateur football to Coalville's first team. A gifted young player who can is equally comfortable with both feet. Always works hard for 90minutes on the pitch and gives defenders a torrid time with his ability to change direction at pace.

Ryan Robbins: Signed from Friar Lane in the Summer of 2010. Started as a substitute who would come on and terrorise fatigued defenders. Ryan's ability to bamboozle defenders means he often creates chances for Coalville, it does leave him at risk to some late tackles by defenders who are either too slow or too frustrated to win possession. An exciting player who is held in high regard by Ravens fans.

Greatest Moment(s): 

Fa Cup 1st Round: Coalville entered the Fa Cup Qualifying rounds for the first time during the 2004-05 season. While there was a feeling that the club had the players to win a couple of games, nobody could have expected them to make the 1st Round Proper and be handed a very exciting tie against Wycombe Wanderers. While many were expecting a one-sided affair , The Ravens battled well and eventually came unstuck at Adams Park to a Roger Johnson goal after 70 minutes. Coalville fans can be proud at how their side performed that day and will always be hopeful of emulating such a fantastic and memorable cup run.

Fa Vase Runners-up (2010-11): A couple of good Fa Vase runs in the past had Coalville fans optimistic that they could fair quite well in the competition, many fans feeling that their side for the season was very talented for a club at that level. The Fa Vase run, began with Coalville almost being knocked out in their opening fixture against League rivals Stratford. But two goals in the final 10 minutes were enough to send the Ravens through. Signs that the side could really make progress came following a magnificent 2-0 away win at Shildon, a side who were at the time ahead of Whitley Bay, who had won the competition twice in the two seasons previous.
Another tricky away tie to Bristol to play Bitton AFC saw the Ravens strike lucky, a lacklustre performance saw them go behind twice before a Cam Stuart free-kick and a Matt Moore strike brought Coalville level twice. It looked as if extra-time would beckon but a calamitous error between goalkeeper and defender allowed Matt Gardner to score a looping header from 18 yards out to spark wild celebrations from the travelling fans.

Victories against Holbrook and Leiston took Coalville to the Semi-finals where they met Kings Lynn Town. A fantastic Coalville display was soured by the performance of fans from both sides which resulted in Fa punishments for the two clubs.

This did not dampen Coalville's spirits who had earned the right to play at 'the home of football' Wembley stadium some 8,000-plus fans were in attendance to watch Coalville try and prevent Whitley Bay from taking the Vase home for an unprecedented third time in a row.
Despite a fantastic Coalville performance they ultimately lost the game 3-2. Whitley Bay's Goalkeeper being awarded the Man of the Match award was a testament to the way Coalville had performed on the big stage.

Winning the Midland Alliance: A fine start to the season was spoiled at times by Coalville's inability to remain consistent and defensive lapses meant that they had conceded more than any side in the top 5 by the end of the season.

Coalville could have been forgiven for being distracted by the upcoming Fa Vase final that was approaching but there professional approach and desire to be crowned league champions saw them take a maximum 18 points from their final 6 games, sparking wild celebrations on the pitch with fans and players together chanting and signing Coalville songs.

Advice on visiting Coalville


The Monkey Walk: Marlborough Square: A pub located within a 2 minute walk from the ground. Serves a range of beers, wines and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at a relatively low price. Also serves food.

The Snibstone: This pub is situated near Coalville's iconic clock tower. It serves a range of beers and cold snacks. They also show football Live on Sky, perfect for those arriving early.

The Stamford & Warrington: 'The Temple' is where a number of Coalville fans visit on a Saturday morning. A very old school style pub that is full of local types and many characters.
It may serve food, but I would never eat it!

Friday, 4 November 2011


Welcome to the Non-League Diaries!
This blog aims to profile as many of the Midlands's semi-pro and amateur teams as humanly possible as I visit a different club each week, Compiling a club and ground guide as I go.

I shall be interviewing fans, players and club officials for their experiences, opinions on the modern game and various other issues about life supporting one of our clubs.

Feedback and corrispondance is always welcome, If you have any suggestions on what clubs I should feature next or have any infomation I may find useful please drop me a line!