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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Alfreton Town FC

The Impact Arena, North Street, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 7FZ.
Telephone: 01773 830277 / 832819
Nickname: Reds
Conference North

Note The present Alfreton Town FC was formed in 1959 following the merger of Alfreton Miners Welfare and Alfreton United, the previous club having ceased playing between the wars. The club was given a new ground in North Street by the local council, adjacent to the old Welfare Ground.

North Street didn’t have long to wait before its record attendance was set, when a crowd of 5,023 was recorded for the visit of Derbyshire rivals Matlock Town in 1960. This was made possible by the swift provision of covered standing along the banked up Welfare side of the ground; and seating for 180 spectators was in place by the following year, which survived until 1971 – a year before floodlights were erected, and two before a new dressing block replaced the original building outside of the ground. This was subsequently extended with cover tacked onto the front, and seating added.

In 1963 grass banking at the far (Alma Street) end was partially cut away to accommodate a small covered stand, and in recent years further extensive terracing with crush barriers has been added although the original cover remains. Indeed, the past decade has seen rapid change to the ground, particularly as the club has climbed back up the pyramid from the Northern Counties East League, having dropped down from the Northern Premier. The fact that the Reds and their opponents each have two dugouts, plus additional seating on either side, is evidence of the changing requirements faced by clubs as grading regulations change.

The most striking feature of the ground is the amount of seating, and in particular, its colour. This is a rather incongruous royal blue, and if it appears a strange choice for a club that plays in red, it is because it originally saw service at Leicester City’s Filbert Street ground – another classic example of Non League recycling. The club was certainly able to acquire a lot of it, as the ground is - save for the Alma Street end - practically all-seater. The fact that some of this is as yet uncovered means it looks rather odd, particularly where seats have been added to the original terracing at the North Street end, and on the dressing room side. However, there are plans to provide cover in these areas.

1994 saw the replacement of the old main stand on the Welfare side, which although only built in 1981, had begun to deteriorate. This was replaced by a new covered terrace. This has since been further extended with more seating added, and named the Tom McRoy Stand, after a long-serving stalwart of the club. At the time of my visit in August 2005, there was a further large area of uncovered seating on this side as well, but as before, this will eventually be covered. DB