Writing in 1996, Kerry Miller commented that Almondsbury Town appeared ‘to have lurched from one crisis to another ever since reaching the FA Vase final in 1979’. Then, as Almondsbury Greenway FC the club lost out to Billericay Town who virtually made the trophy their own in those heady days.
Founded in 1897 the club has existed in a number of guises: changing their name to Almondsbury Picksons in 1987 (and lifting the Hellenic Premier Division title in 1988/99); and again to Almondsbury Town in 1993.
Oakland Park, within a stones throw from the M5 and just ‘round the corner from the police motorway control building has been home to the club since the late 1980s, when they moved from the Recreation Ground on the other side of the A38. Floodlights were installed in 1991.
Possibly not helped by competing in the Hellenic League, rather than the more appropriate Western League, the club ran into severe financial problems in 1997, and was effectively saved when the Gloucestershire FA purchased the site and took them on as tenants. Recent reports however, suggest that the FA is considering leasing the ground to Bristol City, thereby placing the future of Almondsbury in serious doubt.
The ground has certainly benefitted since the FA took over the reins, and is a very neat County League ground. The buildings of the County HQ stand behind the far goal, and there is also ample parking at that end of the ground. The far end has a shallow grass bank running along its length, although no hard standing.
A new covered area erected in 2003 stands against the high wall that separates the ground from the rugby club next door. Fitted with around 200 seats, the ‘Ted Marsh Stand’ provides the only real shelter from the elements, with the two brick-built dugouts adjacent. This touchline has hard standing along its length, extending around from behind the near goal. Opposite is further space for car parking and the clubhouse.
It would appear that Kerry Miller’s comments are as true today as they were in 1996, and it seems scandalous that a County FA would seek to evict one of its members clubs. Of course, things are seldom quite as they appear. Nevertheless, it is hoped that a solution will be found that will secure the Almonds’ future.
Adjacent to the M5 J16. Follow the A38 towards Thornbury and ground is the first turning on the left.
Bristol Parkway (BR) 4 miles.