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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

Brackley Town FC

St. James Park
Churchill Way
Brackley
Northants
NN13 7EJ

Telephone: 01280 704077

Website

Nickname: The Saints

View of ground from top corner

Main stand

Near touchline

Far touchline

The geographical location of Brackey Town FC on the Northants / Oxfordshire borders, not to mention its position in the middle of the catchment area of the Southern League; has had a significant influence on the recent history of the club.

The earliest records however, date back to 1890 when the club included Spurs amongst their rivals at around the turn of the century. Up until 1968 Brackey played on a pitch in Manor Road before moving to a new ground in Buckingham Road. The facilities were fairly Spartan however, with the changing rooms and headquarters based in the nearby Plough public house.

In 1974 Brackley were on the move again, this time to their current home in Churchill Way. A small clubhouse and changing rooms were built and within three years the club had won promotion to Division One of the Hellenic League. After six seasons however, the club applied and were accepted for a move across the Pyramid into the United Counties League, which they won at the first attempt and gained senior status.

The arrival of floodlights during the 1988/89 season saw Brackley achieve runners-up spot in the UCL Premier Division, and beat the then Conference side Kettering Town in the Northants Senior Cup. The next five seasons however, saw a distinct downwards turn with the club consistently in the bottom three, and in 1994 Brackley elected to move back across to the Hellenic League.

The reappointment of Phil Lines, the Saints’ successful manager in the late 1980s paid dividends and in 1996/97 promotion to the Southern League was achieved. The first season was spent in the Midland Division, with the club finishing in a respectable mid-table position. 1n 1998/99 however, Brackley suffered the fate of many a club on the ‘cusp’ of the Southern League boundaries and were placed in the Southern Section. The additional expense of travelling took its toll and relegation back to the Hellenic League followed at the end of the season.

Brackley’s brief spell in the Southern League is reflected in the facilities at St. James’ Park as a consequence of the club having to meet grading requirements of the next step of the Pyramid. A smart modern stand dominates the near touchline, with its large roof providing shelter for the 300 seated spectators underneath. The roof is quite low however, and this combined with the supporting pillars mean it is difficult to obtain an unobstructed view.

The remaining three sides are relatively undeveloped, although a good view of the action is available from the grass bank at the top end of the ground. The far touchline is set a little way from the perimeter fence. The clubhouse, in keeping with the rest of the ground is well maintained, and there is also a decent sized car park.

Brackley lifted the Hellenic Premier Division championship at the end of the 2003/04 season, and St. James’ park will once again be hosting Southern League football, this time in Division One (West) in the newly restructured Pyramid.

Ground details
Capacity: 3,500
Seats: 300
Floodlights: Yes.

Directions
Enter the town via the A43, crossing the junction with the A422 (roundabout). Continue up Oxford Road and into Bridge Street, before turning right into Churchill Way.

By rail
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