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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

Bracknell Town FC

Larges Lane, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 9AN
Telephone: 01344 412305
Nickname: The Robins
Southern League

Note In his book Homes of Non League Football Peter Miles describes Larges Lane as “an eclectic mix of stands and buildings”, which is very apt. Although it could never be described as an attractive venue, it is one that will nevertheless appeal to enthusiasts who prefer a bit of character over bland uniformity.

The club has only been in existence in its current guise since 1962, having been originally formed as Old Bracknell Wanderers in 1896. In those early days, home was a field near the Devonshire Arms before moving to a site near the station (Station Field), some half a mile from their original home and now covered by Raneleigh Grammar School.

The move to Larges Lane came in 1933. The ground was then basic, with a sloping pitch and only a small shed tucked into one corner for changing. It was not until some 20 years later that the pitch was levelled, using materials for the extensive housing developments that were going on in the area at the time.

The club became Bracknell Town FC in 1962, and the ground remained relatively undeveloped until it received a significant boost from local benefactor, Sir Raymond Brown who bequeathed a substantial amount of money for a new clubhouse with changing facilities, a referee's room and a hall complete with an overhang for spectators. All of these facilities were opened simultaneously by Sir Stanley Rous.

The ground has all of its facilities on two sides, with the most recent addition an area of pretty basic covered terrace at the far (Mount Pleasant) end of the ground. This dates from 1994 and was renamed the Quinton Stand in 2002 in memory of the late Club President Jack Quinton.

A new brick stand with newer breezeblock dugouts immediately in front was built in 1988, The seating area is raised although not steeply tiered. This, together with the supprting pillars and buildings further along the touchline means that the view is not perfect. There is a further covered stand a little further along towards the near goal. This is also seated but as it dates from around the same time as the main stand, and the seats are at pitch level, one presumes the latter were added some time after the original construction.

If the Robins’ plans come to fruition, Larges Lane is currently enjoying its twilight years as there are hopes to move to a new 3,000 capacity stadium at Peacock Farm. In the meantime it remains a modest yet perfectly adequate example of a Home Counties Non League ground.

I actually located it quite easily (unusual for me!) but first-time visitors are strongly advised to consult the directions on the official club website. DB