First impressions are often misleading, and there cannot be many Non League grounds where that is more true than Ram Meadow. The turnstiles are concealed within an ugly corrugated iron fence that runs the length of a large car park in the town centre. Beyond however, lies a well-kept and very attractive venue that is certainly one of the best in the Eastern Counties League - a legacy of two spells as a Southern League club: the most recent (1987-96) at Ram Meadow.
The club was formed in 1872 and was one of 11 founder members of the Suffolk County FA in 1885. Prior to changing its name to Bury Town, the club was known as Bury United, playing initially in the Norfolk and Suffolk League and then the Essex and Suffolk Border League.
Ram Meadow has only been home to the Club since 1976, when its original ground at King’s Road was lost to development. King’s Road was a well-appointed venue, and at one time boasted a grandstand, and covered terracing at both ends. In 1950 a crowd of approaching 5,000 saw the Blues take on King’s Lynn.
The Blues were founder members of the Eastern Counties League in 1935 but had to wait until 1963/64 to lift the Championship for the only time in their history. This success prompted the Club to join the Metropolitan League in 1964, winning the title in 1965/66 and 1968/69. The season saw them also reach the 1st Round proper of the FA Cup eventually losing to AFC Bournemouth in a replay after a 0-0 draw at King’s Road. In 1970/1 the Blues finished as runners-up in the League and were promoted to the Southern League, only to return to the Eastern Counties League in 1976/77.
The following year saw Bury move to Ram Meadow: the current ground record of over 2,500 being set for the visit of then Conference leaders Enfield in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup in 1986/87.
Bury Town rejoined the Southern League the following season and experienced mixed fortunes in the Southern Division. After a difficult period in the early 90s, the Club restructured in the spring of 1995 and officially became Bury Town Football Club (1995) Limited. The 1995/96 season saw the Blues accepting a transfer across to the Midland Division, but were relegated back to the Eastern Counties League.
It is a pleasure to find a ground at this level of the Non League Pyramid that provides covered accommodation on all four sides. The most immediate feature of Ram Meadow is the unusual main stand, with its rather deep wooden steps-cum-seats, and sharply angled roof supported by numerous pieces of timber. It is certainly out of the ordinary but presumably not the best place to be on a rainy day when the wind is blowing in the wrong direction!
Opposite, along the Riverside of the ground is a long low covered area, with the two dugouts immediately in front. This provides further seating in the form of two rows of benches. Two smaller covered areas of a similar design provide additional shelter behind each goal, albeit with several shallow steps of terrace for those who prefer to watch their football from a standing position.
If that wasn’t sufficient, the large clubhouse, which extends along the near touchline from the turnstiles to the stand, has an overhanging roof that provides additional respite from the elements.
Leave the A14 at the exit signed to central Bury St Edmunds. Once clear of the exit roundabout, follow the signs to Town Centre. Take the first exit at the next roundabout (after 300 yards) into Northgate Street. At the second set of traffic lights (T-Junction), turn left into Mustow Street and first left into Cotton Lane, past the Hawkes garage and the Drive Car Showroom. Carry on down to the bottom of Cotton Lane and turn right in the council car park. The ground is situated on the left hand side of the car park.
Further directions from other areas can be found on the official Bury Town website (above)