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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

Cambridge City FC

City Ground
Milton Road

Telephone: 01223 357973


Nickname: The Lilywhites

Just inside the turnstiles

Two more views of the main stand

Covered terracing on far side

Old Milton Road

Update to text below
Season 2006/07 really does look like the last at Milton Road. The County FA has relocated to Histon FC and the new owners of the ground have told the club that it has one more season before it is demolished for redevelopment. The club is now run by a Supporters’ Trust following the departure of most of the Directors near the end of the 2005/06 season, and now has a year to sort out a new home (June 2006).

If the club gets its way, Cambridge City’s Milton Road ground, and its impressive main stand are living on borrowed time. In 2003, the club announced its desire to sell the site for development in order to raise the necessary funds to clear debts of £700,000 and move to a new ground. The desire to move was made ever more acute in January 2004 when the club generated unwanted publicity as a result of visiting supporters being warned against making too much noise as a result of complaints from an old peoples’ home next door, and threats of action against the club by the local council.

As is often the case however, such things are never straightforward. As well as gaining planning permission for any development, there are several tenants on the site, as well as an access problem and a restrictive covenant on the land. It could be therefore that the ground still has a few more seasons left.

Ironically the current ground only opened in 1985, although just to complicate matters it is the second on the Milton Road site, albeit not in exactly the same position. The new City Ground in fact lies at right angles to its predecessor, on the site of the old training ground, with one goal encroaching onto what was the old pitch.

Cambridge Town, as they then were, formed in 1908 and played at a number of venues before finally purchasing the Milton Road site, with the original ground being opened on 29 April 1922. In 1950 the club was renamed Cambridge City, and made no less than four applications to join the Football League between 1959 and 1967, and another unsuccessful attempt in 1974. By then however, neighbours Cambridge United had already been accepted in 1970.

The ground hosted cycling and athletics meetings up until the late 1950s, and in 1967 introduced greyhound racing. By the mid-1980s however, the ground had deteriorated and the club seized the opportunity to demolish it and build a new ground on the same site, with finances raised from redevelopment. No doubt some older supporters are now experiencing a distinct feeling of deja vu!

During the 1984-85 season, whilst the new ground was being constructed, virtually all home fixtures were played away from home, with the exception of three at Cambridge United, Royston Town and Soham Town.

The ground is situated right in the middle of Cambridge and hidden behind the Westbrook Centre. Despite this however, it is not difficult to find if one follows the directions carefully. There is a large car park and a small concourse on the other side of the turnstiles where one can purchase the requisite matchday programmes, raffle tickets and hot food.

The main stand, which also houses the clubhouse is most impressive, and the seating is, as is often the case, reached via a number of staircases at its front. In recent years the seated capacity, which was actually quite modest considering the size of the stand, has been increased by extending the stand further towards the far goal. Unfortunately though, the design, although not unattractive by any means, is not in keeping with main body of the stand and in addition the roof is lower and set a different angle. The Directors are well catered for with a well-designed hospitality suite that overlooks the pitch, although the less said about the press box, which is tucked away right at the far end of the orginal stand, the better!

The remainder of the ground has shallow terracing, and although both ends are exposed to the elements, cover is provided on the far touchline. This is in the form of a rather ungainly arrangement of three covered shelters, with gaps provided to allow for floodlight pylons. The roof of one of the shelters is also at a slightly higher level.

Ground details
Capacity: 2,000
Cover: 1,400
Seats: 533
Floodlights: Yes.

From the north (A14): From the A14, follow signs for Cambridge A1307. This will take you down Huntingdon Road. Continue to follow this road until you reach a major traffic light controlled junction with a Texaco garage on your left. Turn left, and follow the road through the lights and into Victoria Road (A1134). Continue along this road going past a Chinese take-away (The Yumee) on your right and Blockbuster video shop on your left. At the bottom of this road you will reach a large roundabout (although it does not look like one) with a large shop on it (Staples). Enter and keep left and go past the Portland Arms Pub on your left. Carry on for 100yards and the entrance to the ground is on your left, opposite Tommy Tuckers take-away.

From the south (M11): Leave the M11 at Junction 13. At the top of the slip road turn right to head towards Cambridge on the A1303 Madingley Road. Continue on until you reach a mini round-a-bout, take the first exit into Northampton Street then across the lights into Chesterton Lane. At the end of this road you will come to a large Round-a-bout with a shop on it (Staples). Follow the road to the left and take the middle lane round to your right. On getting round the corner keep left and follow the road round past the Portland Arms Pub. 100yards on the left is the entrance to the ground opposite Tommy Tuckers take-away.

By rail & bus
The station is approximately 2.5 miles from the ground. There is a taxi rank outside the station as well as bus stops. Bus service Citi 1 runs between the station and Milton Road every ten minutes. To get from the station to Milton Road take Citi 1 destination "Arbury", while for the return journey take City 1 destination "Fulbourn".