The problem with Corby’s Rockingham Triangle Stadium is that it’s not their ground; and perhaps more importantly, certainly isn’t a football stadium. Whilst the club is not unique in that respect (Grantham being another example), one gets the impression that unlike the Gingerbreads, who worked closely with the local council, the Steelmen are less welcome tenants of the the facilities. Indeed in recent years there has been some uncertainty as to how long the club will be able to remain at the stadium.
Corby’s old Occupation Road home was sold for development in 1985, and the club moved to the then brand-new £800,000 council sports complex on the outskirts of town. As is often the case, the club failed to benefit from the move: losing a characterful ground with an official capacity of 14,000 (cover for some 6,000 on the terraces, and 600 seats), and gaining a soul-less multi-purpose arena out of town. Despite this, the stadium isn’t an unattractive venue, and is well screened from it’s surroundings by trees.
Rockingham Triangle Stadium was officially opened by Neil Kinnock on 6 September 1985 and is essentially an athletics stadium, where Corby also happen to play. Certainly, there are no obvious signs that the facilities are identified with the club.
The main - and indeed only - focal point is the large cantilevered stand, with accommodation for approaching 1,000 specatators. However, given that attendance for matches rarely tops three figures, this does little to help the atmosphere.
Despite the presence of the intervening running track, the stand does nevertheless provide a fine view of the action. Having said that, because of the tendancy for the prevailing wind and rain to blow straight into it, the vast majority of Corby’s small support prefer to stand at the back. As my two visits to the ground have both been on reasonably pleasant afternoons in April, I have yet to see the rather insignificant-looking floodlights in action, but I certainly wouldn’t like to be at Corby on a freezing November evening.
Corby’s clubhouse - the ‘Trackside Bar’ is housed about 100 yards way, to once side of the large car park in front of the stadium. Once upstairs it really isn’t that bad, with the walls decorated with an assortment of images of the club’s more prosperous times.
Early arrivals at Corby are advised to take a slight detour into the very attractive nearby village of Rockingham. The Sonde’s Arms pub serves a good pint and very good food - well worth a visit. Overlooking the village is Rockingham Castle, originally built on the orders of William the Conqueror. The castle was converted into a private residence in the 16th century, before being badly damaged in the Civil War. It was restored once again and Charles Dickens wrote large portions of “Bleak House” during frequent stays at the Castle. It is thought that the “Dedlock Arms” described in Dickens’ novel was based on the Sonde’s Arms.
From the A14 take Exit 7, and head for Oakham/Uppingham on the A6003 (dual carriageway). Stay on this road staright over two roundabouts. The ground is approx one mile ahead, opposite Rockingham Castle.
Kettering (BR) - bus to Corby town centre