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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

Ely City FC

The Unwin Ground, Downham Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire
Telephone: 01353 662035
Nickname: The Robins
Eastern Counties League

Note Ely City FC is the oldest senior club in Cambridgeshire, formed from the original members of a team called Ely St. Etheldreda Football and Cricket Club in about 1885. For over ninety years the club played at the wonderfully-named Paradise Ground but had to move in 1986 to one on the outskirts of Ely. The new ground was named the ‘Unwin Ground’ after former President Doug Unwin, who was inlvolved with the club from 1924-99. Extensive redevelopment of the ground took place during 1994, with the building of a new stand seating 200 people, with dressing rooms. This was also named after a long serving member of the club, Roger Pauley. Another long-serving individual to be so-honoured is Doug Cranwell, whom the club’s reception room is named after.

Apart from some smart dugouts on the far side, with the imposing cathedral on the horizon; all the facilities at the Unwin Ground are along the near touchline. It is a smart, well-kept venue, and spectators are rather spolit for choice with regards cover. The aforementioned Roger Pauley stand affords an elevated view and is sensibly set back a little to avoid obscuring the near touchline, although it is not an entirely unobstructed view from the rear of the stand, thanks to the side panels and other buildings. A little way along, to it’s left is a covered area, with wooden roof supports close to perimeter rail for those who prefer to stand and be closer to the action. An extension to the clubhouse provides further cover on the other side of the stand; whilst there is a another seated area right at the far end of the ground, of metal and timber construction. DB