Note Ewen Fields has played a significant part, not only in the history of Hyde United, founded in 1919; but also in that of a much older club – simply Hyde FC – founded in 1885, and perhaps best remembered for a 26-0 thrashing at the hands of Preston North End in a FA Cup tie at Deepdale two years later, still a record score for a competitive match in England. By this time the club was playing on a field close to the Bankfield Hotel, which may well have been where Ewen Fields is today.
In 1898, the club moved to Townend Street, and set up their headquarters at the Gardeners Pub in Lumm Road, then called Brick Lane. This was home until May 1906 when they amalgamated with a rival club, Hyde St. Georges, and began playing on their ground … Ewen Fields. By 1917 however, in the midst of the Great War, the club had folded, and Ewen Fields was no more than a vegetable patch to aid the war effort.
In 1919 a new club, Hyde United FC was formed and, with Ewen Fields earmarked for housing, initially played at Townend Street on condition that the owner be allowed to graze his cattle on the pitch. By the summer of 1920 however, the proposed development plans came to nothing and the club moved into Ewen Fields.
Dressing rooms and offices were soon in place, and in 1922 tons of ash was spread around the pitch to make it less muddy. Not long afterwards the first stand was erected on the Walker Lane side of the ground and survived until 1981. In 1928 it was joined by another larger neighbour with a capacity of 400, and built at a cost of £575. Prior to the 1930/31 season sleepers were put down for terracing on the Popular side, and the Mottram Road end was banked giving the ground an estimated capacity of 10,000.
Following a break between 1942-45 the club reformed, and developments continued during the 1950s, with two covered areas erected at the Tinker’s Passage end. A new social club was built in 1966 and at the end of 1968 a game against Manchester City officially opened the new £4,000 floodlights.
The 1970s saw the club unable to hold onto a place in the Northern Premier League and dropped down to the Cheshire League. In 1986 the Supporters’ Club, who had held the ground in trust, sold it to Tameside Council who had plans to convert the aging ground into a sport and leisure facility for the whole community. The Council not only re-christened the ground the “Tameside Leisure Park” but also installed a synthetic playing surface that was to remain until 1995.
The new Council ownership saw dramatic changes to the ground, not least the demolition of the old wooden stand (see bottom of page) that was replaced with the smart modern replacement (the Pennine Stand), subsequently extended, and set off by its unique roof finials and unusual slender floodlights. There is an older area of covered terrace adjacent, constructed at around the same time as a similar covered area behind one goal. Further newer covered terracing in in place opposite and along the Popular side of the ground. Despite the fact that developments have been relatively recent and the old ground pretty much destroyed, Ewen Fields remains a fine venue that has retained the character of a traditional football ground. DB