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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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BuiltWithNOF

Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Marlow FC

Alfred Davis Memorial Ground
Oak Tree Road
Marlow
Bucks SL7 3ED

Telephone: 01628 483970

Website

Nickname: The Blues

The wonderful main stand at Marlow

The Trinity End

The Green Verges touchline

Looking from the Oak Tree Road End

Alfred Davis Memorial

Update (January 2007) It would appear that developers North West Estates plc have detailed plans to relocate Marlow FC from the Alfred Davis Memorial Ground to an out-of-town site at Marlow Gravel Pits, adjacent to the Marlow bypass.

At ten acres, and featuring two other pitches, the new stadium would cover more than twice the area of the current ground, with a 500 seat grandstand housing dressing rooms and clubhouse/community facilities. Small covered terraces would also be built on the other three sides of the pitch. Plans are also apparently in hand for a new access road and a series of measures to lesson the environmental impact of the new stadium. Any changes are clearly some way off, but it is worrying that we may soon have to face up to the loss of yet another historic ground, no matter how impressive its replacement may turn out to be:

www.themarlowgoal.co.uk


A trip to Marlow represents an essential pilgrimage for most football grounds enthusiasts. The club is one of the oldest in existance: founded in 1870 as Great Marlow; one of the original 15 entrants to the FA Cup the following year, and the only club to have entered the competition in every year it has been held. And if that wasn’t enough, there is also the stand ...

In his book ‘The History of Non League Football Grounds’ Kerry Miller recounts how the club’s early years were spent at Aldermeadow, before moving to Crown Meadow in 1898, where they remained until 1914. At some point during this time, they purchased a massive ornate wooden pavilion from Southampton FC. The price was Ł100, on condition it was dismantled and transported by the club.

After WW1 Marlow were forced to move once more, to rather basic surroundings at Star Meadow. This was unsatisfactory and the club was demoted as a consequence - an early example of ground grading!

Demotion prompted the club’s Honorary Secretary Alfred Davis to appeal for funding which enabled the club to purchase the ground in Oak Tree Road. Davis contributed much of the funding himself but sadly did not live to see the ground opened in 1924. Quite properly the ground was named in his memory, and one of the walls on the front of the stand carries a very attractive ornate wrought iron memorial. Trees were also planted to commemorate the work of Davis in 1936.

The ground is somewhat tucked away in Oak Tree Road, just off the main road into Marlow itself. Parking is fairly limited unfortunately but is possible in the road, provided one takes care not to park across residents’ drives. Programmes are available from the turnstiles, with the changing rooms and additional toilet facilities adjacent. There is then an open area where refreshments are provided. The clubhouse is housed beneath the stand.

The splendid wooden stand, which attracts groundhoppers like moths to a flame, dates from 1930 and is a fine example of stand design of the period, with the dog tooth fascia particularly eye-catching and set off nicely by the club’s name picked out in blue lettering. A closer look at the stand, and particularly when looking upwards from the interior, reveals that the roof and and rear have since been replaced with weather resistant metal cladding. This is evident from looking from the side, but is not really noticeable and we must be thankful that the club have taken such positive steps to preserve such an important footballing landmark.  The seating, which is predominantly of the ‘saddle’ variety is reached by metal steps on the front of the stand and it goes without saying that the view is superb, notwithstanding the fact that, in common with similar stands of its era, the view is slightly obstructed by the sides.

Cover was erected on the Green Verges side, opposite the stand, in 1950. However, this was replaced in the 1990s by a more modern metal cladded covered area, set slightly back from the touchline. Grass banking extends from either side of the cover, and back around as far as the main stand. Further cover is provided at the far end of the ground (the Trinity End), added in 1991. Again this is of the ubiquitous metal cladded variety, but does provide the requisite cover from the elements.

Shallow concrete terracing was laid on all four sides of the ground in 1985, and today only the Oak Tree Road End remains exposed.

Ground details
Capacity: 3,000
Cover: 600
Seats: 250
Floodlights: Yes

Directions
From the M40 J4, or M4 J8/9 take the A404 to Marlow and then turn off on to the A4155 towards the town centre. Immediately after the ESSO garage on the right, turn right into Maple Rise, and shortly afterwards cross Wycombe Road into Oak Tree Road. The ground is situated 50 yards along Oak Tree Road on the left.

By rail
Half a mile from Marlow (BR).