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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

St. Margaretsbury FC

The Recreation Ground
Station Road
Stanstead St. Margarets
Nr. Ware
Herts

Telephone: 01920 870473

Website

Nickname: The Bury

Three views of the new playing area

The original wooden stand

St. Margaretsbury is yet another Hertfordshire club with a long pedigree. Founded in 1894 as Stanstead Abbotts FC, the club originally had their home at Mill Field in Stanstead Abbotts. In 1962 however they moved to their present location, St Margaretsbury Recreation Ground, one of the conditions being they change their name to St Margaretsbury FC.

The Croft family were the previous owners of the ground and agreed the sale to three parishes, Stanstead Abbotts, Great Amwell and St Margarets, providing that it was used for sporting and recreation purposes. It was also a condition that the ground should be known as St Margaretsbury Recreation Ground.  St Margaretsbury Cricket Club has used the ground since 1946 and in 1962 the St Margaretsbury Tennis Club was founded.

After a spell of 44 continuous years in the Herts Senior County League the 1st XI became members of the London Spartan League, Premier Division for the start of the 1992/93 season, finishing in a very creditable 6th place. Three years later, in 1995/96, the Bury lifted the Premier Division Championship.

Over recent years there has been major redevelopment of the Recreation Ground with the conversion of the training area to a full size pitch suitable for FA Cup competition. This resulted in a complement of two senior pitches and one junior. The previous playing area was shared with the cricket club, meaning that it was only railed off on three sides, with the dressing rooms and clubhouse some distance away. There were no floodlights, but the simple wooden stand was still standing at the time of my visit in 2004.

The new pitch is much closer to the clubhouse and has a grass bank along the near touchline. On top are two seated stands side by side, giving a good view and with a combined capacity of sixty. The two dugouts are on the same touchline, at the foot of the bank.

In 2002 grants from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and the Local Authority facilitated various improvements such as major drainage works on the main playing surface, an extension to the covered seating area, fencing for the enclosure of the playing and spectator areas and the installation of a PA System.

History adapted from the official club website.

Ground details
Capacity: 1,000
Seats: 60
Floodlights: Yes

Directions
Take the Harlow/Chlemsford exit from the A10 to the A414. Take the B181 at the Amwell roundabout afrter about 300 yards towards Stanstead Abotts. The ground is about 400 yards on the right.

By rail
St. Margaretsbury (BR) 300 yards.