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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

Truro City AFC

Treyew Road, Truro, Cornwall TR1 2TH
Telephone: 01872 278853
Nickname: City
Western League

Note Formed in 1889, Truro City are one of many clubs in the South West of the country with a long history. Founder members of the South Western League in 1951, Truro were ever present but for three seasons in the Cornwall Combination during the mid 1970s. The club lifted the championship on five occasions and enjoyed their greatest successes during the 1990s, winning three titles, finishing runners-up once, and third three times. After finishing as runners-up for a second time in 2005/06, the club took the opportunity to move up the Pyramid into the Western League.

Much of the club’s recent momentum has coincided with the arrival of Chairman Kevin Heaney, a local property developer, who took over the club in November 2004, having previously moved to Cornwall in 2000, and has set about investing heavily in facilities at Treyew Road that enabled the club to take promotion, having previously been “on its knees with [seemingly] little or no hope for the future”.

Truro City’s Treyew Road ground is not much younger than the club, and has been in use, albeit moved slightly, for over a century - dating from 1898.  These days it doubles (or should that be trebles) as a Park & Ride facility at weekends, and as a lorry park during the week.

Unfortunately some of the ground’s features were lost in the mid 1970s when the pitch was moved forwards as a result of a Council road-widening scheme. This development coincided with the club’s only previous period outside of the SW League since the latter’s formation, and spelt the end for a covered terrace that originally stood behind the town goal. However, levelling of the pitch did create some grass banking - something that no Cornish ground should really be without!

At the time of my original visit the summer of 2004, the only cover was a rather modest concrete and corrugated metal construction, with just 20 seats. Situated towards the clubhouse end of the ground, where a grandstand dating from the early part of last century originally stood, it has since been refurbished, including the addition of a smart fascia sporting the club name. Further along is a new seated stand of the modular Arena Seating variety, with around 250 seats in the new club colours. The erection of the stand has meant that the home dugout, that originally stood on this side of the pitch (and was rather smarter than its counterpart on the opposite touchline) had to be demolished. Two new dugouts now stand on the far side of the pitch.

In addition to new floodlights (the originals installed in 1986, with Oxford United providing the opposition to switch them on) and hard standing all around, the pitch has also been re-laid and raised about five feet. I haven’t yet visited the ground since these recent developments but I can only hope that one of its most endearing features has not been lost in the process. The touchline opposite the stand was previously a delight (to me, if not necessarily to grading inspectors), thanks to the presence of a couple of rather incongrous (and rather flimsy) crush barriers, and the provision of a number of charming little wooden benches scattered along the summit. One almost expected a troop of pixies or elves to take up position shortly before kick off.

The original clubhouse and dressing rooms at the Treyew Road end of the ground were opened with a celebration game against Spurs on 3 May 1978. In February 1982 the area was dedicated to the memory of Keith A Soloman: ‘A great sporting footballer who died at Sheffield United FC’ exactly one year earlier. The clubhouse was refurbished, only to be severely damaged through an electrical fire in August 2005. By Christmas however, it had been reopened.

There are further plans for an ambitious £8 million Sports Academy planned at Kenwyn, a 40 acre site in Truro, to be ready in time for the start of the 2008/09 season. The cost of the new facility will probably run into circa £8 million. If it can maintain this current rate of progress, Truro City very much looks a club to keep an eye on. DB

Treyew Road pictured in 2004 (above), and the same touchline two years later, below...

Below: Two 2004 views of the far touchline before the recent developments