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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

Windsor & Eton FC

Stag Meadow
St. Leonards Road
Windsor
Berkshire SL4 3DR

Telephone: 01753 860656

Website

Nickname: The Royalists

Stand and the near touchline

Behind the near goal

Behind the far goal

Covered terracing along far touchline

Two older views of Stag Meadow (circa 1994)

Windsor & Eton Temperance FC was formed on the 18 August 1892 by a merger of Windsor Phoenix and Windsor St. Albans. In 1893 the new club merged with Windsor Victoria and entered the first FA Amateur Cup. In 1902 the club was the subject of a take over, with the name being shortened as a consequence. Among prominent people connected with the club in this era was HRH Prince Christian. The royal patronage then continued with Kings George V and VI up to the present patron HRH The Duke of Edinburgh; hence the club nickname of 'The Royalists'.

The club moved to Stag Meadow in 1912 when the Royal Commission granted the club use of the field for a peppercorn rent, with free rein to expand at any time. What some clubs would give for a similar arrangement today! In the 1920s the first wooden grandstand was erected at the ground, meaning the players no longer had to change in neighbouring pubs.

The main focal point today is the fine pitched roof stand, dating from 1948, which remains in very good condition and replaced the original structure burned down in suspicious circumstances in 1943, during WW2. An earlier photograph (see left) clearly shows how the capacity was increased by replacing the original seats, and how a new perimeter fence improved the view from the touchline. As a consequence the stand is slightly unusual in that the seating now extends right down to the touchline. The older photograph also shows that there was formerly access from beneath the stand, where there were two small rooms. As always with designs of the period, the view is slightly obstructed by the sides.

Opposite the stand is an area of fairly basic cover with numerous supports, providing shelter along a shallow terrace of just four steps, set back slightly from the perimeter fence. This has gradually been extended and whilst it still does not run the full length of the touchline, does have a capacity of around 200. The current structure in fact succeeded an earlier covered shelter which was apparently blown down overnight whilst the cement was still setting! The terracing extends behind each end of the ground, neither of which is covered. Floodlights were finally erected in 1976 and commemorated by a visit from Ipswich Town.

Immediately inside the turnstiles, to the right is a small club shop and refreshment hut. The clubhouse and dressing rooms are housed in a fairly nondescript building set back on the far side of the stand. This dates from 1952/53 and has been extended since. There is limited car parking available behind the stand, and past the entrance to the ground. However, this is fairly limited and visitors are advised to arrive early in order to take advantage of this.

Situated on the edge of Windsor Great Park, Stag Meadow is sadly too far away from the castle to have the stunning historical backdrop of say, Arundel (Sussex County League) but is nevertheless well worth a visit for its own sake.

Ground details
Capacity: 4,500
Cover: 650
Seats: 450
Floodlights: Yes

Directions
Exit the M25 at J13. Follow the signs the Windsor (A308), eventually reaching a large roundabout. Take the first exit (signposted Ascot), and then shortly afterwards, the first turning on the right into Bolton Road. At the end of Bolton Road turn left at the T-junction into St. Leonards Road. The ground is signposted down a fairly narrow approach road on the left, just before the Stag & Hounds PH.

By rail
Windsor Central (BR) or Windsor Riverside (BR). About one mile from town centre.