13 non league clubs have been listed by writer Michael Lee of PlanetFootball as the ‘absolutely perfect’ grounds to visit.
Football in the UK is not just a sport; it’s a tradition, it’s a passion, boasting rich history that goes back to some of the oldest stadiums in the country.
Attendances at non league particularly have risen in recent years with fans priced out or taken a disliking for what the Premier League or even the EFL has become.
And who can blame them, you can watch a game with a pint, stand right next to the dugout, and not have to deal with the malarky that is VAR, among many others reasons.
Ahead of the 2023/24 season, a list has emerged by PlanetFootball of grounds you should visit, catching fans’ attention..
There’s never a bad time to attend some non-league football, where the game is still at its most pure.
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) July 27, 2023
FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER
This semi-pro club based in Manchester play their football in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, which is the 7th tier of the English football league system, and play their home matches at Broadhurst Park.
It is covered on all sides, with standing and seating in the main stand and with a large and expansive home standing area behind the goal, with the purpose-built 4,400 capacity showing what can be achieved when football fans with a vision work together and make things happen.
Broadhurst Park is easy to get to, there is great food on offer, and it’s also a community facility, used every day by local people and will host a range of sporting and recreational activities with well-appointed function room and meeting spaces available for the local community, businesses and other organisations to hire.
Hastings United, formerly Hasting Town, are based in East Sussex, and currently play in the Isthmian League Premier Division and have played their home games at The Pilot Field since 1985, after the demise of the previous Hastings United, whose identity they took on following a name change in 2002.
There had been proposals for the club to give the Pilot Field a major upgrade which never came to fruition; with an idea of building a new stadium never going any further than minimal contact between Hastings Borough Council and the football club.
The Hastings United Independent Supporters Club hosts fundraising events for club in the clubhouse and Sports and Social Club, with regular quiz nights and parties. The club charges a membership fee to join and is run by a committee voted for by members.
Sheffield, who currently compete in the Northern Premier League Division One East, were founded in October 1857, with the club is recognised by FIFA as the oldest existing club still playing football in the world.
The ‘Tuffnells Home of Football Ground’ is the 11th different stadium they have played at since 1857, and has capacity of just over 2,000 with 250 seats in the stand behind the southern goal.
In March 2019, it was revealed that the club were in talks with the Sheffield Transport Sports Club (STSC) to move the club back to its home city after plans to move to the Olive Grove sports ground in the Heeley area of Sheffield fell through in 2016 and then in March 2021, plans for the new stadium based at the STSC facility in the Meadowhead area of Sheffield were revealed with a proposed 4,000 person capacity stadium featuring a heritage centre celebrating the city’s role in football history.
Clapton Community are based in Forest Gate, London, with their men’s team are currently members of the Eastern Counties League Division One South. Their women’s side a compete in the London and South East Women’s Regional Football League Division One North. Both teams now play at The Old Spotted Dog in Forest Gate.
The club was formed in January 2018 by disillusioned supporters of Clapton FC after what they deemed as mismanagement of the club by chairman Vince McBean.
Clapton CFC has shown that it is a home for everybody. Regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or class, you are welcome at Clapton CFC. The atmosphere is quite something also.
West Midlands based Stourbridge play in the Southern League Premier Division Central, at a ground with three sides, but it claimed to be ‘one of the most popular non-league away days in the country’.
It sits next to a cricket pavilion building, with a main stand as long as two-thirds of the length of one side of the ground, with an old, large, classic terrace behind one goal.
PlanetFootball praises it’s food on offer, as well as the size of the clubhouse with pubs nearby along a canal.
Crook Town are based in County Durham and are currently members of the Northern League Division One, playing at the much loved Sir Tom Cowie Millfield stadium.
It’s main stand gets high praise, as does its food.
Millfield, bought for £625 from a rugby club in 1898 and built out of colliery waste, has quite the atmospheric setting for football, with it grassed-over on two sides, and has uncovered terracing at the turnstile block end and a pair of corrugated-roofed stands.
Take a look on the next page of the others non league stadiums that fans are being urged to visit…