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TOP 10 Stadiums Too Big For Their Non League Club

In this article, we take a look at the top 10 stadiums which at one point in time were simply too big for their non league club.

Some tiers in semi professional football play in grounds that are far to big for them, some share with teams from other sports, whilst others build it to match ambition only to then fail in climbing the leagues.

Back in 2018, YouTube channel Non League YT (NLYT) rated and listed the top 10 based on percentage filled with their most recent attendance.

So without further ado, here is the Top 10 Stadiums Too Big For Their Non League Club…

10) HALIFAX

The Shay has been home to teams playing under the Halifax Town name since 1921, the original club up until 2008 and then the phoenix club ever since.

The capacity is set at 14,000 with 5,830 seats but for their average a few years back, it saw an average of 1,726 people, not bad for the National League level.

But when you compare that number with the ground size, it is only filled 12.3 percent. Should they get back in the football league, they’ve got a good opportunity to boost that much more especially with away fans filling the stands.

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9) GATESHEAD

National League North outfit Gateshead have played at the Gateshead International Stadium since 1977, which was when the club were formed.

Though it isn’t a popular away day for a lot of fans, due to the stands being so far away from the pitch because of the running track.

It detracts from the atmosphere and might be the reason why only around 800 were in the ground on average a few years ago.

Compared to the capacity of 11,800 all-seated, it sees the stadium only filled 7.3 percent.

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8) DARLINGTON

There was a time that saw Darlington play at the arena, which is an all-seater built in 2003 after leaving Feethams, with the ex-owner George Reynolds tipping the club for big things.

It has a capacity of 25,500 and is mainly used today by Darlington Mowden Park RFC, but also hosts concerts, drive-in cinema and fireworks events.

Nine years are the Quakers moved in, there was hardly any progress on the pitch, the high upkeep for the stadium played a part in Darlo’s demise, before the club were forced to go into the eighth tier.

They now play at Blackwell Meadows, which is just down the road from the arena, though should fans return to grounds again after the Covid pandemic, they have had the green light to move back in to help financially, whether this remains is to be seen.

Darlington averaged 1,500 to 2,000 when at the arena, which is only 6.8 percent full compared with the capacity figure.

 
 
 
 
 
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7) COVENTRY UNITED

Coventry United are a fair way down the non league pyramid, but groundshare with a rugby club and the ground is rather big for the football team.

Butts Part Arena has one impressive stand whilst the rest of stadium is rather meh and more Coventry United’s sort of level.

It’s been the Midlands League club’s stadium since being founded in 2013 but the ground was built in 2004 for the rugby team.

The main stand could sit up to 3,000 spectators with the ground’s capacity at 4,000, though with an average attendance of 250, they fill 5.6 percent of it, though it is a groundshare.

 
 
 
 
 
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6) LEIGH RMI

Back in 2009, Leigh RMI underwent massive changes at their stadium and changed their name to Leigh Genesis – and their stadium was a £17.5million new build lease sports village.

Initial capacity for it was 4,700 and had a sell out in their first game there in the 8th tier when they took on now EFL outfit Salford City.

After that, the capacity was increased, to 12,000, but the average crowd was just 400, so they filled just 3.3 percent of the stadium.

Because of this and with it too expensive to run, they moved out.

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5) HULL UNITED

Going back to 2015, Hull United were in a feud with previous owner Jamie Waltham, the former owner of North Ferriby United and when he was at the latter club, he tried to move them to Dene Park the other side of Hull, the opposite to what he did with Hull United.

Hull United were playing at Dene Park in 2015, but when Waltham left, he still owned the stadium but didn’t want the club to play there anymore, so quickly had to find them a new home, and that was Craven Park, home to Hull KR rugby team.

Despite being in the 11th tier, they had crowds of up to 300-400 at the stadium, which has a capacity of 12,225, giving them a 2.9 percentage filled.

 
 
 
 
 
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4) WAKEFIELD FC

They moved to Belle Vue, home of Wakefield Trinity rugby club, after AFC Emley moved to Wakefield in 2000.

The stadium had a capacity of 9,333 and the club stayed there until 2006, before then returning to the ground in 2012 for a final two-year stint before the team were wound up.

On their last season before going out of existence, they had a average attendance of 87, which is 0.93 percent full.

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3) MANCHESTER CENTRAL FC

They are a new club, founded in 2015, and played at the Manchester regional arena, they were an ambitious club, and chose this ground because it had suitable ground grading for higher levels.

It’s home to the Man City reserves and women’s team and Northwich Manchester Villa, playing there in the 2015/16 season.

Manchester Central were an 11th tier club and played at the 6,500 capacity stadium, but had on average less than 50, giving it a 0.077 filled.

2) WIDNES

It’s only recently made news that Widnes are to leave this ground, but Halton Stadium has been their home since 2012, a main ground for Widnes Vikings rugby club while also home to Liverpool and Everton ladies.

It’s capacity 13,350, and the eighth tier club had an average attendance of around less than 100, meaning only 0.75 of the stadium was full.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1) AFC VARNDEANIANS

It’s a well known ground, but not a lot of people know that this non league club play at what is Brighton & Hove Albion’s former home.

The Withdean Stadium has been AFC Varndeanians’s ground since 2015 and has been described as a mish mash of porter cabins and stands behind an athletics track. An odd ground with hardly an atmosphere.

It has a capacity of 8,850, but it sees just less than 50 people going through the turnstiles to watch it current tenants. Percent fill is 0.34. Quite a contract to when Brighton sold it out mostly every game before deciding they need a bigger ground and that is where they built the impressive Amex Stadium.

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Now you have seen the Top 10 Stadiums Too Big For Their Non League Club, which surprised you, which have you been to? Let us know on our socials.

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