Winners announced for Best New Non League Ground and Non League Stand for 2019/20, which is hosted by Groundtastic every year.
This time around, there are two categories, something which hasn’t always been the case in previous years due to no new grounds or stands worthy of an award, according to magazine editor Vince Taylor.
— Vince Taylor (@Groundtastic) March 2, 2020
Isthmian League Premier Division side Horsham have won the Best New Non League Ground award due to their ‘fantastic new facilities at Hop Oast (or Camping World Community Stadium if you prefer the sponsorship name).
As written in the photo above: “Opened in July 2019, eleven years after Horsham left their previous permanent home ground at Queen Street, Hop Oast (or the Camping World Community Stadium, to give it it’s sponsored title) is not only a fine new stadium but also a testament to the club’s dogged determination to return to their home town.
“Hop Oast is located a mile and a half south of Horsham and is close to the main A24, making access easy for car drivers. On the opposite side of the road is the Hop Oast Park & Ride site, meaning parking is free and plentiful, as well as providing good bus links to the town centre.
“Pleasantly sited adjacent to a golf course and gym and next to Denne Park, an ancient deer park, Hop Oast boasts a fine clubhouse building constructed in the Sussex Barn Vernacular style to fit in with neighbouring properties. It has a hipped roof and a neat gable sporting the club badge at both the front and rear elevations. The building is elevated above pitch level behind one goal, providing an excellent viewing platform for spectators. There is also an overhang roof at one end giving some protection from the elements.
“The main seated area at Hop Oast is the 307-seat main stand, a Stadium Solutions effort that straddles the halfway line. Its predominantly green tip-up seats are broken up with a few yellow ones picking out the initials ‘HFC’. There are three other small covered areas within the ground: a small new metal terrace unit behind the far end goal; a prefabricated seated stand located towards the far end of one side; and another metal terrace sited nearer the clubhouse end on the side opposite the main stand. The latter two of these structures have been recycled from the club’s time sharing at Horsham YMCA’s Gorings Mead. The pitch is 3G and the stadium benefits from a set of bright LED floodlights. The thoughtful effort made to blend ground it in with its surroundings must be commended and it is to their credit that Horsham have, despite several setbacks, been able to build such a well-appointed new stadium. The Best New NL Ground Award will be presented the club in the next few weeks.”
National League side Bromley have won the best new Non League Stand for 2019/20.
Groundtastic have written in their latest issue: “Bromley were really on a hiding to nothing when they demolished the old Benches End at Hayes Lane. The famous old partially-covered end, with its propped roof and wooden benches, was a romantic’s vision of the kind of structure all football grounds should have. It simply oozed character and charm. However, with Bromley steadily making their way to the top of the non-league world, it became the sad but unavoidable victim of the need for more seats and better facilities.
— Vince Taylor (@Groundtastic) March 2, 2020
“What should also be mentioned is Bromley’s fantastic community football programme that boasts a healthy football academy and strong links with a nearby school. With the community scheme booming, extra facilities were desperately needed to ensure its survival and its ability to grow.
“By building a new stand on the former Benches End, Bromley have taken a huge step for-ward in making sure Hayes Lane is fit to host Football League matches, should promotion be achieved. Additionally, and no less importantly, the club have ensured that the community links built up in the last few years will now be able to thrive through the provision of an indoor sports hall, including academy facilities, in the rear portion of the stand.
The new stand, named after former club president Glyn Beverly, contains 1,485 seats in a single tier. It is covered a by a high roof with no support pillars, meaning a decent view for most of those seated within it. It has attracted some negative comments about the height of the roof, but as it is essentially an overhang from the sports hall behind, it is understandable that it should run across the seats at the same height as the sports hall.
“On the subject of negatives, the only other real criticism of the stand is that the front row
of seats is too low, meaning people sitting there, and in the disabled bays provided at
ground level, have their view of the pitch impeded by the perimeter rail of the pitch sur-
round. The whole deck could have been raised up a metre, alleviating any such issues.
That said, overall it has to be acknowledged that the new stand has taken Hayes Lane to
the next level; it is now a ground ready for the Football League. That the club have also
enhanced their community engagement, making provision for the future generation of
income and support through non-matchday use of the new facilities, the project has to be
judged a success. It is for these reasons we have selected the Glyn Beverly Stand as the
winner of this year’s Best New NL Stand Award.”
Now that the winners are announced for Best New Non League Ground and Non League Stand for 2019/20, what do you make of them? Have you ever been to these stadiums? Let us know on our Facebook page!
Founded in 1995, the Groundtastic magazine consists of 80 pages packed with articles, photos and news about League, Non-League, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Foreign football grounds. It is published in March, June, September and December.
The March 2020 edition is available to purchase now by clicking HERE.
Groundtastic is now available as a mobile device compatible digital magazine. Each new edition is available to view at www.joomag.com.
To celebrate their 100th issue, it is an extended 100 page edition packed with special features, including a profile of ace football ground photographer and archivist Bob Lilliman. http://groundtastic.co.uk
We’ll be hoping that their will be winners announced for two categories ‘Best New Non League Ground and Non League Stand’ this time next year.