BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

28 October 2014

BBC Homepage

Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Related BBC Sites


Contact Us

Ground of the week

You are in: London > Radio > The Non League Football Show > Ground of the week > Ground of the week: Brooklands

Non League Football Show

Ground of the week: Brooklands

This week Stuart Croll heads back to 1977, when Romford lost their home, Brooklands. Want to suggest a ground for Stuart to revisit? Email nonleague@bbc.co.uk

By Stuart Croll (NonLeagueToday)

There can be no argument that one of the most missed grounds in NonLeague football is Brooklands Stadium.

Brooklands was the home of Romford football club and the club played there from 1929 until April 1977.

Originally the land was shared with other sports such as hockey, cricket and even cheetah racing but just before the second world war the football part of the land became fully enclosed.

There was initially a small stand and banking was formed all around the pitch.
After the war a further area of cover opposite the stand went up. This was known as the clockside terrace for a very obvious reason.

The grass banking was large enough to accommodate a spectacular crowd of
18,237 when Southall visited for an FA Amateur Cup match in 1953.

The stadium's oval shape was similar to the original Hampden Park in Glasgow.
And the capacity was increased to 25,000 when the entire terracing was concreted over and a very impressive 1,500 all-seater stand was built.

This grandstand and floodlights rivalled many a football league club and underlined the ambitions of the club who sought election to the Football League.

As well as the excellent facilities inside the ground the stadium was located to the north of the town centre, with excellent transport links from the main railway station and close to the A12 eastern Avenue.

And to the east of the stadium was a large expanse of open land used as a car park Disappointingly for the ambitious club, Romford were beaten by Oxford United in the vote for a club to join the Fourth Division in 1962 and another bid for election to the Football League was dashed after they won the Southern League Championship in 1967.

With no return on their investment in the facilities at Brooklands, Romford Football Club was heavily in debt and losing £5,000 a year.

Another feature of the stadium was a very wide playing area and oval perimeter wall which meant Brooklands was ideally suited for Speedway and the Romford Bombers competed there for a number of years.

The addition of speedway meant a bridge was built for the bikes to reach the track from the pits and Romford Supporters called this the "Bridge over Troubled Supporters."

Despite this additional income Brooklands was living on borrowed time and with huge debts the club were forced to sell up in 1975.

The final game was played in April 1977 and the area is now housing.

When full there is little doubt that Brooklands had one of the best atmospheres in all of football never mind just NonLeague football but all that remains of the old ground today is the crumbling remains of the main gate.

last updated: 24/06/2008 at 10:17
created: 16/06/2008

You are in: London > Radio > The Non League Football Show > Ground of the week > Ground of the week: Brooklands

Podcast

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Podcast

[an error occurred while processing this directive]


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy