Tuesday 22 April 2014

Consett - Belle View Stadium

Consett FC
Belle View Stadium
Delves Lane
County Durham

07710 133694
Official Website

Ground Number: 360
Sunday 20th April 2014
Consett 0-1 Durham City
Northern League Division 1


Consett FC was formed in 1899 under the name Consett Celtic. They played in local leagues until 1970 when they joined the Northern League. They are nicknamed the Steelmen, after the trade which dominated the town up until the early 1980s. They have reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup on 2 occasions, most recently in 1996 when they lost 4-0 to Mansfield Town. The money from that run was spent on improving the floodlights at the old ground. In 2008 they made the 5th Round of the FA Vase before losing an exciting battle 5-4 to current Ryman League side Merstham.  Since they joined the Northern League in the 1970's they have spent all but a few seasons in Division 1, finishing as runners up on 3 occasions, most recently in 2011. After dropping like a stone to finish 15th in 2012, they improved last season getting up to 9th. At the time of the game, they were on course to at least match, if not beat it.


I had initially visited Consett as a bonus when completing the 92 football grounds. As the distance was so far, I had decided to stay overnight and that meant that I could take in an extra game on Saturday. As it was one of Consett's games at their old ground, I decided to take in their entertaining 2-2 draw with Spennymoor. a decision that I was pleased I had made. So when the opportunity came up to see their new home on the Northern League Hop, I was quite pleased. For my second day of the Northern League groundhop, I had stayed over in South Shields. I woke up at 8am and had a shower and cleaned my teeth before going to try and find a shop that sold the Non-League Paper. While I was waiting to go out, I watched 'Friends Like These' on Challenge TV and it reminded me of the time when. I was in the studio audience. It was Ian Wright hosting at the time and I upset the producer of the show by chanting IAN WRIGHT WRIGHT WRIGHT when he came on at the start. I and the others who joined in were told that we were not at a football game!
In the end, I managed to get my paper at the 4th shop I tried, after around 30 minutes searching. I went back to my room for a bit before leaving for Consett at 10.45.

I got there just after 11.30, parking in a nearby side street before going to the ground. After going I, I went to the bar and got myself a pint of Woodpecker Cider before buying a scarf for £5 from the merchandise stall. I then went and got some gravy and chips as well as a Bovril from the tea bar. I met again with Stu and stood with Anders, who had come all the way from Norway for today's game. The first half was pretty good with Consett having the best of the opening period, but not really having any clear cut chances. The second half was a different story with Durham asking all the questions. It wasn't as open as the first half though. The deadlock was broken on 72 minutes when number 11 Fenwick rifled into the roof of the net from inside the area. That was it as far as goals went, and overall Durham deserved their win.


BELLE VIEW STADIUM replaced the clubs old Belle Vue ground which had plenty of character, with its grass banks and large stand. While the new ground is a bit bland in comparison, with just a couple of pre fabricated seated stands, it is at least quite neat and tidy. One thing that has improved is the facilities at the ground. Most notably the bar which is very nice and modern as opposed to the tired looking bar under the stand at the old ground. It has Woodpecker Cider (plus some good choices for beer drinkers), plenty of seating and Sky TV.

Elsewhere a small table for a club shop near the turnstile has turned into a larger facility in the bar with a better range, and the hut that was the tea bar still sells pretty much the same stuff, just in a new hatch. Another bonus is the 3G pitch which makes it a good choice for when the weather is dodgy, though another downside of the new ground is that it is further from the town, though not unwalkable by any stretch of the imagination. Overall I really enjoyed my visit here, and it's worth keeping in mind for the winter months if you want to see a game without fear of it being called off.

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