Castle Vale Stadium
Castle Vale Stadium
Ground Number: 811
Monday 29th October 2018
Romulus 0-1 Coventry Sphinx
Midland League Premier Division
ROMULUS FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was formed in 1979 and started out in Sunday football. In 1999 they made the step up to the Midland Combination, finishing as runners-up in Division 1 in their first season. That earned them promotion to the Premier Division which they won in 2004 after a series of excellent finishes. That year, they joined the Midland Alliance, finishing as runners-up to Lemington in 2007. That earned them promotion to the Southern League with Romulus placed in the Midland Division at step 4 of the non-league pyramid. They enjoyed three top half finishes, the best of which was 8th in 2010, the club's highest ever finish to date. They were transferred to the NPL Division 1 South the following season where results tailed off. There were a couple of near misses with relegation in 2012 and 2013 but finishes improved after that. That was until last season when they finished rock bottom and suffered the first relegation in the club's history. If there were hopes of a swift return, the club would have been disappointed with them sitting 15th at the time of the game.
Romulus' best progress in the FA Cup has been the 2nd Qualifying Round, a stage they have reached on four occasions - the latest of these coming this season as they put up a brave fight before losing 4-3 at Southern Premier side St Neots Town. The FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round was reached in 2013 with Hednesford Town halting their progress after victories over Mickleover Sports, Rainworth Miners Welfare and Hucknall Town. The FA Vase 3rd Round was reached in 2007 where Romulus lost to Billingham Synthonia after beating Shifnal Town and Oldbury United in earlier rounds. Local cup wins include the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup and the Midland Combination Cup in 2004 and the Terry Alden Memorial Cup in 2005. Romulus has developed a knack for developing players with Dean Sturridge, Luke Rodgers, Darius Vassell, Pablo Mills, Stefan Moore, Luke Moore and Zat Knight all going on to play professionally after starting out in the Roms youth side. The club was formed in Sutton Coldfield and for a long time groundshared at Sutton Coldfield FC. However, at the start of this season, they moved to the newly refurbished Castle Vale Stadium which is also home to Castle Vale JKS, members of the Midland League Division 3.
With me having a few days off work, I was keen to get to as many games as possible, especially if I could get other hoppers to help out with fuel costs. I'd just had an expensive weekend in Newcastle, with £140 added to my football costs for the season. Normally fellow hopper Chris and I's jaunts are restricted to Fridays owing to our commitments on other days, so this Monday represented a good opportunity to do a game. There was really only one option available at Romulus but this was within a reasonable distance and was one neither of us had done. The day of the game came and I hadn't had the best nights' sleep. I was already up at 6.30 when I got a message from work asking why I wasn't in. Luckily, I was able to check online and confirm that I did indeed have the time off as holiday. After getting dressed, I walked down town, getting some much-needed exercise before meeting my Dad for a lift back. After having lunch, watching some videos on YouTube and getting my things together, I left home at 3.20.
It was a decent journey to Chris with me getting to him an hour later. It was also a reasonable journey via the M1, M6 and M42 despite long stretches of roadworks and reroutes due to traffic. We got to our pre-match stop of The Bishop Vesey in Boldmere at 6 where we both had some fairly reasonable chicken strips and chips along with a pint. We left and it wasn't too far to the ground with us getting there at 6.50. They were putting out some decent tunes pre-match, but it was apparent that winter was upon us with a real chill in the air for the first time this season. There were a fair few hoppers in attendance, positive proof that if you have the imagination to deviate from the usual Saturday / Tuesday schedule, you will gain people that would be otherwise unoccupied. It also helped that entry was very well priced at £5 whilst a fairly standard programme was £2
The game started with chances at a premium, but the hosts were on top. Coventry Sphinx hit the bar just before the 20-minute mark, but there were no goals early on. The second half was a bit brighter and the visitors took the lead on the hour mark, Joel Grandison tapping home after a good sweeping move that by pure chance I got on camera. Romulus had a golden opportunity to equalise on 84 minutes when a penalty was awarded for a foul just inside the area. The visitors' keeper Tom Cross was the hero, diving right across the goal to save the spot kick and keep his side ahead. There was the odd chance for either side after, but in reality, Coventry Sphinx deserved the win. The referee didn't mess about and the game was over and we were away by 9.40. I dropped Chris off at 10.50, getting home myself an hour later. It had been a rare journey without a hitch and I even had time to type up my blog and sort my photos before I went to bed.
THE CASTLE VALE stadium is a pretty tidy setup, though there's just the one stand. This is a fairly smart one though with a few hundred seats. The rest of the ground is open hard standing. At the ground are a bar and a food hut, both look to have a decent range at good prices. There's plenty of parking and you are probably better off stopping en route as the area around the ground does not have the best reputation.