Clevedon Town FC
The Hand Stadium
The Hand Stadium
Ground Number: 852
Saturday 20th April 2019
Clevedon Town 1-2 Hallen
Western League Premier Division
CLEVEDON TOWN FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was established in 1880 when they were known as Clevedon FC. They were founder members of the Western League in 1892, though at the time it was known as the Bristol & District League. Two 5th places were achieved in their first two seasons, but they dropped back down to lower league football after finishing bottom in 1895. Further spells in the Western League followed between 1910-1914 and 1945-1958, finishes ranging from 5th in the top tier in 1948 to 17th (second bottom) in the second tier in 1958. Clevedon would return permanently in 1974, being renamed as Clevedon Town a few years later. They would remain in the top tier for the entirety of this stay, finishing as runners-up in 1992 and then winning the league undefeated the following season, a great way to celebrate moving into their current ground. Promotion to the Southern League followed with a credible 5th place finish in the second tier Midland Division in 1994. They'd go on to win the title in 1999, then enjoy their best ever finish at the turn of the Millenium as they finished 8th in the then step 2 Southern Premier. Despite this, Clevedon Town were relegated the following season. After bouncing back as champions in 2006, they enjoyed four further seasons in the Southern Premier, though all the finishes were around halfway or below. Since returning to Division 1 South & West in 2010, finishes were disappointing and the club resigned from the Southern League, returning to the Western League in 2015. Since returning, finishes have again been mediocre. Prior to the game, they sat 6th which would be their best finish since returning.
Clevedon Town's best ever run in the FA Cup came in 2006 when they beat Truro City, Willand Rovers, Hitchin Town and Welling United, prior to a 4-1 home defeat to Chester City. The FA Trophy 2nd Round was reached on two occasions as was the Quarter Final of the FA Vase in 1988 where the team lost 2-0 at Sudbury Town. Local cup wins include the Southern League Cup (2012), Somerset Premier Cup (four times), Somerset Senior Cup (four times), Somerset Junior Cup (1898), Somerset Medal Competition (1888) and Clevedon Charity Cup (twice). The club has had a number of players that had played in the Football League for the Bristol clubs with the current manager being former Bristol City, Wycombe Wanderers and Northampton player Mickey Bell. The town of Clevedon has a population of just over 21,000 and is the birthplace of England and Stoke City keeper Jack Butland.
With me confirmed as going to Thursday and Friday evenings games on the Hellenic League Hop, I needed a couple of games during the day as I'd already visited Longlevens and Lydney Town. Disappointingly, there was only really one candidate for the standard 3PM kick off around the Bristol area, though at least it was a good one in Clevedon Town. The only issue was that I'd be missing the start of the game, thanks to my previous game at Roman Glass St George starting at 1PM. I was hoping to only miss around 10 minutes of the game but in the end, I ended up missing the entire first half. Things didn't start well with the game at Roman Glass St George finishing at 2:57 thanks to the referee dragging his heels. There was the then usual Bank Holiday traffic chaos which added another half hour to the journey. At least I was able to listen to the first half of the Wycombe game on 630 AM, though it did get a bit of interference, understandable given that the transmitter was about 150 miles away.
I was forced to take the back route because of traffic on the M5 and this according to Google this saved me 10 minutes. I arrived at half time, just hearing the whistle as I was walking to the ground after parking up. I went in through the open gate, just in front of which was the club shop where I was told by the friendly club man the nature of the goals which were down to defensive errors, the score standing at 1-1. I bought a pen for £1.50, then popped to the bar to see what they did. I bought a can of local Natch Cider at £3, a tad more expensive than I'm used to, but it was nice, so I didn't mind, especially seeing as it's not widely available. I then got sausage and chips from this tea bar, this was freshly cooked and good value for £2.50. Sadly the game wasn't up to much. Hallen had Jack Mills sent off on 75 minutes for a second yellow card but they still managed to net the winner seven minutes later when after a foul in the area, Aaron Angling successfully converted his spot kick.
The HAND STADIUM is an excellent venue for step 5 and could easily be used as high as the Conference South. There's a 300 seater covered stand and a 1000 capacity covered terrace along either side with the rest of the ground being open and holding 3,500. There's a club shop at the ground, this has a decent range of merchandise as well as old programmes. The tea bar offers a good range of food whilst the bar also has a decent choice, albeit in bottles and cans. There's not a lot around the ground, so it's good that the facilities are good.