Saturday 31 December 2022

Airbus UK Broughton - The Airfield

Airbus UK Broughton FC
The Hollingsworth Group Stadium
The Airfield
Chester Road

Ground Number: 1143
Saturday 31st December 2022
Airbus UK Broughton 0-8 The New Saints
Cymru Premier


Formed in 1946, the club has known several different names as the ownership of the factory has changed over the years. Originally called Vickers-Armstrong, they have been named de Havillands, Hawker Siddeley, British Aerospace, and BAE Systems at various points in their history. They had their origins as the works team of the Airbus UK aerospace factory where the wings of the Airbus airliner are produced and are consequently nicknamed The Wingmakers. The club's early years were spent in the Chester & District League and the Wrexham area leagues. The club won the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division Two title in 1992. They then spent four years making steady improvements in Division One before being promoted to the Welsh National League Premier Division in 1996 when they were runners-up in Division One. They spent four years in the Premier Division before winning promotion to the Cymru Alliance in 2000. Again they spent four seasons in their new league before winning the title in 2004 to earn promotion to the top level of Welsh domestic football for the first time. To coincide with this promotion the club changed its name to Airbus UK then in 2007, Airbus UK Broughton. They would be long-time members of the Welsh Premier and although they struggled at first, they would soon find their feet. In 2013 & 2014 they finished as runners-up to The New Saints and then the following season, they were 3rd. The 2016/17 season saw a massive exodus of players and manager saw Airbus finish bottom of the league in 2017 and suffer relegation to the Cymru Alliance. They've become a bit of a yo-yo club since - too good for the Cymru North, but not good enough for the Cymru Premier.

Airbus UK reached the final of the Welsh Cup in 2016 They beat Bala Town 3-0 before overcoming Port Talbot Town 7-0 in a game played at Newtown. They lost the final 2-0 in a game played at Wrexham. They've played three seasons in the Europa League, losing to Latvian side Ventspils on away goals in 2013 before narrow defeats to Norwegian outfit Haugesund in 2014 and Lokomotiva of Croatia in 2015. Local cup honours include the Cymru Alliance League Cup in 2019. The club is based in Broughton home of course, to the aircraft factory and Hawarden Airport. It is located around five miles west of Chester and has a population of just under 6,000. The village shopping park is known as Broughton Shopping Park, where branches of major stores such as Tesco can be found, in addition to Cineworld IMAX and various restaurants. The village centre has a small collection of shops and the Offas Dyke Hotel on Broughton Hall Road. The ITV1 drama series Midsomer Murders has used Broughton as a filming location.


For my last game of 2022/23, there was very little choice for the second Saturday in succession. After Christmas Eve last week, it was the turn of New Year's Eve this week. Personally, I don't understand why so many leagues wasted a Saturday. Surely it would be better for players and volunteers to get the football done and then go out for the evening without worrying about playing the next day. It would be my last game for a few days as unlike some, I have to work every Bank Holiday. My original choice was a trip to Crowborough to see Jarvis Brook. It would have been a nice cheap day out on the train, had they not moved it to the previous Tuesday. My second choice was Storrington v Upper Beeding, either as a day out on the train or as part of a double to see Brighton Electricity as a revisit to the Withdean Stadium. In the end, I lost my second choice too. Thanks to the weather doing its worst, the Storrington match had been moved to Steyning Town which I visited in 2019. There were a few options on 3G, the best of which appeared to be Airbus UK v TNS. It was a long old trek but there was not much on. 

I was hoping for this. But all that was on offer was the 'Bobby Sands Special' with the tea bar shut, much to the chagrin of 374 hungry souls.

It was a mundane week although I was glad to be back at work after a lot of overindulgence over Christmas. It was especially galling to see people planning Bank Holiday doubles and trebles. A few years back, I'd have been joining them, but an enforced change in my contract meant I had to work them. I had a couple of drinks on Friday night to relax, but wasn't going too mad as I was trying to be sensible. I woke early before going back to sleep and getting up at 8.25. I had a shower, got dressed and had breakfast before leaving at 9.30, meeting Colin at my local bus stop. He was more bothered about getting back for his evening of board games than the game but he was good company and helped out with fuel. It was a decent journey up aside from the M42 closure which meant a diversion. We were at Tesco near the ground by 1. It was disappointing that they didn't have any Black Dragon cider and I'll have to wait until next week, when I'm off to Cwmbran, to stock up. It was useful to fill up with fuel though and at 141.9 it was a few pence a litre cheaper than back home. From there it was a short drive to the ground with us getting there at 1.30. I headed to the bar and had a pint of Strongbow to relax, a very well-priced £3.20. There was also a nice Cherry cake for £1.25. Entry was £8 but it was disappointing that neither the club shop or the tea bar were open as I'd been looking forward to both. Probably has something to do with the lack of volunteers due to the overrated New Year celebrations. I met a hopper from Stockport who read my blog. A Marlon Dingle lookalike but a really great person to talk to.
The two teams' form could not be more contrasting. Airbus had just one draw to their name, coming in an epic 4-4 against Newtown in September. They had won some games against lower league opposition - 3-0 at FC Queens Park and 2-1 against Trefelin BGC. They had lost the reverse fixture at Park Hall on Boxing Day by 7-0. The New Saints were top and unbeaten, winning 14 out of 17 games. The only time they had failed to win was with goalless draws at Newtown & Penybont and a 1-1 draw at Connah's Quay Nomads. It was not much of a surprise then when TNS took the lead on 8 minutes, an attack down the left finished off by Ryan Brobel. They hit the bar soon after and it looked as if it might be a long afternoon for the hosts. They did hold off until 16 minutes though, this time it was a low shot from the edge of the area by Brobel for his and his team's second. Dan Davies got the third with a similar shot two minutes later. Brobel completed his hat trick to make it 4-0 on 34 minutes. The goalkeeper had failed to gather a cross, the ball was headed back across the goal and the prolific marksman couldn't miss. On 40 minutes it was 5-0, Ashley Baker with a shot from a tight angle. On 42 minutes Airbus were reduced to ten men with George Peers getting a second yellow, the referee having no option with him lashing out after a late tackle. It was 6-0 on 44 minutes, Ben Clark profiting from a lack of marking to finish from around the penalty spot. The halftime break did nothing to quell the goal fest. It was 7-0 on 51 minutes, a drive from the edge of the area by Danny Redmond. A number of chances were spurned before the eighth on 67 minutes scored by Jake Canavan. The game died a death after that with Brobel withdrew and TNS taking their foot off the gas, not that they'd ever got out of second gear.

The mobile signal had also been unreliable, not uncommon in Wales. 41 had checked in on the Futbology app out of an attendance of 374. I was starving throughout the game and it was a real shame as I always like to spend at the ground if possible, especially when it's something decent. We headed back to the retail park and Mcdonald's to get something to eat. Colin was desperate to get home and had a bit of a sulk when I dared to eat before I drove rather than eating it on the way., He apologised after his customary sleep but it was all academic anyway as his mates blew him out, not wishing to spend New Year's Eve playing Monopoly. It would have been far nicer to break the journey halfway and have a curry, but it wasn't to be. We were back at Colin's for 8.15 as he prepared for an evening of watching Waterloo on BBC iPlayer. I was home by 8.30 and it was a few drinks whilst I typed my blog. The plan was to see in the New Year with the Lancashire Hotpots 'Hotpotsanny' celebration. However, it was to be a grim start to 2023 with two days of work whilst the vast majority of the world was enjoying themselves.


THE AIRFIELD (known under various names for sponsorship reasons is a smart venue. There are three seated stands with a total capacity of 520. The rest of the ground was open flat standing with a total capacity of 1,500. The club was really friendly although the lack of food (aside from a vending machine) and club shop was disappointing, especially as the directors were filling their faces inside. The bar, despite a lack of choice is a lovely place to have a drink and the prices are reasonable, with a decent range of snacks. Not far away is a retail park with a decent range of outlets. 

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Burton Park Wanderers & Kettering Town - Latimer Park

Burton Park Wanders FC
Kettering Town FC
Latimer Park
Polwell Lane
Burton Latimer
NN15 5PS

01536 217006
KT Twitter

Ground Number: 327

Tuesday 21st January 2014
Kettering Town 4-5 Redditch United
Red Insure Cup


The club was established in 1961 as Kettering Park Wanderers. They joined the second tier of the United Counties League around the start of the 1970s. Three years later, a move from Kettering to nearby Burton Latimer saw them change their name. The new identity bought about an 8th place finish, their best up until that point. However, they generally struggled and were relegated to Division 2 in 1978. A couple of seasons were spent there before the league was disbanded and they returned to Division 1. They hit form around 1987, a 4th place finish was achieved during the 1987/88 season was followed up with promotion the following season as they finished as runners-up to Ramsey Town. Just two seasons were spent in the United Counties Premier, this included their best finish of 17th in 1990, at the time, this league was equivalent to step 4. A bottom-place finish in 1991 saw relegation back to the United Counties D1. A 6th place finish in 1993 has been their best effort since, but they have been perennial strugglers. In 2021 saw them leave the United Counties League for the first time in 50 years to join the Spartan South Midlands League.

The club has not yet entered the FA Cup. They were due to do so in 2020 with a game streamed online on the BBC against AFC Sudbury. However, one of their players tested positive for Covid and they were forced to forfeit the game. It was the same reason that forced them to withdraw from the FA Vase just three months later. Embarking on their best-ever run, the luckless Wanderers had beaten Northampton ON Chenecks and Northampton Sileby Rangers on penalties in earlier rounds, both after 2-2 draws. They were forced to forfeit the 2nd Round tie against Norwich United as a result of another positive test. The club's record attendance of 284 came for a United Counties League game against Lutterworth Athletic in 2019. They won 4-0 and as part of the groundhop weekend attracted a crowd of 284 for the game.

Local side Kettering Town moved in around 2013. According to fellow groundhopper Laurence Reade's excellent blog, the landlord saw an opportunity to make more money. As a result, Burton Park Wanderers are now a secondary tenant at their own ground, albeit with a secure tenure and a much-improved venue. With a population of 7,500, Burton Latimer's claim to fame is that its the location of the Weetabix factory. Cricket is also played in the town with Burton Latimer Town which plays in Division 1 of the Northamptonshire Cricket League.  


For the third time this year, I'd be visiting a ground that I had never been to before, not even to take pictures, With regular trips to watch Wycombe in the past all over the country, I had stopped off at a whole load of grounds en route and so it was becoming ever rarer that I'd be seeing a ground for the first time when I went to see a game there. This would be the fourth Kettering Town 'home' ground in under 3 years. Up until 2011, the club was based at Rockingham Road, their home of 114 years. However former chairman Imran Ladak couldn't wait to get out of the ground, despite the lease on it still having time to run. They then moved to rivals Rushden & Diamonds' former home. The original tenants went bust and Kettering could have followed had they stayed there, such were the costs of upkeep. The club vacated the premises and moved to groundshare with local side Corby Town mid-season, staying there for around 6 months. Eventually, for the start of this season, they moved to another ground share, this time with Burton Park Wanderers, a team based in a part of Kettering called Burton Latimer. They have had to make some improvements to the ground, as the home team played at step 6 of non-league in the United Counties League Division 1. The criteria for stadia is much lower at this level, so it remains to be seen whether this will be a permanent groundshare, or indeed how long it will last. Rivals Rushden and Diamonds are doing much the same thing a division lower with Wellingborough Town, and that's a pretty good setup so it would be interesting to see what tonight's game would bring.

My first visit to see Kettering on their own patch was at Rockingham Road in October 1992. Kettering Town FC was suffering financial issues at the time, a scene that was to be repeated many times over the years. I remember them charging £1 (quite a lot of money at the time!) for a very thin programme which repeated the message about being in the brown stuff financially. Wycombe romped to a 4-0 win and I remember at the time thinking what a huge stand Kettering had, as it was only the 4th ground that I had visited. My other times watching Kettering consisted of 2 games during the 2 seasons I had watched Wycombe in the Conference. Firstly in March 1992, we beat them 1-0, thanks to a remarkable own goal from Paul Nichol which probably would have won the goal of the season had it been in the right net. Though this was part of a run of 8 successive Conference victories, the season was to end in tears as we lost out on goal difference to Colchester United for the title, despite getting 94 points from 42 games. The next season saw us win the league and trophy double and Kettering's 2-1 win at Adams Park was a rare blip in that season. I saw the Poppies play once more before tonight - last season they narrowly lost 2-1 to Leamington despite being on a poor run of form at the time and Leamington being on their way to promotion. I remember the Kettering keeper most from this game - he looked like Mr T from the A-Team!!

I had watched visitors Redditch United as recently as December 21st on their own ground. They were unlucky to lose to St Albans on that occasion. I had also seen them lose away to Arlesey, so neither side had the greatest of records when I was watching them. Both, however, had made good progress in this competition. Redditch had an amazing 6-4 victory at Stratford Town before beating Rugby Town 3-2 on their own ground. Kettering had won 5-0 at home to Daventry before travelling to Arlesey and winning 3-0. So plenty of goals and I was hoping for more of the same on the night. It would go to extra time and penalties in any case, so at least I would see some action.

I had actually been meaning to go to this game twice previously. But the rain and waterlogged pitches meant I went to Leiston and Hatfield instead. I was glad when it was finally confirmed as I needed this one to re-complete the Southern League Division 1 Central, having finished it last season before 3 new teams entered into the fray. I spent my day off from work chilling and planning a few more trips for the rest of the season. I left home at 4, picking up Anwar in Aylesbury at 4.30. We put Morrisons in Kettering, where we were planning to go for dinner, into the sat nav. The first part of the journey was fine, with not too much traffic apart from the usual in Milton Keynes. But when we hit Northamptonshire, it really clogged up with the A43 and A45 being especially rubbish. Even though they were dual carriageways they crawled along at a snail's pace for miles on end. We eventually got to Morrisons at 6.30 and went to the cafe. Usually, at lunchtime, the cafe is spot on, with freshly cooked food and a big menu. However I had to choose from a greatly reduced menu for the evening, and when it came the chips weren't particularly hot (only warm) and the burger though tasting OK was nowt to write home about. Still, it was only £3.50, and it filled a gap. It was just before 7 by the time we had finished dinner and as parking was supposed to be limited at the ground, we got on our way, arriving at 7.15. We took a quick look in the clubhouse, not much going on so we went into the ground. I picked up a programme and in between taking some pictures of the ground, I chatted with 2 groundhoppers off of Facebook. One of them I had met before, was Peter, the Southend fan. Also for the first time, I met Stephen, a Crewe fan. We discussed the best grounds we had been to and the ones that we planned to visit. It was getting quite cold now, so I resolved to get myself a Bovril if possible at half-time. I took my place along the side of the pitch for what would turn out to be an epic encounter, as described below There is also footage of the first goal that I got on my mobile.

15: Penalty to Kettering, smashed against the bar by Dubi Ogbonna but Andy Gooding followed up. This followed an extremely harsh and wrongful sending off for James Mutton whose accidental handball led to the penalty kick. (1-0)

18: Jermaine Hylton raced down the left and cut inside before finishing past the Kettering keeper, a decent goal created by the Redditch man's pace. (1-1)

27: A good break allowed Moreman to get in a cross that James Jepson headed in. (2-1)

34: Pretty much a replica of the first goal and Jermaine Hylton scored his and the visitors second. (2-2)


56: That man Hylton involved again, except this time he was the provider. His cross found Sterling James on the right whose shot went in off the left-hand post. (2-3)

57: Less than a minute later it was all square. Louis Hamilton sped down the right, crossed and Josh Moreman was there to fire home. (3-3)

59: Moreman's second and a great finish to turn the tie on it's head in double quick time (4-3)

69: Jermaine Hylton completes his hat trick as he evaded 2 Kettering tackles, before leaving himself with a simple chance (4-4)

77: Hylton was involved yet again as he set up Ashley Sammons, his cool left-foot finish past the Kettering keeper proving to be the winner (4-5)


It had turned out to be an amazing game with plenty of chances for either side. A draw probably would have been fair and myself and Anwar were praying for a draw so we could see the drama of a penalty shoot out. But it wasn't to be, it was a great way to finish the Southern Division 1 Central football-wise. They were also a friendly club and I chatted to a number of Kettering fans during the evening. Sadly it was time to get back to real life though. We left at about 9.50. The drive home was a lot quicker and I was back at Anwar's in Aylesbury by 10.55. A quick drive home saw me get back to mine just before 11.20, though I was still wide awake from the football so I didn't get to sleep till after 1, getting just 3 hours of sleep before I had to be up for work. As a footnote, things did not go as well in an equally exciting game for Wycombe, who played at Beaconsfield SYCOB in the Berks and Bucks Cup. Despite having 371 appearances for the Wycombe Wanderers first team between them, a Wycombe side who have started many times this season managed to lose on penalties after drawing 3-3. I'd had a premonition on the way home that it would be 4-2 on penalties as soon as we heard it had gone into extra time. Jon Barrie Bates, who will be 42 in April and who has hardly played the last few years even managed to get on the scoresheet, as Beaconsfield rotated their squad. Where we go from here is anyone's guess, as this season lurches from one crisis to another, certainly, the next 4 games will shape our season and we could have a real battle to stay up, being only 2 points above relegation at the time of writing.


27/12/22 - SSML D1

This revisit had been decided in the Rose & Crown in High Wycombe on 17th December. Colin had been exceptionally kind in getting me a Wycombe Wanderers drink cup and drawstring bag as a Christmas present. Or maybe a cynical ploy as he also got me my second pint of Old Rosie, by which time I was far more agreeable to a revisit, even offering the lift home for free. I'd originally intended on a new ground at Alcester but I could not turn down such kindness. Christmas Day feels like the longest day of the year and so it was a good time to research the history of Burton Park Wanderers. This, along with more booze made me really look forward to my revisit. It was unlikely however that I'd get a better game than the epic 4-5 from my last visit, although it would be nice to get some daytime pictures. Looking back at my old blog, I'd written a fair bit but I still wanted to give Burton Park Wanderers some recognition.

After a boozy Christmas Day, it was more of the same on Boxing Day. It was a happy and busy one, walking 13.5 miles and killing all the work off with excessive food and drink consumption. More importantly, Wycombe beat Bristol Rovers 2-1 after a dodgy start saw us go 1-0 down after 4 minutes.  Even so, I was looking forward to having a sober few days after all that overdoing it. The day of the game came and it was a relaxed morning, going out for a short walk before looking ahead to New Year's Eve with me having lost my original choice of Jarvis Brook due to them moving the game to today. I left at 11.45 in a bit of a rush after discovering that there were lots of issues on the roads. There were problems with the A413 due to HS2, and also the M25 and M1 had problems. This meant a real cross-country route meaning that the 60-mile journey took two hours. In my rush, I'd forgotten my bag but Colin was there waiting for me with a road of his to put in my car. Entry was a well-priced £5, a third of what Kettering charged.
 Burton Park Wanderers were 11th whilst their visitors Moulton were 9th, The hosts were in good form, indeed, they had won the SSML team of the month for November. Due to a couple of postponements, they'd not played since 3rd December. They had however won that game, beating London Tigers 2-0. They'd also won 3-0 at Buckingham Athletic, beaten Langford 3-0, Winslow United 4-1, and a 2-0 win at Rushden & Higham United. They'd also drawn 1-1 against Eaton Socon. Moulton had also had a long break and were in poor form. They'd lost their last game 4-1 at Amersham Town and had also lost 4-1 at Northampton Sileby Rangers, 3-1 against Langford, 3-2 at Buckingham Athletic and 2-1 to Real Bedford. They'd also drawn 1-1 against Northampton ON Chenecks and had bucked the trend with a 3-0 win at Rugby Borough. The game was end to end, Burton Park Wanderers have the first real chance, hitting the post after five minutes. Moulton started to take control and they took the lead on 27 minutes, a ball from the right and a low shot from Joe Evans. After 41 minutes, it was 2-0, an attack down the right, Luca Iaciofano cut in and finished confidently. The hosts came close with a series of corners but the ball wouldn't go in. After 49 minutes, the game was sealed, Moulton making it 3-0 with a cross-shot. The home keeper prevented a couple more goals with good saves. There was a bit of a tussle towards the end as Burton Park Wanderers strived for an equaliser but it was not to be.

The rain had been coming down at a fair old rate and the floodlights were needed due to the dull skies. It had been a good value day out at a friendly club. There were 108 there, including a decent few from Moulton who deserved the win. It was not as enjoyable as the goal-fest I saw time and this was exacerbated by another rotten journey. It was another cross-country trek, although we could see why, with the M1 at a crawl. Eventually, two hours after leaving, I dropped the luggage. From there, it was a better journey home and I was in by 6. Due to all the time I spent travelling and lots of photos, it took a while to do my blog. After that, I watched TV in bed ahead of my return to work the next day.

LATIMER PARK is the original home of Burton Park Wanderers, they play at step 6 of non-league, or level 10 of the English league system as a whole. The ground before Kettering was a decent one for this level, comprising of a small seated stand and a covered terrace behind the goal. Since Kettering arrived they have added a couple of new stands, interestingly one of which was at Ford Sports Daventry FC originally. This brings the seating capacity up to around 400, with at a guess another 300 under the cover behind the goal. The remaining 2 sides are uncovered and you can't even access the far side at this present time. The ground does have a very temporary feel to it, as Kettering's future here is uncertain. They are just glad to have a home in or near their town. The ground is probably average for this level and is surrounded by some nice greenery.

There wasn't much in the way of extra facilities on the night. There was no club shop that I could see, nor was there one mentioned on the website. The tea bar was closed too. There were hot pies and beef rolls on sale in the clubhouse, which had your average range of drinks. So it's probably best to eat and drink before you come. Even with that said, it was still a good day out with a friendly club and of course helped by a cracking game of football.


Since my last visit, quite a few changes had taken place. These were largely cosmetic along the two side stands but there were new stands behind each goal to comply with the required standards of the National League North. It was still a poor ground for step 2 through, but for the level Burton Park Wanderers play at, it was excellent. It was bit ramshackle but had plenty of charm. The revisit gave me a chance to check out the food and drink. It was a fairly small area and there wasn't a huge choice of hot food. The sausage roll was quite small for £2 but the pizza slice was by far the better of the two options, larger and only £1.50. There was also a decent range of snacks and drinks available. There was also a fair bit of parking and other food and drink places were nearby.