Bower Fold

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Bower Fold
Bower Field - geograph-1622372.jpg
Location Mottram Road,
Stalybridge,
Greater Manchester,
SK15 2RT
Owner Stalybridge Celtic
Operator Stalybridge Celtic
Surface Grass
Capacity
6,500 (1,200 seated)
Tenants
Stalybridge Celtic
FC United of Manchester (temporary)

Bower Fold is a football stadium in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, England and is the home ground of Stalybridge Celtic. The stadium is notable for being the only active ground in the country where the pitch faces a perfect north alignment, an honour the club shared with Chesterfield F.C. until their Saltergate stadium was closed in 2010. It also contains an Indian restaurant called "Bower Fold Spice" within the main stand.[1]

History[edit]

There has been a ground at Bower Fold since 1906. The current main stand was built in 1996, with the covered stand at the Town End (The Joe Jackson Stand) dating from 1994. The main stand, replaced a wooden one dating from 1909, which held 500 fans, before being converted to tip-up seating with a reduced capacity of around 400 persons. The Lord Pendry Stand opened in 2004, replacing a covered terrace dating from the 1950s. The Mottram End cover stems from construction starting in the 1970s and finishing in the mid '80s. The main stand, holding about 700 people, is all seated. Its opposite stand, The Lord Pendry stand has 652 seats.

It is possible for the ground to be segregated with self-contained areas which include separate turnstiles, refreshment facilities and toilets (though this is rarely necessary). The away fans' area in this case is uncovered. The next area (clockwise from the away fans' area) around the ground is the Lockwood and Greenwood stand which is a covered standing area. This area is popular with home fans when Stalybridge are kicking towards this goal. Next is an uncovered standing area, followed by the Lord Tom Pendry Stand (a seated area) with a capacity of approximately three hundred. Next is a small uncovered area followed by the covered Joe Jackson stand. The Club shop and bar are behind this stand. Away fans are allowed to use the bar and there is no admission charge. Next are the main turnstiles, refreshment facilities and disabled spectators' area.

Capacity[edit]

Capacity is currently 6,500 with 1,200 seats.[2] Recent attendances for Stalybridge Celtic have been well short of capacity, with average crowds in the 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons being around 500.[3]

FC United of Manchester have also used the ground for some home games since 2009 whenever Gigg Lane is unavailable, usually when Bury FC are scheduled to play a home game on the same day. FC United have generally exceeded Stalybridge's home attendances when they play at Bower Fold.[4]

The record attendance at Bower Fold stands at 10,400, though unofficial estimates range from 12,000 to 13,500.[5] This was achieved on 8 February 1921 when Dick Kerr Ladies beat a Rest of Lancashire XI 10-0. £600 was raised for the Ashton-under-Lyne Infirmary, which forms part of Tameside Hospital. Stalybridge Celtic's record attendance was achieved on 17 January 1923, against West Bromwich Albion. 9,753 spectators saw Stalybridge Celtic lose 2-0 in a F.A. Cup First Round Proper replay.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 53°28′31.13″N 2°02′37.91″W / 53.4753139°N 2.0438639°W / 53.4753139; -2.0438639