Recreation Ground (Aldershot)

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The Electrical Services Stadium
The Rec
Recreation Ground - 1 - geograph-992787.jpg
Location High Street,
Aldershot, Hampshire
Opened 1927
Owner Rushmoor Borough Council
Operator Aldershot Town Football Club
Capacity 7,100 (2000 Seated)
East Bank: 4,180
North Stand: 1,540
South Stand: 880
South West Terrace: 500
Field size 117 x 76 yards

Football has been played at The Recreation Ground in Aldershot since 1927 when Aldershot (later reformed as Aldershot Town) was founded. The ground hosted League football between 1932 and 1992 when Aldershot were members of the football league. Its current tenants Aldershot Town have used the ground since forming in 1992 and the ground has once again hosted league football between 2008 and 2013.

The ground currently has a capacity of 7,100, though the record attendance at the ground is 19,138, recorded when Aldershot played Carlisle United on 28 January 1970 in an FA Cup replay. The ground is affectionately known as 'The Rec' though for sponsorship reasons its official name is now The Electrical Services Stadium.[1] As of November 2011, Aldershot have entered a competition between several clubs to win £100,000 to refurbish their toilet facilities at the Recreation Ground and are actively seeking votes from supporters. [2]

Current capacity[edit]

Main entrance to the EBB Stadium

The capacity of the ground was reduced at the end of the 2007-2008 season to 7,100.[3] This includes a total away allocation of 1,100 of which around 250 is seated.[4] The capacity was previously set at 7,500, however promotion to the Football League meant changes were introduced which resulted in the capacity being reduced.[5]

Approximate capacity breakdown:

  • South Side: 1,380
  • East Bank: 4,180
  • North Stand: 1,540
  • High Street End: 0

Total: 7,100

History[edit]

The Recreation Ground in 1982

Aldershot F.C. era[edit]

Aldershot F.C. adopted the "Rec" as their home ground upon formation in December 1926. The Recreation Ground was owned by the local council and situated on Aldershot High Street. The first stand, the south stand, was opened at the beginning of the 1929-1930 season and still remains today. A crowd of 3,522 witnessed the shots record a 2-1 victory over Norwich City on the day of its opening.[6]The club's last game there was in the Football League Fourth Division against Lincoln City on 14 March 1992 - 11 days before their demise. However, one more competitive game did follow for the club - against Cardiff City, also in the league, at Ninian Park.[7]

Aldershot Town F.C. era[edit]

After the demise of Aldershot F.C., The Recreation Ground remained without any tenants. Aldershot Town were formed soon after and consequently chose to adopt the Recreation Ground as their home.

Club attendances from 1992 to 2009[edit]

Average Attendances since 1992.[8][9]

Season League Highest Attendance Lowest Attendance Average Attendance Rank Season on season Increase
1992-93 Isthmian League Third Division 2873 1493 2076 1st N/A
1993-94 Isthmian League Second Division 3301 1259 1891 1st -8.9%
1994-95 Isthmian League First Division 2920 1459 1853 1st -2.0%
1995-96 Isthmian League First Division 2141 1180 1643 1st -15.3%
1996-97 Isthmian League First Division 2232 1285 1652 1st +5.2%
1997-98 Isthmian League First Division 4289 1122 2249 1st +20.7%
1998-99 Isthmian League Premier Division 2798 1207 1995 1st +0.1%
1999-00 Isthmian League Premier Division 5518 1336 2070 1st +3.7%
2000-01 Isthmian League Premier Division 3197 1218 1973 1st -4.7%
2001-02 Isthmian League Premier Division 2630 1505 1902 1st -3.6%
2002-03 Isthmian League Premier Division 3419 1694 2067 1st +4.4%
2003-04 Football Conference 4637 2412 3303 4th +66.4%
2004-05 Football Conference 4458 1923 3043 4th -7.9%
2005-06 Football Conference 3136 1645 2294 5th -24.6%
2006-07 Football Conference 3621 1734 2360 5th +2.9%
2007-08 Football Conference 5980 1779 3074 5th +30.3%
2008-09 League Two 5023 2090 3276 16th +6.6%

Record attendances[edit]

The following table summarises the top 10 attendances at the recreation ground for Aldershot Town, since reformation in 1992).[10]

Attendance Versus Competition
7500 Brighton & Hove Albion FA Cup
7044 Manchester United Football League Cup
6870 Woking FA Cup
6617 Carlisle United Conference National Play-off semi-final
6379 Hereford United Conference National Play-off semi-final
5980 Weymouth Conference National
5961 Farnborough Town Hampshire Senior Cup
5791 Burton Albion Conference National
5524 Woking FA Trophy
5518 Farnborough Town Isthmian League Premier Division

Facilities[edit]

North Stand[edit]

This is the main stand of the Recreation Ground running along one side of the pitch.[11] It houses players changing rooms and the clubs directors box and media center. Adjoined to the North stand is the club offices which were used by both Aldershot F.C. and Aldershot Town F.C. directors. There is also a conference room and bar adjacent to the offices and behind the North stand which was built in the early 2000s. Originally it was used as a bar for supporters on matchdays until the club acquired the Black Bull Inn during the 2007-2008 season. As a result it is mainly used for corporate hospitality.[12]

The stand itself features a combination of terracing and seating:

  • To the East of the stand is a large terraced area.
  • To the West of the Stand is a large terraced area with a disabled bay.
  • In the centre of the stand is a large seated area, directors' area and media centre. Originally this was terraced before gradually seating replaced the terracing. However one small area to the West of the central area is still terraced and has yet to face conversion to seating.[13][14]

East Bank[edit]

The East Bank is the largest stand of the Recreation Ground capable of holding several thousand fans. The design of the stand is unusual as it is not like most stands that have a flat roof, instead the stand roof is a barrel-shaped roof towards the rear, with a flat roof covering the lower parts of the East Bank. This is so because the East Bank originally had just the barrel shaped roof and it wasn't until later that a front flat roof was put on to cover the lower half of the East Bank.[15]

South Stand[edit]

The South Stand viewed from the East Bank

The South Stand is the only all-seated stand at the ground, accommodating both home and away fans. The stand is the oldest at the ground, having been opened in the late 1920s shortly after Aldershot F.C. was formed. It has remained fairly untouched over the past 70 years, although an increase in ground safety regulations (especially after the Taylor report has meant that some minor work has been carried out in order for the stand to remain in use.

Either side of the stand are open terraces. Of which one is used by home fans - the south west terrace (known amongst fans as "The Slab") - and the other used by away fans.

High Street End[edit]

Due to Football League regulations the High Street end is no longer accessible for supporters on match days. However, provision can be made for expanded capacity, as it was for the League Cup tie with Manchester United on 25 October 2011, where an extra 200 fans were allowed access, hence bringing capacity up to 7,300.

Other uses[edit]

Records[edit]

Aldershot Town and the Recreation Ground hold the following attendance records in certain leagues or cup competitions.[19]

League or Cup competition Attendance Opponent
Isthmian League Division 1 4289 Berkhamsted Town
Isthmian League Division 2 3301 Newbury Town
Isthmian League Division 3 2873 Collier Row
FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round 2003 Rothwell Town
FA Vase Preliminary Round 1701 Gosport Borough
FA Vase 5th Round 3420 Wimborne Town
FA Vase 6th Round 4439 Atherton Laburnum Rovers

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Statement From Aldershot Town Football Club". Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  2. ^ "Aldershot to win £100,000". bestloosers. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Information For Supporters At The EBB Stadium". Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  4. ^ "The EBB Stadium at The Recreation Ground". Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  5. ^ "Aldershot Town". Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  6. ^ "Aldershot F.C. History 1920s". Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Past seasons". Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  9. ^ "Archive Index". Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  10. ^ "ShotsWeb: Shots Stats". 2007-12-04. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  11. ^ "North (Main) Stand". Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  12. ^ "Chief Execuetive Speaks". Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  13. ^ "Shotstalk". Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  14. ^ "The EBB Stadium at The Recreation Ground_Admission Prices (non-all ticket games)". Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  15. ^ "Football Ground Guide: Aldershot Town". Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  16. ^ "Reading F.C. Home Fixtures to played at the Recreation Ground". Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  17. ^ "International football at the Rec". Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  18. ^ "Army at the Rec". Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  19. ^ "ShotsWeb: Shots Stats". Retrieved 2008-08-26. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°14′54.19″N 0°45′17.24″W / 51.2483861°N 0.7547889°W / 51.2483861; -0.7547889