Somerton Park

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Somerton Park
Somerton Park, Newport - geograph-1225331.jpg
1st plays 4th in the third tier at Somerton Park
(Newport County vs Oxford United, 12 September 1981)
Location Cromwell Road, Newport
Owner demolished
Operator W.R. Lysaght's Works Committee and Newport City Council (both former)
Capacity 25,000
Construction
Opened 1912, reopened 1990
Closed 1989, and 1992
Demolished 1993
Tenants
Newport County A.F.C.
Newport Wasps
Greyhound racing

Somerton Park was a football, greyhound and speedway stadium in Newport, South Wales. In April 1912 Newport County had been accepted to play in the Southern League for the 1912–13 season. Shortly afterwards, the site for the ground was obtained by the Club's chairman Bert Moss. On 17 November 1932, the first greyhound meeting took place at the stadium.

The stadium was nearly sold for housing in June 1919, but it was bought and transferred to a committee of employees from the John Lysaght's steel works. It remained the home of Newport County through many reformations until the club went bankrupt on 27 February 1989. County's 77 years at the stadium had brought many highs and lows, the most notable being the Welsh Cup and Fourth Division promotion triumph in 1980 and the European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final appearance in 1981, but the final few years brought the trauma of two successive relegations which saw the club lose its Football League status after 68 years, and finally go out of business on 27 February 1989. County were members of the Football Conference that season but their bankruptcy saw them expelled from that league for being unable to fulfill their fixtures.[1]

The club was again reformed within four months and began the 1989–90 season as a Hellenic League side. The new club's first season was spent in Moreton-in-Marsh, followed by two seasons at Somerton Park, the next two seasons were played in Gloucester before finally settling at the newly built Newport Stadium for the 1994–95 season, where the club played their home matches until moving to Rodney Parade in 2012. By 1993 Somerton Park had finally been redeveloped as a housing estate.

The stadium's record attendance was 24,268 for a Football League Third Division South match between County and arch-rivals Cardiff City on 16 October 1937.

The stadium was home to the Newport Wasps speedway team between 1964 and 1977, attracting some the biggest names in the sport. The tight track meant that turf had to be brought on to make the corner flag area for football matches and removed once the match had finished.

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Coordinates: 51°35′0.97″N 2°57′54.52″W / 51.5836028°N 2.9651444°W / 51.5836028; -2.9651444