It almost feels disingenuous to include St James’, but seeing as this blog is run as a dictatorship, I’m calling the shots and putting it in, jumping the queue ahead of a whole host of clubs from the Premier League to far lower than this.
The main reason is that I’ve started something of a love affair with Alnwick Town. They recently advertised season tickets for the remainder of their Northern League Division Two campaign for £20 and as a fan of both football and a bargain, I snapped one up.
I’d not been to St James’ before and after two visits I’m still uncertain on it, although there’s no denying it has charm. You enter through a turnstile and straight into the club car park, which also serves as a hard standing area directly behind the goal too.
I’ve tried standing there once but bizarrely the view doesn’t seem brilliant, I think that’s down to my personal preference rather than anything else, the constant rain probably didn’t help matters.
Alongside one touchline is the clubhouse with a small area of covered standing, and behind the other goal is a covered stand with a bench in, but really it’s best to call it a terrace. Either way, it’s a unique structure that adds to the charm of the place.
If we’re talking about charm and character though, then we’ve definitely saved the best till last. Alongside the opposite touchline is a seated stand, made almost entirely out of wood and absolutely adorable.
Adorable seems the wrong word to use when describing a football ground, almost patronising, and I want to make it clear that I’m not. The amount of effort that must have gone into this is nothing short of incredible.
Hand painted seat numbers top it off so much that it doesn’t really matter if there are holes at the back and on the roof to let rain and wind and cold in, it’s as much a work of art as it is a piece of engineering/carpentry. Coupled with surely being one of the only grounds in the country which also houses a park bench to watch games from, I feel my £20 has been wisely invested.
Alnwick’s a long way to travel just to look at a football ground, so it’s not one I’d recommend a specific visit for, but if you do find yourself in the vicinity or with a desire to go you won’t be disappointed.