Seagraves Stadium (West Auckland Town)

The Seagraves is a mighty beast and not far off being the perfect ground for this level. Small, not perfectly formed, but wonderful fun.

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It’s tucked away behind a housing estate and the initial response is one of bewilderment. Immediately in front of you is room for standing along one of the touchlines, behind which is a load of cars parked alongside the pitch. And nothing behind the opposite goal either.

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However, every ounce of charm is packed into the other two sides of the ground. An impressively-sized uncovered terrace hogs the space behind the other goal and provides a decent place to watch a game from.

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Then, alongside the other goal line, two stands. One, a small covered standing area that doesn’t particularly impress. The other, their grandstand, is something else. Painted in club colours of black and yellow it’s a thing of beauty. Old enough to have plenty of character, but new enough to not block your view of anything.

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The players run out from under this stand too, which always makes a game feel fancy when they emerge from nowhere rather than wander out from a corner of the ground. Something the new non-league stadia would do well to remember. It doesn’t matter how lowly you are, football is still theatre.

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There’s a ridiculous slope on the Seagraves pitch but a warm welcome in the clubhouse which means I’d wholeheartedly recommend a day out in West Auckland if you need a football fix and it’s easy enough to peer over and around for the tourists amongst us too.

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