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