Saturday, 29 January 2011

Buckingham Town

10 October 2009
Buckingham Town 2  Rushden & Higham United 1
United Counties League, Division One
Attendance: 49
View all photographs (33)

I was actually ‘on assignment’ for Groundtastic magazine, taking photographs of the redevelopment of the iconic Wolverton Park ground in Milton Keynes. However, the opportunity to visit Ford Meadow was too good to miss, as it had been a ground on my ‘hit-list’ for some time.

According to Kerry Miller’s ‘History of Non League Football Grounds’ a local Vicar, the Rev. Stewart, was instrumental in forming Buckingham Town Football Club, following a meeting in the White Hart Hotel in 1883. That same year the newly formed club began playing on an area of meadow close to the River Ouse, and has done so ever since.

Until WW2 and the construction of a stand and dressing rooms, the playing area was little more than a roped off pitch, with players usually changing in the New Inn nearby. The early 1960s saw the first floodlights, perched along a series of telegraph poles that had been acquired from Coventry City’s training ground.

Ford Meadow’s riverside setting means that it has always been liable to flooding, but it is a little gem, tucked away behind some garages on the outskirts of Buckingham.

In 1986 the club won promotion to the Southern League, where it spent eleven seasons alternating between the Southern and Midland Divisions, and it is evident from the facilities that the ground has staged a higher level of football in the past, with additional cover opposite the substantial main stand.

The official record attendance is 2,451 for a 1st Round FA Cup tie vs Leyton Orient in 1984, but sadly there was nowhere near that for the visit of Rushden & Higham in this United Counties Division One fixture. Those that were in attendance however, were treated to a cracking game as a very young Buckingham side (in red) won with a last gasp winner to collect maximum points.

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