By Chris Wright
The subject for this week’s instalment of Pies’ Around the Grounds series is a stadium incredibly close to my heart being as though, despite being a Forest fan, it’s actually the venue of the first ‘proper’ football game I ever attended: Notts County get turned over by the mighty Cambridge United in the third round of the Coca Cola Cup on a perishingly cold October night in 1992. The final the score was 2-3 to The U’s if memory serves.
Anyway, fuzzy nostalgia aside, Meadow Lane sits just a stone’s throw from The City Ground – if you could throw a stone 275 metres over the Trent, anyway – making them the closest pair of football grounds in the English professional game, though it’s the respective grounds of Dundee and Dundee United’s grounds that take the UK title as they’re practically built on top of each other.
Built in 1910 right on a vacant plot of land right next to the cattle market, County moved in later that same year (having previously played their home games at Trent Bridge cricket ground) with their first game coming against Forest: a 1-1 draw in front of a whopping 27,000 fans – though the record attendance is a gargantuan 47,310 for County’s 1955 FA Cup tie with York City, of all clubs.
These days the capacity is a steady 20,230 though it’s been a while since Meadow Lane was full, and the pitch usually looks like a bit of a dog’s dinner due to Nottingham Rugby Club having sub-let the ground since 2006.
Parts of Meadow Lane (mostly the Sneinton side) were bombed to smithereens during the Second World War and the ground fell into a dire state of disrepair during the 1970s, but it’s been re-jigged several times since then and, bar the fairly unwelcoming razor-fencing around the exposed corners of the ground, is now a perfectly pleasant Football League venue with a yawning tome’s worth of history to it…
Newspaper scan, showing the proximity of Meadow Lane, The City Ground, the River Trent and Trent Bridge cricket ground…
More in Pies’ Around The Grounds series…
Whaddon Road, Cheltenham Town
Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield
Sixfields Stadium, Northampton And Coventry…ish
City Ground, Nottingham Forest
Princes Park, Dartford FC’s Wooden Eco Stadium
The New Maracana, Rio De Janeiro
Griffin Park, Brentford
De Kuip, Feyenoord
Upton Park, West Ham
San Mames, Athletic Bilbao
FC Gspon’s Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium, The Highest Pitch In Europe
Valley Parade, Bradford City
Prenton Park, Tranmere
Wankdorf, Young Boys
Estadio Municipal, SC Braga
Home Park, Plymouth Argyle
Victoria Park, Hartlepool United
Bloomfield Road, Blackpool
Ninian Park, Cardiff City
Wankdorf Stadium, Young Boys
Portman Road, Ipswich Town
Recreation Ground, Aldershot
Saltergate, Former Home Of Chesterfield