Ground Nº 116 – King’s Park
Tuesday 10th Apr 2007
Midland Combination Premier Meir K.A. 6 Cadbury Athletic 0 HT: 2-0 Att: 29
Entrance: £4, Programme: £1, Coffee: 75p
This was my first Midlands Combination game. This league is a humble and unassuming little league that is unusual in that it starts at step six. 12 of the other 14 step six leagues are just the second division of the step five version. Promotees would most likely enter the solitary Midland Alliance at step five.
Meir K.A. (Kings Arms) FC are quite a new club, founded in the year I was born, 1972. They are one of two non-league sides at this level or above in the city of Stoke-on-Trent; the other being Norton Utd of the North West Counties League division two. The suburb of Meir is far to the south of the city, with the ground being a good mile further south still, off a country lane in a very nice rural setting. They are by far the northern-most team in the league; most of the others are from the Birmingham-Coventry environs.
Meir came in to this league in 1992 after winning the Staffordshire Senior League. The 1996/7 season proved to be their best, finishing as runners-up. Today’s visitors, Cadbury Athletic, from the King’s Norton area of Birmingham are an even more recent phenomenon, having been founded in 1994 by a former employer of Cadbury’s. Their website is in Cadbury chocolate colours and has a little java ad of alternating chocolate bars that makes you want to pop up the shop. Their kit was a purple and white affair reminiscent of Dairy Milk. It makes you wonder whether sales of chocolate soar when they play.
Tonight, though, there were to be no Cadbury’s Heroes. Despite a promising start it turned out to be no picnic as they flaked out to a 6-0 defeat. Meir had had a bad run of late, losing about six on the trot, but they came good tonight and their second half performance, particularly, was outstanding. Their fourth goal was a beauty, a sweetly struck half volley from 25 yards lobbing the keeper
It’s a shame there were only 29 to witness it. Well, the official attendance was 29 but I counted more – maybe they were staff. Crowds in this division generally seem very poor, some less than 20 and a triple figure crowd is a rarity.
As I mentioned the ground is in a lovely rural setting with evergreen trees framing the long side near the road, which has a six foot uneven grass bank to stand atop to get the best view of the game.
This was actually a shot I took a while back, after happening upon the ground. This next is from the game in mention and shows the dugouts on the same side:
I’m sure Meir need to check the Lux-age on their lights, because even with all six lights on, at times following the ball was like following a willo-the-wisp bobbing about on marshland. I don’t often submerge myself below the waters of step four so maybe it’s just that there is more illuminatory license given at this level. It did remind me of those long summer evenings as a kid, when you don’t want to stop playing football (despite having played for several hours), but the light is getting so bad you’re bumping into lampposts and kicking tree stumps, and are thus reluctantly forced to call it a day.
There was a covered stand behind the goal where you come in, a double decker of seats, at a guess I’d say 180.
This was before kick-off:
…and this was at half time. I think my flash provided more illumination than their lights.
Both this stand and the covered bit of terrace, two steps worth of paving slabs, had unusually low roofs. I’m a molecule above 5’10” inches and my hair brushed the roofs of both.
The other behind-the-goal end was just the perimeter bar as you might expect from a team of Meir’s size.
The final pic is of the club house, which was a very fine and cosy place to get a pie and pint, or a tea and coffee. I partook of both the latter, and after Nantwich, was just grateful that they were potable, never mind anything else. At 75p the coffee was a tad steep compared to similar venues, but it was at least what it was advertised to be. In front of the clubhouse are some more covered seats, the four furthest left being the ‘press box’. (roughly 16 in total). To the right of the picture is a ladder leading up to the ‘Hospitality Suite’. Yes, that’s what it said on the sign. A hut with a bird’s eye view of the gents, directly beneath. It does make you wonder about the cheap seats.
I had a really good evening at King’s Park, and the football was much better than I envisaged before the game. Cadbury will feel hard done by losing by six, as in the first twenty minutes they looked the likelier to score and the slightly better team. Meir did play some great football later on, though, and scored some good goals. The programme wasn’t bad either and I was lucky enough to pick up the last one.
I went home to devour a Dairy Milk while Cadbury Athletic left with Creme Egg on their faces.