Saturday 13th October 2013
Staffordshire County League Division One (step eight)
Vodafone Stoke 0 Hanley Town (reserves) 2 HT: 0-1 Att: 60 (headcount)
from Leek Road
This game reminded me why it’s a mistake to venture too low in the football pyramid. I normally stick to grounds with floodlights, above county league level, but this venue had interested me for some time, and was just down the road. It used to be home to an old Staffs County team called Milton United and is still referred to as the Old Milton United Ground. It was of interest mainly because it didn’t seem possible to fit a football ground in between the shops on Leek Road and the housing estate behind. When someone told me it still had a stand, my curiosity couldn’t hold out any longer. I’d tried to get a free look at it before now, without the inconvenience of having to watch Staffs County League football, but it is inaccessible except on matchdays. The only way to see it was to attend a game there…unfortunately, as it turned out.
Last season two new teams emerged in the Staffs County League. What’s peculiar is that one of them was AFC Milton, presumably a reincarnation of Milton United; but rather than taking up the old ground, they played at the promiscuous Northwood Stadium, home to many a vagrant Staffs County side over the years. It was Vodafone Stoke who took up residence behind the Mane Street hairdressers, on a little unadopted stub of a road, off the main Leek Road. Vodafone had got promoted in their first season so now were in the middle step eight division. AFC Milton, meanwhile, folded after just one season.
The opponents on this day were Hanley Town Reserves.
The entrance to the ground is behind one goal and accessed by ascending some steps, next to the changing facilites. Milton Primary School forms the boundary up the left side, where their one bit of cover was. A crescent road on an estate frames the top with trees framing the right hand side.
The game was appalling, barely worth the free entry with Hanley reserves scoring in each half to bookend some atrocious football.