City Ground (Cambridge)
|Full name||City Ground|
|Capacity||2,300 (500 Seated & 220 Covered)|
|Cambridge City F.C.|
The City Ground was Cambridge City's home ground from 29 April 1922 until 27 April 2013. It is located in the Chesterton area of the city, approximately 1 km north of the city centre.
In the first game at the ground, Cambridge Town, as the club were then named, played Merton Town. The ground was one of the largest outside the Football League and was estimated to have a capacity in excess of 20,000, although the highest recorded attendance was 12,058 against Leytonstone in 1961. From the late 1960s the ground was used for greyhound racing, and crowds were often higher than for football matches. However, dwindling gates and crippling debts led to part of the site being sold for development in 1985. The ground was demolished and a much smaller but functional ground was built in its place, at 90° to the former ground, with the remainder of the site being developed for offices. The club had a bar and lounge which is open on match days, and was available for hire to the general public.
The ground itself had a capacity of 2,300. The Main Stand, together with its extension (built to house the Cambridgeshire FA) seats approximately 500 people. Opposite the Main Stand, a narrow terrace provided covered terracing for approximately 220 supporters. The middle section was popularly, though not officially, known as "The Shed" and attracted City's more vocal supporters. At each end of the ground, the School End and the Westbrook End were narrow and had no cover or formal terracing.
The ground, which was sold by a previous Board of Directors for £2.2 million despite professional estimates of the site's value being around £12 million. The landlords, Isle of Man company Ross River, which is linked to former City Director and property developer Brian York, gave City a lease to stay at Milton Road only until 31 May 2007, but the club fought this. After several months a High Court ruling stated that "the club is entitled to rescind the [sale of the land] - having been induced to make it by a fraudulent misrepresentation for which Ross River are responsible". The consequence of this is that City were able to stay at the City ground until 2013, and can share in 50% of future profits from development of the site.
In April 2008 the City Ground failed an FA ground inspection. As a consequence Cambridge City were automatically demoted from the Conference South to the Southern League Premier Division, despite the club appealing against the decision.
The club have been involved in negotiations to move to a new Community Stadium on the edge of the city, which they could potentially share with local football rivals Cambridge United and/or Cambridge rugby union football club, but in late 2012, it was announced that club president Len Satchell had purchased 35 acres of land in Sawston, with a view to building a 3,000 capacity stadium, along with community facilities for Sawston and the surrounding villages. As of April 2013, this project is going through public consultation.
A three-year groundshare with Newmarket Town F.C. was arranged so that Cambridge City would play their home games at Jockeys Cricket Field Road ground in Newmarket for the 2010-2011 season, but an extension to the lease at Milton Road meant that the move was never made. Once confirmation had been made City would need to vacate Milton Road at the end of the 2012–13 season the club agreed a two-year ground share with Histon from the start of the 2013–14 season.
On 27 April 2013, with City having missed the play offs of the Southern League Premier Division, they played their last match at Milton Road, playing host to Redditch United. The day was marked with various events, including over 30 former players being in attendance at the game. A crowd of 814 saw former City player Adrian Cambridge score the only goal of the game to ensure City ended their stay at Milton Road with a win.
- Zac Barrett
- Tom Pepper
- Will Lawton
- Dave Theobald
- Lee Chaffey
- Robbie Nightingale (C)
- Luke Allen
- Adrian Cambridge
- George Darling
- Adam Marriott
- Ieuan Lewis
- David Prada - Replaced Lee Chaffey after 12 minutes
- Craig Calver
- Ashley Fuller - Replaced George Darling after 65 minutes
- Miles Smith - Replaced Tom Pepper after 8 minutes
Greyhound Racing started at Milton Road in 6 October 1968 after a track was constructed around the football pitch. The racing was independent (unaffiliated to a governing body) and was known as the Cambridge City Greyhound Stadium. The first racing took place on Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 7.30pm on a circumference of 400 yards with a 'McGee Outside' hare. Distances were 260, 460 and 660 yards on an all grass track.
In 1974 the management decided to become National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC) affiliated but the association only lasted five months before promoter Laurie Boost quoted increased costs had forced the track to revert to their independent status. During 1978 the decision was made to race under NGRC rules for a second time which would result in a considerable sequence of successes for the track that had only just switched from being an independent. Racing would take place every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evening with trials sessions held on Thursday afternoons. The switch to NGRC rules resulted in the track being resurfaced and restaurant facilities being made available to the public. A strong group of trainers became attached to the track and the first race under the new rules was on 24 November with the Racing Manager being J.Foster.
The trainer arriving included Pat Mullins the 1978 English Greyhound Derby winning trainer and he brought success to Cambridge when he won the Scottish Greyhound Derby with Greenville Boy in 1979. Lacca Champion nearly achieved a remarkable double when finishing runner up in the 1979 Greyhound Derby. Also in 1979 a newcomer called Sport Promoter reared by Pat and his wife Linda Mullins broke the track record over 400m at Cambridge in his first race and went on to win the Romford Puppy Cup and Juvenile. The George Morrow trained Northway Point won the Scurry Gold Cup and highly respected trainer Joe Cobbold joined the training ranks.
Sport Promoter was awarded the title of Greyhound of the Year and trainer Pat Mullins also became the Trainer of the Year in 1980 but in 1981 Pat Mullins died, his wife Linda would take over the kennels. Joe Cobbold claimed the 1981 Trainer of the Year and the latest training recruit Natalie Savva then went on to win the Puppy Derby with Special Account. The track was recognised by the industry after receiving Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service (BAGS) contract in 1982. The golden period came to an end in 1983 when Cambridge had their NGRC licence cancelled and they reverted once again to independent status but this forced the leading trainers to leave.
In 1984 planning permission was given for a £10 million redevelopment scheme for the ground. The pitch, greyhound track and stands were demolished and replaced by a three-storey block of research and development buildings with an underground car park and the football pitch was moved slightly north-west and turned 90 degrees. The last meeting was held on 14 April 1984.
- "Cambridge City FC". www.pyramidpassion.co.uk. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- High Court Success for City Archived 25 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine - from Non-League Daily, Retrieved on 21 September 2007.
- "Cambridge City fail in FA appeal". BBC Sport Online. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2008.
- Furby, R (1968). Independent Greyhound Racing. New Dominion House. p. 12.
- "Remember When - June". Greyhound Star.
- Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. p. 40. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
- Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. pp. 102, 204. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
- Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. pp. 204, 313. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
- Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. p. 413. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.