There’s a few non league teams who’s grounds have the capacity to hold more than some premier league stadiums. Many of these teams have dropped from the football league or just bizarrely play at big stadiums.
I thought I’d share some the largest grounds across non league football, giving some background and history on the clubs involved.
Prenton Park – 16,587 (Tranmere Rovers)
Home of Tranmere Rovers and Liverpool FC Reserve football teams Prenton Park was opened in 1912, then renovated in 1995 to reach it’s 16.587 capacity today. The highest ever crowd was 24,424 in the 1972 FA Cup tie with Stoke City.
Once a Football League One side not too many years ago, Tranmere now play in the National League with an average home attendance of 5173 this season as they look to get back into the football league through the playoffs.
Select Security Stadium – 13,310 (Widnes FC)
A bit of a strange one considering Cheshire based Widnes play in the North West Counties League Division One – the 10th tier of English football.
Obviously they aren’t the only team playing here as they share with many sports teams including: Widnes Vikings, Everton Ladies FC, Liverpool Ladies FC and Halton Spartans.
Widnes FC moved to the ground in 2012, playing their first home game against ‘Chester Nomads Reserves’ on the 1st September. The clubs highest attendance at the ground has recently been set as 462 spectators watched Widnes play Charnock Richard FC in April – this filled 3.5% of the stadium.
The pitch surface is also artificial grass, which many non league teams are opting for due to the financial benefits of the surface. This season has seen Widnes promoted as champions from the 10th tier and they will be playing in the North West Counties Premier Division in the 2017/18 season.
Gateshead International Stadium – 11,800 (Gateshead)
Gateshead share their all-seater stadium with a signature running track around the outside of the pitch which is used by Gateshead Harriers Athletic Club. The heed have an average attendance of 909 this season which fills just under 8% of the stadium.
The Gateshead International Stadium is the sixth largest in North East England and 3rd largest in Tyne and Wear; behind St James’ Park and the Stadium of Light.
The close proximity of larger teams in the area no doubt have an adverse affect on attendance figures as ‘The Tynesiders’ have the 4th lowest average attendance in the top tier of non league football.
Edgeley Park – 10,841 (Stockport County)
Originally built for now defunct rugby league club Stockport in 1901 Stockport County moved into Edgely Park a year later in 1902. The stadium on Hardcastle Road in Stockport is an all-seater stadium and is owned by Stockport Council who bought the ground for £2 million in 2015 to stop it being demolished and redeveloped.
English Premiership Rugby Union side Sale Sharks played in Stockport from 2003-2012 until moving into the newly built AJ Bell Stadium with Salford Red Devils.
Stockport are a sleeping giant in the 2nd step of non league football. The former football league team have struggled since being relegated from the Conference Premier in 2013; spending the past 4 seasons in the National League North.
They still manage to fill a third of their enormous 10,000 capacity stadium which is a great feat considering the amount of teams in the Manchester area including: Manchester United, Manchester City and Wigan Athletic.