Cressing Road is a football stadium in Braintree, Essex, and the home ground of Braintree Town, and their reserve side. It currently has a capacity of 4,151.

Cressing Road
LocationBraintree, Essex, England
Coordinates51°52′31.16″N 0°34′22.64″E / 51.8753222°N 0.5729556°E / 51.8753222; 0.5729556Coordinates: 51°52′31.16″N 0°34′22.64″E / 51.8753222°N 0.5729556°E / 51.8753222; 0.5729556
Capacity4,151 (553 seated)
Record attendance6,000 (football)
8,000 (non-football)
SurfaceGrass
Opened1923
Tenants
Braintree Town
Braintree Town Reserves

HistoryEdit

The stadium was built as a general sports ground by the Crittall Windows Company, the parent company of the club, then known as Crittall Athletic.[1] It was opened in 1923 by the fourth annual Crittall Sports and Show, which had previously taken place the club's old ground on Panfield Lane, with an attendance of 6,000. At the time the ground had a cinder track a quarter of a mile long.

The first football match was played on 15 September 1923, with Crittall beating Great Leighs 4–0.[1] A 400-seat grandstand was opened in December 1924 and the ground became the regular venue for the Essex Junior Cup, with a record football crowd of 6,000 attending for the 1926 final between Rayleigh Athletic and Saffron Walden. This was equalled in the 1928 final between Leigh Ramblers and Wimpole Road Wesleyans and an Essex Senior Cup semi-final between Chelmsford and Colchester Town in 1931. A non-football record of 8,000 was set for the Crittall Sport and Show in 1926.

A second grandstand was opened during the 1932–33 season. A record attendance for the home club was set during the 1935–36 season when 4,000 watched an Essex Senior Cup match against Barking;[2] this was equalled on 8 May 1952 when they played Tottenham Hotspur in a friendly, with Spurs winning 8–1.[1] Floodlights were installed in 1967 and inaugurated with a friendly match against West Ham.[3] Greyhound racing also began to be held at the ground in the same year.

In the mid-1970s the ground had fallen into a state of disrepair and the club was forced to play at other venues for a time due to problems with the pitch.[1] Half of the main stand was removed in the early 1970s and in January 1974 the rest of the stand which was badly damaged in a storm.[4] With the ground being in such poor condition the club had to play at alternative venues These included Heybridge Swifts' Scraley Road (a single match on 26 April 1975 arranged at such short notice that many fans arrived at Cressing Road for the match and only 50 attended the game), Braintree Rugby Club's Tabor Avenue (at the start of the 1975–76 season) and the Courtaulds Sports Ground in Church Street in Bocking (a single match against Gorleston on 6 September 1975 with a crowd of 73).[1] However, after winning the Eastern Counties League in 1983–84 the club began to upgrade the ground, building a new 292-seat grandstand at the end of the 1980s.

Current formatEdit

The ground currently consists of four stands:

  • Main Stand, a 553-seat covered stand with uncovered terrace on either side with a capacity of 735.[5]
  • Clubhouse End, an 803-capacity uncovered terrace.
  • Quag End, with a 761-capacity terrace (of which 357 is covered)
  • Cressing Road side, a 1,296-capacity terrace (of which 862 is covered).

Greyhound racingEdit

Greyhound racing took place around the pitch from 1967 until an unknown date.[6][7] The racing was independent (not affiliated to the sports governing body the National Greyhound Racing Club). As a result, it was known as a flapping track, a nickname given to independent tracks.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Blakeman, M (2010) The Official History of the Eastern Counties Football League 1935-2010, Volume II ISBN 978-1-908037-02-2
  2. ^ Iron 2018: The Braintree Town Football Club Annual, Queensway Publishing, 2017, pp12–13
  3. ^ Braintree Town Pyramid Passion
  4. ^ Jon Weaver (2005) The Football Grounds of Rural Essex, pp8–10
  5. ^ All about the Cressing Road Stadium, home of Braintree Town FC Braintree Town FC
  6. ^ Furby, R (1968). Independent Greyhound Racing. New Dominion House. p. 88.
  7. ^ "OS Plan 1976". Old Maps.
  8. ^ "Braintree tracks". Greyhound Racing Times.