Date: Tuesday October 27th 2009
Ground: Brinsford Stadium
Comp: West Midlands Regional Premier League
Match: Wolverhampton Casuals 2 Dudley Sports 2 HT: 2-1 ATT: c45
Additional: Entrance £3, Programme £1.00, Coffee/Tea £0.60
Brinsford Stadium in pictures
This was my first ever West Midlands Regional Premier League game. Their Premier division sits at step six of the non-league pyramid, rather like the Midland Combination. It is comprised of a lot of Birmingham based clubs with a few outshoots in Shropshire and Herefordshire. Promotion from this division is into the Midland Alliance.
Wolverhampton Casuals play at the Brinsford Stadium, just off the A449 at Coven’s Heath. It is a very easy ground to find, but be careful to slow down in time on the fast A449, to make the turning into Brinsford Lane. I overshot it and had to turn at the next two roundabouts for another attempt on the dual carriageway.
Wolverhampton Casuals, known as the Cassies, were founded in 1899 and have been playing in their present league since 1982. They only came back to Brinsford Lane in Coven Heath in 1998-99, when floodlights were installed. In the past they have been known as Wolverhampton Old Church and Wolverhampton Amateurs. Their opponents tonight were Dudley Sports, founded 1979. Both teams were languishing in mid-table.
There is parking in the ground with payment being made through one’s wound down window. I’m coming to realise quite a few grounds at this level are drive-thru. There is just about enough parking for their needs but come a local derby or exciting cup match cars may have to spill outside into the country lanes somewhere.
They have a really fine set-up with a full size training pitch next door, the clubhouse, changing rooms and snack bars separating the main ground from the spare pitch. Also, and this struck me as quite surreal, a deluxe caravan that was fully furnished and had the light on as I walked past. Who lives there?
The ground was very basic. The only structure being the tiny covered stand that held just about the minimum 50 required for step six football.
Everybody stood on this side, which was also where the snack bar and large drinks bar were. I was, in the second half, literally the only person in a different part of the ground. The attendance was between 40-50. This was a head count as the WM Reg Prem division website does not record attendances and goalscorers, which is quite disappointing.
The whole ground is surrounded by trees which gives it a good enclosed feel, but aside from the small stand, the perimeter bar held in with concrete posts, is all that separates the fans from the pitch.
A lot of features of lower non-league football are refreshingly unique and quirky, such as the large deluxe caravan mentioned or coffee in proper mugs. However, in the second half, I was subjected to a not so nice assault of sorts. A couple of Wolves Casuals subs were warming up in front of me when one of them let out an enormous fart; a fart of very high tariff, in terms of both noise and duration. They found it highly amusing while I started to suspect the reason why I was the only one stood at the ‘dark side’ of the ground.
The match was fairly good, and once again at this level I was pleasantly suprised by the quality of football and also the fact that both teams tried to play an attractive passing game. The Cassies opened the scoring with a twenty yard unstoppable volley into the top corner. Dudley Sports got back into it but Wolves were back in front before half time. Dudley Sports rallied in the second half and probably deserved their equaliser.
The programme was only a £1, printed on matt white paper, but with some good stats, including league table with home and away records and detailed histories of both clubs. A very good value for money evening.
Brinsford Stadium in pictures