Ards

Bangor Fuels Arena

Capacity: 2,850 (Seats 500)
Address: Clandeboye Road, Bangor, County Down, BT20 3JT
Telephone: 028 9145 7712
Pitch Size: 105 x 72 yards
Pitch Type: Artificial 4G
Club Nickname: The Red and Blues
Year Ground Opened: 1935
Home Kit: Red and Blue

Main Stand Side
Main Stand Side
Clandeboye End
Clandeboye End
West End
West End
Looking Towards The Clandeboye End
Looking Towards The Clandeboye End
Main Stand And Extension
Main Stand And Extension
South Stand
South Stand
Clandeboye Park
Clandeboye Park

Loyal football supporters from the town of Newtownards could not possibly have imagined that when Ards FC were forced to sell their Castlereagh Park ground to balance the books in 2001, that some 15 years later they would still be ground-sharing. Although the Club are still hoping to build a new stadium in Newtonards, they foind themselves playing at Bangor's Clandeboye Park, which is located some five miles north of Newtownards.

Clandeboye Park is located in Bangor's Western suburbs with housing estates on its Northern border, and a training pitch to the South. The Western side of the ground has been enclosed in recent years by the building of a new housing estate. The Club Offices and two storey Social Club back onto Hawthorne Close on the Northern side, with the top floor of the Social Club overlooking the roof of the Main Stand. The Main Stand consists of a smaller older part that sits roughly on the pitch centre and a larger extension (in length) running down towards the covered terrace at one end. The older part of the Main Stand has a pair of low and narrow dug outs in front of the four row deck of around 150 yellow plastic seats. The extension is also covered and mirrors the height and columns of the old Main Stand adding around 185 yellow and black plastic seats to the Social Club side of the ground. On the other side of the Main Stand (towards the open West End) is the tall two floor Clubhouse and Media Centre which has a narrow enclosed viewing area slightly raised above pitch level sitting in front, which was added in 2008.

Following the Main Stand extension back to the turnstiles we come to the Clandeboye Road End Terrace which, being of the same height with the same blue cladding blends rather well with the Main Stand extension. The terrace owes is curved shape to the ground previously hosting stock car and go-kart racing. The pitch was enlarged after the race track was removed however that doesn’t seem to have brought the playing area any closer to the stand. The sturdy low cover has a number of columns along its front edge and lacks any crush barriers but nevertheless it’s a fair elevated view of the pitch from the top of the curved concrete steps. On the opposite side of the Main Stand is an open expanse of concrete, with two lines of shallow steps which would have originally contained two narrow stands parallel with the penalty areas. The stand towards the West End has long since disappeared however the stand at the East End backing onto the Clandeboye Road turnstiles does still exist, its rustic barrel roof covering four rows of around 160 blue plastic seat bases, possibly purchased from a local school, with the legs removed and the seat bolted to a plank of timber then placed on top of a number of breeze blocks.

Turning finally to the West End of Clandeboye Park, then as far as we are aware this side has never had an area for supporters to stand and watch a game. Once the race track was removed a curved metal fence was installed to separate the ground from a new row of houses being built. Bangor football club sold this section of the ground to a property developer in order to clear club debts and in 2011 a high brick wall was built behind the goal to fully block off the ground and allow additional housing to be built.  

In 2015 Clendeboye Park was renamed the Bangor Fuels Arena in a five year corporate sponsorship deal.

The Club have announced proposals to build a new 2,000 capacity stadium at Movilla High School in Newtownards. The new stadium would be built adjacent to the school on the site of two pitches that the school no longer uses. Featuring a seated Main Stand and club offices, it would also have a 3G pitch. The scheme has currently been put out for public consultation. 

As far as we are aware visiting supporters are allocated both the barrel roofed covered seating area and a section of the Clandeboye Road covered terrace. With the barrel roofed cover on the South side of the ground you will notice the stand itself is set back a good few metres from the pitch, this is due to  the stand being at the edge of the former stock car track. The rear two rows of the seating deck offers an elevated view of the pitch and although there are a number of supporting columns along the front of the stand  they are too slim to really impede your view of the action. 

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There is a Social Club at the ground on the corner of Hawthorne Close, otherwise there doesn't seem to be much in the way of drinking outlets in the vicinity. If you are looking for somewhere other than the Social Club, or have a bit of time on your hands then your best bet is to walk into Bangor Town Centre. It is around a 15 minute walk away where you will find plenty of pubs and eating establishments.

Take the A2 from Belfast towards Bangor, passing Belfast City Airport and Holywood. On nearing the centre of Bangor take the slip road signposted 'Ring Road, A2, A21 Newtonards'. At the top of the slip road there is a T-junction with traffic lights. Turn right at the lights towards Newtonards/Donaghadee. At the next traffic lights (there is Jollye's Pet Store on the left) turn left into Clandeboye Road. The football ground is down the bottom of this road on the left.

Car parking
There is a small car park beyond the ground, next to the 5-a-side pitch opposite Clandeboye Primary School. Otherwise there is plenty of street parking available in the area.

Bangor railway station is situated just under one mile from the football ground and is around a 15 minute walk away. It is serviced by trains from Belfast Central and Sydenham (For Belfast City Airport). Trains run every 30 minutes on a Saturday afternoon and every 20 minutes during the week. Journey time from Belfast Central to Bangor is around 32 minutes.

Head out of the main station entrance and turn right, walking past the bus station along Abbey Street. Cross over onto the other side of the road. Ahead you will see Bangor Abbey (Church) at the top of a grass bank. At the traffic lights turn left into Newtownards Road passing the Abbey on your left. Cross over onto the other side of the road and take the next right into Church Street. This road then kinks slightly to the left and becomes Clandeboye Road. You will then see Clandeboye Park on the right hand side.

Ards rivalry has tended to be with their landlords Bangor. Glentoran are the closest Premier League side. 

All sections of the ground:
Adults £7
OAP's/Under 16's £5*

* Under 16's are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Official Matchday Programme £2.

Wheelchair spaces are available in the Main Stand extension, close to Clandeboye Road End terrace.

Northern Ireland Premier league fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website).

If you require hotel accommodation in the area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Late Rooms. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will go to help with the running costs of keeping the Guide going.

Access their Bangor Hotels & Guest Houses page.

Remember that you can use the above link or panel below to book any other hotels that you may need for business or leisure, either in Northern Ireland or elsewhere.

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, then please e-mail me at: duncan@footballgrounds.net and I'll update the guide.

Special thanks to Owen Pavey for providing the photos and stadium layout plan of Clandeboye Park in Bangor.

Ards v Cliftonville
NIFL Premier Division
Saturday 18th November 2017, 3pm
Steve Porter (Neutral fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting Clandeboye Park?
 
Clandeboye Park (now the Bangor Fuels Arena) was opened in September 1935 for Irish League side Bangor when their previous home, Ballyholme Showgrounds was taken for housing in 1933. The heyday of the stadium was in the 1990's when Bangor won the Irish cup and played in Europe. Bangor's recent woes have seem them fall to the fourth tier of local Football and today the ground is more commonly associated with Bangor's local rivals Ards. This repays a debt owed to Ards who gave Bangor a home when the club's homeless roles were reversed in 1934.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
From Belfast: The fastest public transport route is to board the 600b bus (destination George Best City Airport) from the Europa Bus Centre (match days 11.50am) this nine minute journey takes you to Fraser Street, which is a three minute walk to the Titanic train station. The 12.17pm will take you to Bangor West for 12.40pm (plenty of time to get lunch in the Bryansburn Inn just around the corner). If you don't fancy the eighteen minute walk to the ground, hop in a cab from the Inn. If going by car, allow forty minutes on a Saturday lunchtime from Belfast. Parking is relatively easy in the car park beside the ground and there's also a church car park across the road that appears to be available on match days.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
If opting to go to the ground by train, note that the Bryansburn Inn is just around the corner from Bangor West station. If you fancy the cheap snack lunch there's a Spar shop 100m from the ground. Bangor itself is a seaside resort town so isn't short of cheap eateries all year round.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of Clandeboye Park?
 
Unlike many Irish League grounds, which are improving all the time, Clandeboye is sadly a stadium that's clearly seen better days. Much investment has been made on the new artificial pitch and sadly very little on the stands that surround it. That said, it looks like some improvement is being considered in the away side of the ground. The first thing to note s that you can't get a beer in the ground itself. The Bangor FC social club, which, at first glance looks closed and more secure than a police station, is open and serves drinks. The club itself is quite small but well presented with plenty of TVs showing whatever lunchtime Premier League Football is on. There appears to be no issues for visiting fans entering the bar. All entrance for both sets of supporters is from the Clandeboye Road. Home fans go into the main stand, quite small but covered.
 
One feature of the ground for home fans is the low winter sun, which blinds the fans at this side of the pitch. Few fans seem to bother with the terracing behind the goal, though you can imagine it being filled during Bangor's 90s heyday. The far side of the ground has an old barrel roof stand, which has probably changed little for over fifty years. The last remnant of the original 1935 ground was a wooden enclosure, which stood on this side of the ground near the opposite goal. By the early 90s this old stand was on the verge of collapse when it was finally closed and demolished. Today just the terrace that the stand sat on remains. The other end of the ground is undeveloped and the area where terracing may have once stood has been sold off some time ago for housing, which affords the people who live there a perfect view of the ground.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
The home fans are a remarkably quiet bunch. Much is made of Ards being homeless and playing away from their home town, affecting their attendances but Ards and Bangor are less than ten miles apart. The visiting Cliftonville fans broke into song a couple of times but by and large, the match was played out in front of occasional shouts and ripples of applause. People sit in the stands and chat about the games going on in the English Premier League and Scottish Premier League, what's happening elsewhere in the Irish League or what they're going to do this evening after the game. It's a fortnightly social gathering for Ards fans with a footie match thrown in. Curiously the visiting fans seem to get a better choice for food than the home fans. Both have access to a burger van but the away van seems grander. Ards don't appear to have a club shop and the hut that did the job for Bangor is closed for Ards home games. 
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
Clandeboye Road is very busy at full time. Though this probably has little to do with the match itself. It's just a busy road in and out of Bangor and the shoppers are trying to get home. Traffic in both directions is very busy but it moved reasonably well.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
The town of Bangor will always be well served by this ground as it's council owned and has an all weather pitch. For now though it's neighbours, Ards who bring people to the ground and not the local team. All remnant of the days the ground hosted stock car racing have gone and there's plenty of space to build a really decent small stadium if there was ever a desire.

Ards v Crusaders
NIFL Premer Division
Saturday 4th November 2017, 3pm
DMcal (Crusaders fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting Clandeboye Park?
 
I was looking forward to the game as always, Ards is handy, as it's only maybe a 20 minute drive from Belfast. Clandeboye Park itself isn't the best in the Irish League, however, the pitch is great, and you get a good view of the game from standing around the barriers.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
Travelled via supporters bus, but the journey is pretty straightforward, and the traffic outside the ground etc. was fairly accessible!
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
The chip van is reasonably priced (compared to some grounds), and is easily accessible. Due to being in the away section, there was no interaction with the home fans, however there was more away fans that home fans.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of Clandeboye Park?
 
I have been to this ground many times. It's not a bad ground for Irish League football (there are worse). The 4g pitch is a bonus. I always look forward to going to this stadium, great view, and handy to home!
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
Good 4-2 win for the Crues. Decent atmosphere, and everyone friendly!
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
No hassle at all, traffic wasn't that heavy so got away quick enough!
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
A sreat day out, got soaked but was worth it for the three points!

Why not write your own review of Clandeboye Park and have it included in the Guide? Find out more about submitting a Fans Football Ground Review.

Updated 12th February 2018

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