|What's Clandeboye Park Like?|
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 2002 that some 12 years later
they would still be ground-sharing with no sign of
returning to the town. Now though, they can at least
celebrate a way forward on the pitch with promotion to
the Premier League.
The promotion has seen the club returning to Bangor's Clandeboye Park, some five miles north of Newtownards, to play its home games. The ground 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 doesnít 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 itís 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.
|Ards long suffering fans have in the last decade, groundshared
at Bangor, Cliftonville and Ballyclare Comrades, and
now find themselves back at the ground of their
nearest rivals. The most recent plans,
to build a new Council funded Community Stadium at Londonderry Park in Newtownards fell through when the Local Council pulled out of the scheme. So there search for a new stadium site goes on.
Clandeboye Park itself offers space for expansion for either Ards or Bangor should they do well on the pitch-with the flat expanse of concrete on the South side being an obvious choice for either a temporary seating deck or a new stand. With the undeveloped West end it is unclear whether there is enough space between the new brick wall and the touchline to add a temporary seating deck should additional seating be required.
|What Is It Like For Visiting Supporters?|
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.
|Main Stand And Extension|
|Where To Drink?|
|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.|
|How To Get There By Car And Where To Park|
|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.
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.
Map showing the location of Clandeboye Park (at the bottom of this page).
Bangor railway station
is situated just
under one mile from the football ground and
is around a 10-15
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.
|Looking Towards The West End|
|Having spent most of their life in the Championship, Ards rivalry has tended to be with their landlords Bangor, but East Belfast clubs Harland & Wolfe Welders and Dundela are not too far away. In the Premier League, Glentoran will be the nearest rivals.|
sections of the ground:
|Northern Ireland Premier league fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website).|
|Official Programme: Ardsview £2|
spaces are available in the Main
Stand extension, close to
Clandeboye Road End terrace.
|Record & Average Attendance|
To be advised
To be advised
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