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Fellows Park
Walsall Football Club
(1896 - 1990)

External View

External View

Club Ground History Prior To Fellows Park
Before moving to the new Bescot Stadium in 1990, Walsall had previously played for 94 years at Fellows Park. The Club was formed as Walsall Town Swifts in a 1888, from a merger of two existing clubs; Walsall Town (founded 1877) and Walsall Swifts (founded 1879). The new amalgamated Club played their first game at a sports ground, called 'The Chuckery' near to the Walsall Arboretum. This friendly against Derby St Lukes took place in September 1888. The Club joined the new Second Division of the Football League in 1892 and on September 3rd that year they played their first ever league match against Darwen at the Chuckery ground. Due to complaints from local residents, the Club had to vacate the Chuckery ground and find a new home for the following season. It was decided to move to a new ground at West Bromwich Road, but due to delays in preparing the ground, the Club were forced to play the first two games of the new season at the Wood Green Oval. The first game to take place at the new West Bromwich Road ground in September 1893, saw a 5-1 victory for the Saddlers over Crewe.

Main Stand


Main Stand

History Of Fellows Park
The Club then moved to the Hillary Street ground in 1896 (later to be renamed Fellows Park). The first game to be played  there was a friendly against Glossop on September 1st that year. Walsall run out 4-1 winners and four days later the ground witnessed its first league game against Burton. This saw another victory for the Saddlers by two goals to nil. However the Club had return to the West Bromwich Road Ground in December 1900, as they were unable to pay their rent on Hilllary Street. This was sorted out for the commencement of the 1901-02 season and Walsall returned to the Hillary Street ground.  It was not until 1930 that the ground was renamed Fellows Park in honour of the then chairman of the Club Mr H. L. Fellows. 

The ground was all terraced for many years and only on three sides as there was a with brick wall running across one end of the ground, which formed the back of the adjacent laundry. The first real building at the ground was a Main Stand on one side, which was closely followed by the installation of a roof over the Popular Terrace in 1933, which stood opposite. Floodlights were installed in 1957 and the first floodlit game to be played at Fellows Park, was a friendly in the December of that year against Falkirk. In 1960 the Laundry and associated brick wall were demolished and a small open terrace was constructed, this became known as the Railway End. Five years later a roof was constructed over the opposite terrace, the Hillary Street End. In 1975 an extension was added to one side of the old main stand (which replaced a small area of terracing), which added around 1,500 seats. The roof was also extended forwards to cover the terraced paddock in front of the stand. In 1985 for safety reasons the ground's capacity was reduced by over half to around 12,000.

May 1st 1990, saw the last ever league match to be played at Fellows Park. This saw a 1-1 draw against Rotherham United (attendance 5,697). The last first team game was played there ten days later for a Peter Hart Testimonial game against West Bromwich Albion.

The Popular Terrace

The Popular Terrace

What Was The Ground Like
The ground before the Club's move to the Bescot, was one of character. At one end was a small open terrace, which was known as the Railway End (formerly the Laundry End) and was usually allocated to the away support. Opposite the Hillary Road Terrace, was a covered terrace, which extended around two corners of the ground, one of which was covered. The Popular Terrace on one side of the ground was a smaller partly covered terrace (to the rear). Both the Hillary Road & Popular Terraces, had a fair number of supporting roof pillars. The Main Stand on the other side of the ground, was a small covered seated stand, that ran for about two thirds of the length of the pitch. This stand which also had a number of supporting pillars, had terracing to the front and one side of it. The seating in this stand was elevated above pitch level, which meant that supporters had to climb a small set of stairs to enter the seated area. The ground also had a set of striking looking floodlights that could be seen for miles around.

Hillary Street End


Hillary Street End

What Is Left Now?

The ground has been completely demolished and is the now the site of a supermarket complex.

Record Attendance
25,343 v Newcastle United
Division Two, 1961.

Railway End

Railway End

Did You Know?
Fellows Park was one of only three Football League grounds to be named after a person. The other two being those of AFC Bournemouth (Dean Court) and Cardiff City’s Ninian Park.

On February 25th, 1970 Walsall played a ‘home’ third division League game against Brighton and Hove Albion at West Brom's Hawthorns Ground because Fellows Park had been waterlogged for some weeks. Brighton won the match three nil
!

YouTube Video Of The Ground in 1979

Below is a video from YouTube showing the ground in 1979.
Thanks to W Gibson for sharing this with us:






Special thanks to Dave Couseins for providing the photos for this page.

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