Fellows Park - Walsall FC
Hillary Street End (photo)
What Was The Ground Like?
Main Stand (photo)
What Is Left Now?
Did You Know?
View From The Popular Terrace (photo)
YouTube Video Of The Ground in 1979
|Before moving to
the new Bescot Stadium in 1990, Walsall had
previously played for 104 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.
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.
Special thanks to Alex Mowbray for providing a number of photos for this page. These were taken a few weeks before the ground closed in May 1990. He also has his own website dedicated to Fellows Park.
|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.|
|The ground has been completely demolished and is the now the site of a supermarket complex.|
|25,343 v Newcastle
Division Two, 1961.
|Did You Know?|
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: