Southport

Merseyrail Community Stadium

Capacity: 6,008 (Seats 1,844)
Address: Haig Avenue, Southport, PR8 6JZ
Telephone: 01704 533422
Fax: 01704 533455
Pitch Size: 115 x 78 yards
Club Nickname: The Sandgrounders
Year Ground Opened: 1905
Home Kit: Yellow and Black

The Grandstand
The Grandstand
Jack Carr Stand
Jack Carr Stand
Looking Towards The Blowick End
Looking Towards The Blowick End
Blowick End
Blowick End
Popular Side
Popular Side

Haig Avenue is a fairly open ground and is at long last seeing some investment. During 2018 the Grandstand on one side of the ground. was refurbished, including a new roof, replacement of the existing seating and other facilities such as Directors and Press Boxes. It has a capacity of 1,840 seats and now looks quite smart. It doesn't run the full length of the pitch and straddles the halfway line, with the spaces on either side, unused for spectators. It is not totally free of supporting pillars, with one large pillar, situated towards the middle. There are also windshields to either side. The Grandstand was first opened in 1968.

The rest of the stadium is comprised of terrace, with only the Jack Carr terrace (named after a former Director of the Club) at one end being covered. This terrace, which is also known as the Scarisbrick End, is the home end and can house just over 900 fans. The roof has no supporting pillars to hinder the view but only runs for around half the width of the playing area. Opposite is the Blowick End, a small open terrace which is allocated to away fans. On the remaining side of the ground is the Popular Side, another open terrace, which is unusual in the respect that it is comprised of five separate blocks. There is an electronic scoreboard situated in one corner of the ground in-between the Main Stand and The Jack Carr Stand. The ground is completed with a set of four modern floodlights, one in each corner.

The Club has plans to build a new 1,300 capacity all seated stand with corporate facilities on the Popular Side and a new covered terrace at the Blowick End. The video below shows a mock-up of how the new stand will look:

The above video was produced by Southport FC and made publicly available via YouTube.

Away fans are predominantly housed in the Blowick terrace at one end of the ground, where just under 1,200 supporters can be housed. This small terrace is set back from the pitch and is open to the elements, so hope it does not rain. A better bet maybe to head for one of the 300 seats made available to visiting supporters in the Grandstand, as this is covered and generally gives a better view. The refreshments are competitively priced; Cheeseburgers (£2.50), Cumberland Sausage (£2.50), Hot Dogs (£2) and a selection of pies (£2).

There is a bar at the ground which is situated behind the Grandstand, aptly called the Grandstand Bar. This shows Sky Sports matches and even serves its own real ale called 'Grand Stand Gold'. Otherwise there is the ‘Thatch & Thistle’ pub, which also serves food. This is located near to the bottom of Haig Avenue, at the junction of Butts Road and Meols Cop Road. As its name suggests the pub has a thatched roof as is part of the 'Two for one' chain. Also coming from the M58 on the Scrisbrick New Road is the Richmond pub, which is also in walking distance of the stadium. 

If you have a bit more time on your hands, then just over a mile away is Southport town centre, where there are plenty of good pubs to be found. Worth mentioning are the Sir Henry Segrave, Wetherspoon outlet and the Scarisbrick hotel. Both of which are located in Lord Street and are listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

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Leave the M6 at Junction 26 and take the M58 towards Southport. Leave the M58 at Junction 3 and take the A570 towards Ormskirk. Follow the A570 around Ormskirk Town Centre towards Southport. On entering Southport you will come to a large roundabout with Tesco’s & McDonalds outlets. Take the 3rd exit onto Scarisbrick New Road (A570). You should now be able to catch sight of the ground over on your right. Pass the Richmond pub on your left and then turn right into Haig Avenue. The ground is down on the right. There is no car park at the ground as such. There is though plenty of street parking available in the surrounding streets, however in some streets there are some parking restrictions so check for any warning signs.

The nearest railway station to the ground is Meols Cop which is about a mile away away from the ground. It is served by trains from Manchester Piccadilly. As you come out of the station turn left and proceed down Norwood Road. After about half a mile, turn right into Haig Avenue and the stadium is located down on the left. 

Southport station is located a mile and a half away from the ground. It costs around £5 for a taxi. Rosalind Zeffertt informs me; 'The best way to get to Haig Avenue from the station is by the number 44 Arriva bus which runs every 20 minutes from Eastbank Street (at 02, 22 and 42 past the hour). Go left out of the station onto Chapel St and then Turn left into Eastbank Street and the bus stop is on that side of the road opposite the Bright House store. In the evenings, the 44a goes from the same stop but is only every half hour, at 17 and 47 past the hour'. 

Adam Hodson a visiting Stockport County fan adds these walking directions; 'Head out of the station via the Chapel Street exit, turn left and walk through the pedestrianised shopping centre, passing shops such as WH Smiths & Marks & Spencers. Turn left at the end at the end of the pedestrianised shopping centre onto Eastbank Street. At the roundabout take the second exit onto Scarisbrick New Road, passing a Total garage on the left. Continue through one set of traffic lights and at the second set of traffic lights, turn left onto Haig Avenue and the ground is down on the right. It took me around 25-30 minutes to walk'. 

Whilst Paul Aird informs me; 'For a quicker alternative walking route; 'Exit the station by the side entrance leading to the car park and turn right into London Street. At the top of London Street take the Victoria Footbridge over the railway line then turn left into Virginia Street, continue straight into Forest Road then right into Haig Avenue for the ground'. 

Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:

Seating:

Adults £15 Concessions £11 Under 19's £5

Terrace:

Adults £13.50
Concessions £10
Under 19's £5
Under 11’s accompanied by an adult are admitted free.

Official Programme £2.50

Fleetwood Town, Morecambe and Burscough. 

Southport FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website)

Record Attendance

20,010 v Newcastle United
FA Cup 6th Round, 1932

Average Attendance
2016-2017: 1,142 (National League)
2015-2016: 1,135 (National League) 
2014-2015: 1,070 (National League)

If you require hotel accommodation in Southport then first try a hotel booking service provided by Booking.com. 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 help towards the running costs of keeping this Guide going. 

Access their Southport Hotels pages.

Remember that you can use the above link to book any other hotels that you may need for business or leisure, at home or abroad.

Booking.com

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

Southport v Blyth Spartans
National League North
Saturday 18th November 2017, 3pm
John Hague (Blyth Spartans fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Merseyrail Community Stadium?
 
It was almost 40 years ago (December 1977) that I last went to Southport with some Barnsley supporting schoolmates, so that I thought a revisit was well overdue. We’d also planned a night out in Southport for some real beers and a visit to the Red Squirrels wildlife sanctuary at Formby.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
An easy journey up from Leicestershire. We stayed in Scarisbrick just outside town and caught an Arriva bus (385) to the end of Haig Avenue.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
We popped into the club shop for the obligatory pin badge then on to the Thatch and Thistle for a couple of pints and to watch the Arsenal v Spurs game on tv.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Merseyrail Community Stadium?
 
I love Haig Avenue although the open terrace for away fans would be bleak in the rain. A steward told us there were plans to cover the away end and Poplar Terrace.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
The steward situated close to us was a great laugh. I’d heard tales of jobsworths but I have to say we had no problems. I didn’t eat in the ground and can only say the coffee from the burger vans was hot and wet. No Bovril! The Blyth fans were in great voice and in a buoyant mood. Southport? Well they have a very unenthusiastic drummer… The Pink-footed Geese were great as they headed over the ground towards Marshside to roost. Another great football ground tick.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
Mark and I joined a few Blyth fans went for a pint in the clubhouse. The home fans were very friendly even after a 0-3 home defeat. It was also great to chat to some of the Blyth players and management team. A walk into town then for beers.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Blyth’s most professional performance this season, not our view but that of the manager and players. We absolutely battered Southport and should have scored more than three. Southport has some cracking CAMRA Good Beer Guide pubs and is an excellent weekender for the football fan.

Southport v Fleetwood Town
FA Cup First Round
Monday 7th November 2016, 7.45pm
Matthew Bowling (Fleetwood Town fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting Haig Avenue?

Because it was a Lancashire Derby in the FA Cup and also it was my first trip to Southport on a cold but dry night.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

The journey was relatively easy we got into Southport at around 4pm so it was relatively quiet. I parked outside one of the spoons on Lord Street and I decided to leave my car there until we were going to the ground. The street outside the ground was full but I eventually parked up not too far from Haig Avenue.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

After I parked up we went to the Thatch and Thistle pub nearby which had plenty of Fleetwood fans in and a few home fans as well. After watching the second round draw we walked down to the ground.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of Haig Avenue?

I wasn't overly impressed when I saw the now called Merseyrail Community Stadium, it was an average conference ground i.e. mostly terraces and one seating stand. The away end was quite spacious but was just a standard open terrace. The covered stand behind the goal occupied by the Southport fans was almost full.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The game wasn't very good and had very minimal chances. The best was when Jimmy Ryan had his free kick tipped onto the bar by the Sothport keeper. The game was halted 15 minutes from the end when a flare was thrown from the Southport fans onto the pitch, when that flare had gone a fan then threw a red firelighter on as well which was getting a bit stupid. It was a dull cup tie and definitely didn't have the passion a normal Derby would.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

It was quite easy to get away as the roads were deserted and Southport wasn't very busy so we got home in 45 minutes which was decent.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I wasn't overly impressed with the day out the build up before the game was better and hoping for a better game in the replay.

Overall rating for Haig Avenue: 6/10

Wrexham v Southport
National Conference League
Saturday 1st January 2016, 3pm
Jak (Wrexham fan)

Why were you looking forward to visiting the Haig Avenue football ground?    

Having visited the Haig Avenue ground previously on what was a wet, snowy and freezing Boxing Day. I was determined to make the trip again in better weather and with it being the festive period it was the perfect excuse to get away from it all by going to football and having a few beers with the lads.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?    

We got the train from Wrexham to Southport with changes at Chester and Liverpool Moorfields. The trains are frequently available and were not that busy despite it being a Saturday. The train we were on was mainly Wrexham fans. Southport railway station is located right in the town centre. However the stadium is approximately 1.3 miles away from the station. I'm sure this is a walkable journey if you know where you are going, however we decided to go by taxi. We booked 3 taxis for our party of 12 with no trouble at all, this cost us £4 per car so it was extremely good value for money, to save hassle we arranged for same taxi to pick us up after the game.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?    

Travelling through Liverpool it would almost criminal not to stop off for a drink there on route and with the trains being so regular it allowed us plenty of time. When arriving in Southport we were spoilt for choice in terms of eating and drinking establishments as we had allowed ourselves enough time as we were making a day of it. The Wellington pub had a good local feel to it with Liverpool playing at the time there was plenty of banter between both sets of fans, there were also two Wetherspoons either side of the Main Street which served the usual run of the mill food. When arriving st the ground we were welcomed into the Southport social club which I would say was probably 60/40 in favour of Wrexham however the locals were mixing and chatting freely and pleasantly something which is nice to see. Despite being small in size and dated in decor I enjoyed the social club and massive credit to the bar maids who worked hard to keep the queing at the bar down.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of Haig Avenue?    

With this being the second time I'd visited Haig Avenue I wasn't really surprised with what I saw. The stadium is dated however doesn't stand out in this league which now contains a number of ex-Football League grounds. The away fans were behind the goal to the left of the Grandstand with the lucky home fans being under cover as it began to rain. The Southport fans behind the other goal in the standing terrace seemingly made all the noise and had a good atmosphere. The final part of the ground running opposite the Grandstand is a basic standing terrace which was only 2/3 open and sparse in attendance. The facilities were poor however his was due to good following Wrexham brought ,6 toilets for those in the Grandstand resulted in a long queues and a lot of moaning from the Wrexham fans but this was more than likely because of the match. Overall I wouldn't criticise Haig Avenue, I felt it met the needs of the club, we as Wrexham fans are spoilt by our facilities and (naively) expect the same standard everywhere.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..  

The game was one to remember and forget .Wrexham had had a woeful festive period and really needed the points. Southport however were in fantastic form due to the change in manager the turn around was magnificent and credit to them having seen him twice in a week I was very impressed and couldn't argue with the three points they took. Wrexham were hit and miss as per we are slowly becoming the Liverpool of this league; fans expect so much but in reality we are a long way off where we should be. However I do believe in time under Gary Mills they will get out of this league once they become more clinical in the final third. The only thing more disappointing than Wrexhams performance was that of the referee. Now obviously being biased I will blame our loss on him, however the inconsistency of refs in this league is one of the reasons this league will been seen as Mickey Mouse because the standard is occasionally a joke, rant is over!

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Having mentioned previous we had pre booked our way from the ground with a taxi we used on the way and the both arrived on time and again cost us 4 pound a car. The train again was on time and surprisingly quiet. I think by booking a taxi we beat most of the Wexham fans back to the station. 

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Very good day out football sandwiched in between a few drinks in Liverpool is always a good plan, and this didn't disappoint despite the result. Southport is a club which should be very proud of what they do as a club for there size look forward to visiting again when possible

Southport v Cheltenham Town
Conference National League
Saturday 14th November 2015, 3pm
Paul Dickinson (Neutral fan)

Why were you looking forward to visiting the Haig Avenue Football Ground?    

My original plan was to combine a University Open Day at Edge Hill with my Daughter, with a trip to watch a league match between Burscough and Kendal. However, I hadn't realised it was an FA Trophy date and with Burscough being drawn away, it meant a quick change of plan. Southport wasn't a new ground for me, but it was for my Daughters boyfriend and I really like their Haig Avenue ground, especially the Grandstand, so it was an easy choice.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?    

We dropped off my two Daughters in Southport before returning to the ground (which we'd passed on the way in from Ormskirk) and parked just round the corner.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?    

As we'd already eaten in Ormskirk, I can't comment on the food but I made sure I revisited the Grandstand bar, which I remembered had real ale on from my last trip. Sadly, it wasn't on this time, but the barmaid kindly offered me the same local ale, albeit in a bottle, so that's always the next best thing!

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Haig Avenue stadium?    

As mentioned, I'd been before and with the wind/rain/mist, it had the feeling of a "proper day out" at a football game. We sat in the Grandstand and had a great view - the only slight criticism was water dripping from the roof, but a quick change of seats soon remedied that.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..    

Cheltenham were comfortably the better side and were 3 nil up after 15 minutes, with it eventually ending 4-0. Southport persevered but were second best throughout - the fans around us seemed incredibly frustrated and relegation was already being openly discussed.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

No problems at all - my daughters had caught the train upto Meols Cop (five minutes from Southport) to save us driving back into town and after meeting them there, we were back in Leeds by 6.45pm - despite atrocious driving conditions over the M62.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I always enjoy my trips to non league clubs when Leeds aren't playing as its a welcome diversion from the torture/frustration of watching my own team and the Grandstand at Southport reminds me of how grounds all used to look when I first started watching Leeds away in the late 70's - I'd recommend it to anyone who hasn't yet been.

Southport v Grimsby Town
Conference National League
Saturday 26th September 2015, 3pm
Kevin Dixon (Grimsby Town fan)

Why were you looking forward to visiting Haig Avenue?

One I had previously visited  and found to be a friendly place.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I had been in the Lake District for a couple of days, so drove down from Lancaster on the Saturday morning. Straightforward journey, much easier than coming from home which involves going through Ormskirk, which is a motorist's nightmare. Plenty of on street parking close to the ground, but watch out for the restrictions.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

Had breakfast from the Pound Cafe on the A565 in the town centre, absolute bargain, then a stroll on the prom and along the pier. Went and parked up close to the ground just before 2pm, had a chat with the stewards while we waited for the turnstiles to open. They were hoping for a big turnout from us, as, in their words,"it keeps us afloat!"

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?

Haig Avenue is a very old ground, from the same era as ours. There is a large all seater Main Stand along one side, covered terrace at the home end, then open terraces down the remaining side and away end. Fortunately, it was a cracking day, so no problem standing on the open terrace. The only problem was the sun was right in our faces, so we spent most of the match with hands shielding our eyes. Never happy with the British weather, are we?

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Decent crowd by their standards of 1,320, swelled by 557 from Grimsby. Stewards very friendly and chatty. We struggled for the first 20 minutes, then scored a great goal, and by half time were 3-0 up. Another goal straight after the restart completed the rout. The Town fans had a good sing, but the Southport fans had little to cheer. Food was the usual football ground standard, toilets are portakabins but passable.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

No problem getting away, slight hold ups on A570 out of town due to traffic lights, then the usual struggle through Ormskirk (see above). Back home just after 8pm with a stop at Ferrybridge Services.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Haig Avenue is a friendly ground to visit, made all the better by our win, only the second in 11 games against Southport, who are a bit of a bogey side to us.

 

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Updated 19th August 2018

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