Dover Athletic

Crabble Athletic Ground

Capacity: 5,745 (Seats 1,500)
Address: Lewisham Rd, River, Dover, CT17 0JB
Telephone: 01304 822373
Fax: 01304 821383
Pitch Size: To be advised
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Whites
Year Ground Opened: 1931
Undersoil Heating: No
Home Kit: White and Black

Main Stand
Main Stand
Family Stand
Family Stand
Dover End
Dover End
River End
River End
Family Stand and Dover End
Family Stand and Dover End
Main Turnstiles
Main Turnstiles

Family Stand Well, the Crabble Athletic Ground is certainly a memorable one, mostly for its picturesque location. The Crabble ground is set into a hillside on one side of a river valley. At the base of this hillside is the 'lower pitch' which is now used by Dover Rugby Club. A previous club Dover FC, played matches here from 1897, before moving to the 'upper pitch' in 1951. It was in this year that the current Main Stand was opened. This stand which runs the full length of the pitch on one side is a small covered all seated stand, comprising of five rows of seats. There are a number of supporting pillars running across the front of this stand, which could impede your view. The seating areas stand is split into two sides, with an enclosed Press Box, situated near to the halfway line. Above the middle area of the stand is a small upper tier that contains seating and looks to be used for Directors and Corporate Sponsors.

Opposite the Main Stand is the new Family Stand that was built in 2016. Running for half the length of the pitch, towards the Dover End, this new stand is a smart looking one. Having a capacity of 500 seats, this stand is covered. On one side there is an unusual looking security control box, which looks out onto the stadium, whilst below the control box is the player's tunnel. On the other side of this Family Stand towards the River End, the ground is largely open, with just the clubhouse bar sitting in one corner. Both ends are similar looking covered terraces, that again have a number of supporting pillars. They are slightly unusual in that they are larger on one side than the other, as they have been built on a slope, which is evident from the pitch, which slopes up towards the Main Stand.

Normally fans are not segregated at the ground, but if they are then the Dover End Terrace is given over to visiting supporters. This stand can accommodate 2,000 fans. From here you can enjoy some great views over the valley beyond. However, this comes at a price, as it is quite a hike up to the stadium (cars and coaches are parked down on the lower level), although the Club does sometimes have a golf buggy available to transport the less mobile up the hill. The ground is also quite exposed so especially in winter wrap up well as it can be quite a cold and biting wind that comes off the English Channel. Refreshments available inside include; Cheeseburger (£3.30), Quarter Pounder Burgers (£3.20), Hot Dogs (£2.80) and a selection of filled rolls (£2). Usually, the Crabble is an enjoyable and a memorable ground to visit.

There is a sizeable club house bar within the ground, which when games are not segregated, welcomes both home and away fans. Although rather sparse, there is a warm welcome, plus the bar enjoys some great views across the ground. The nearest pub to the ground is the Cricketers on Crabble Avenue, just across the road from the lower rugby pitch.

If you arrive at Kearnsey railway station, then near to the station is the Railway Bell pub. On the walking route to the ground below, you will also pass the Royal Oak pub that has real ale, offers food and has BT Sports.

Otherwise if you are spending a bit of time in Dover town centre beforehand, there near to the railway station on Cannon Street, is a Wetherspoons pub called the Eight Bells. This pub is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Kevin Mackenzie a visiting Bristol Rovers fan recommends the; 'Rack of Ale on Park Place in the middle of Dover. We had great banter with the Dover fans there and were treated to fantastic hospitality from the owners. This included free scotch eggs, pork pies, chips and even snails throughout our visit. Plus the ales and ciders were top notch'.

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For those who have not been to Dover before, then remember it is further than you think. When you leave the M25 and join the M2, you feel as if you are almost there, when in fact you still have 60 miles still to go!

Leave the M25 at Junction 2 and take the A2 then the M2 towards Dover. On the outskirts of Dover on the A2 again, you will reach a roundabout, that has a McDonalds on your left. At this roundabout take the fourth exit onto Whitfield Hill, signposted Dover North/River. At the bottom of this road you will reach another roundabout, where you take the first exit onto London Road, going towards Dover Town Centre. At the next set of traffic lights, you make a 180 degree right turn (so you are almost coming back on yourself) onto Crabble Road. After passing under a railway bridge the entrance to the grounds is further down on the left. There is free parking available at the rugby ground, inside the entrance.

The nearest railway station is Kearsney which is around a 15 minute walk away from the ground. This station is served by trains from London Victoria and Dover Priory, although not all trains stop at this station, so check beforehand.

Dover Priory Railway Station is also served by trains from London St Pancras and Charing Cross. However, the station is over two miles away from the ground, so either take another train to Kearnsey or take a taxi up to the Crabble grounds.

If walking from Kearnsey to the ground, then on exiting the station entrance turn right and walk down to the end of the station approach road. At the bottom of this road turn right (or if you are after a pint, turn left and you will see the Railway Bell pub), proceed under the railway bridge and take the next left into Lower Road (signposted River). Continue along Lower Road, passing the Royal oak pub on your left and at the bottom of Lower Road (with the river on your left), turn left at the t-junction. Follow the road alongside the river passing the Crabble Mill on your left. At the end of this road turn right into Crabble Road and the entrance to the grounds is up on the left.

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:

Terrace
Adult £17 Over 60's £14 Under 18's £8 Under 11's Free*

Seating
As above but with an additional transfer fee paid within the ground (£1.50 Adults, Over 60's/Under 18's £1, Under 11's Free).

* When accompanied by an adult (maximum 4 Under 11's per adult) for League games. For Cup games a charge may apply.

Official Programme: £2.50

Folkestone Invicta and Dartford.

Dover Athletic FC Fixture List (takes you to the BBC website)

Record Attendance

7,000 v Folkestone 13th October 1951

Average Attendance
2017-2018: 1,355 (National League)
2016-2017: 1,295 (National League)
2015-2016: 1,029 (National League)

If you require hotel accommodation in Dover 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 Dover 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 duncan@footballgroundguide.com and I'll update the guide.

Thanks to Eddie Allcorn for providing the photo of the new Family Stand at the Crabble Athletic Ground.

Dover Athletic v Maidstone United
National League
Tuesday 26th December 2017, 3pm
Georgina Hawkes (Maidstone United)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Crabble Athletic Ground?
 
I try to go to as many away games as possible and distance makes this one a given. Although it's my second visit so not holding much hope for the ground after last season.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
A simple 40 minute drive along the M20. The Dover one way system can be a pain and decided to park on opposite side nearer away entrance. On street parking is plentiful in the area.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
Just straight into the ground.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Crabble Athletic Ground?
 
The Crabble Ground looks okay from outside. The new wooden stand looks impressive on the hill. The walk up to the away end is a killer - its more of a mountain than a hill! Unfortunately, this season and last season have been the same for Maidstone fans - only one turnstile open, with the other only for concessions (they expected families to send their kids through that gate on their own! Very strange idea) resulting in a massive queue. The away end itself is half of a terrace behind the goal and a small section of seating on the sideline. The view from seating where we were is restricted due to a massive 8ft fence blocking off the rest of the ground. Also the terrace itself only has two small doorway type exits which worry me as a rush to exit could cause a major problem. The rest of the ground looks okay but as it was segregated we were only able to access the away section.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
It was a pretty entertaining local derby, and certainly a game of two halves. Maidstone were two nil up at half time, then Dover came back in the second half to draw 2-2. The atmosphere was okay, but away and home fans were kept so far apart that there wasn't much in the way of atmosphere between the fans. Stewards were friendlier than last season but none were able to tell me where I could buy a programme so I didn't get to buy one.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
Reasonably quick to leave the ground and walk down the hill. Again easier to park on residential roads around as the car park seems to get very snarled up. We got back onto the main road within 20 minutes of full time.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
One of our closest away days but one of my least favourite grounds to visit as an away fan. Stewards and the overall away experience almost make you feel like a hooligan which as a 30 year old woman with her 70 year old dad is unlikely! Not sure if this is only directed at Maidstone as other reviews I've read seem far more positive.

Dover Athletic v Maidenhead United
National League
Saturday 21st October 2017, 3pm
David Osborne (Maidenhead United fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Crabble Athletic Ground?
 
With Maidenhead United having been recently been promoted this was a new fixture and ground to see. Also the journey was not too far.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
We drove from Maidenhead. It was slow on M25 so got there in 2 and 1/2 hours. The Satnav lead us to ground smoothly. Easy parking on streets nearby.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
We went to bar inside the ground. Friendly service from staff and food portions were generous.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Crabble athletic Stadium?
 
The ground has an unusual setting, located high above the town with trees all around. I noticed that the pitch also has a significant slope. The home and away fans swapped ends at half time.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc.
 
Given it was the day of Storm Brian the attendance was low at about 800. Maidenhead fans made the most noise. The game was not a classic but was redeemed by Maidenhead equalising late on in the 93rd minute. The Club staff were friendly and helpful.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
Very easy, the roads were quieter and we got home in under two hours.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
The Crabble is certainly worth a visit for all ground hoppers. Sometimes a very late equalizer makes a draw feel as good as a win.

Dover Athletic v York City National League
Saturday 7th January 2017, 3pm
John Uttley (York City fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Crabble Athletic Ground?

I've always fancied visiting the Crabble Athletic Ground, but never thought I would with York City.

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

Very easy journey down from Doncaster to Kings Cross and then short walk to St Pancras for connection to Dover Priory. Caught the 15B Bus in the Town Centre which dropped me outside the Crabble Ground.

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

Visited several pubs with friends before doing my own thing.Definitely recommend the Rack of Ale Pub where I met some very friendly Dover fans.Also had a pint at the Cricketers pub, a couple of minutes from the ground.

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

The Crabble is a very picturesque ground. I decided to venture in to the home end to meet up with the Dover fans I met earlier. The away end was fairly lively. 162 York City supporters had made the long journey south.

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

A 2-2 draw which I would have settled for before kick off. The game was segregated but I had no bother in the Home end and the Dover fans were extremely friendly despite them being disappointed at not beating us. I tried the "Crabbleburger" which was fairly tasty but expensive. The clubhouse was spacious and the lady in the club shop was friendly. The stewards were fine too.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Got the 15B bus back in to town afterwards and arrived with 10 minutes to spare back at the railway station

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Dover Athletic is a friendly club with friendly supporters. The Crabble is a quaint ground located in a nice setting. Overall an enjoyable day out.

Dover Athletic v Lincoln City
National Conference League
Saturday 24th September 2016, 3pm
James Lee (Lincoln City fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Crabble Athletic Ground?

Never been to Dover Athletic before. Both sides are doing well at the moment, so I hoped to see a good match.

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

Dover is a long way from Lincoln, around 200 miles but I stayed the previous night at St Margerets Cliffe on a Sun Newspaper £9.50 holiday. On the day of the game I drove up Crabble Road past The Cricketers Pub and parked just outside some big iron gates where you start the steep climb up hill to the ground.

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

I didn't go to a pub but I saw some of our fans sat in the beer garden of The Cricketers.

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

It doesn't look Football League standard to me, but is adequate for this level. The locals seemed nice friendly people who clearly care about their team. The away end was basic but okay. Portaloo toilets but you could wash and dry your hands fine, didn't sample the food but it looked alright.

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

We as a team never got going and Dover ran out 2-0 winners. Both sets of supporters were in decent voice though. The home fans were sympathetic when one of their former players, playing for Lincoln got injured. He was applauded as he left the pitch.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

No trouble getting away. I was parking on the street though, not in the rugby ground car park.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Miserable game for me but that's football, they are not a bad bunch in my opinion, but will need to invest further if they wish to make the Football League.

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

Updated 13th September 2018

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