Classic Sports Grounds: No5 Station Road, Swinton

As I sit here with Radio 5 Live on, England are playing Ireland at Union, I started thinking back to my Sunday afternoon trips out to watch the only sport regularly played on a Sunday… Rugby League. When I moved to Bolton in September 1983 I was spoiled by easy trips away. One of my regular trips was to Swinton. I like Swinton RLFC as they had a ‘proper’ Rugby League kit – blue shirt with a white V or double V.

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The easiest way to Station Road for me was to take a No12 bus from Bolton. By now it was operated by GMPTE but some buses were still in LUT (Lancashire United Transport) orange and white an just occasionally red and grey. The presence of a red and grey LUT bus would often make me change plan.

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By 1983 Station Road was really showing its age but was still one of the best Rugby League grounds and could still host big games. Widnes famously dumped Leeds out of the Challenge Cup live on the BBC only a year earlier.

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The ground clung on until 1992 despite the destruction by vandals of the wooden main stand. It had effectively been damned following the Bradford City fire.

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Swinton RLFC were also a fading force when I visited but they did occasionally raise their game and make it to the Stones Bitter Championship.

Colour ground photos by Dave Wareham.

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