This season will see the loss of another great football ground, St George’s Lane, the home of Worcester City. On April Fool’s Day I made my pilgrimage to pay my respects.
The first thing you notice as you approach is that finding the ground is easy… you just do what we always did – look for the floodlights. Before the Taylor report and the sanitised dross of the Premier League football fans always looked forward to seeing the floodlights as they neared the ground or as they passed through an unfamiliar town. Something that is fast dying out now. I still remember the thrill of seeing the lights at Hillsborough as we dropped down from Grenoside.
The classic view of St George’s Lane though is the Canal view and I joined a few other Groundhoppers in getting our obligatory photo.
Once inside it’s like stepping back in time to the 1970s or in the case of Worcester City FC the 1960s… that’s when the new floodlights were erected and probably the last major change to the ground.
The main stand is a typical 1960s non-league stand and built the year before I was born… it still looks better than me! The roof-mounted floodlights only lasted a year before the corner pylons were erected.
I joined a few old boys who’d been coming down since the 1950s heyday when Worcester City reached the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in 1958/59 putting out Millwall and Liverpool 2-1 on the way. A 2-0 home defeat to Sheffield United set the ground’s record attendance of 17042.
For City fans it will be a sad time when St George’s Lane shuts its doors for the last time as a ground-share with Kidderminster Harriers beckons before a new ‘scaled-down’ stadium is ready… whether this will be enough to keep Worcester City at their current level remains to be seen The fans I spoke to think this will be be the start of a long, painful death for WCFC – I hope not!