Frickley Athletic

Frickley Athletic FC
Westfield Lane

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Recently i was in the South Yorkshire area and by sheer luck i stumbled upon this wonderful, gritty northern non league ground. Infact upon arrival in the bitter artic winds you could still sense and smell the history that has preceeded.

During the 1960's when the local colliery employed upwards of 3000 men both it and the football ground were both at their peak. Infact each person paid a shilling a week from their paypacket to the welfare. The record crowd i hear was about 6000 for the visit of Rotherham in the FA Cup about 40 years ago. Their best FA Cup run was in the 85-86 season when they reached the dizzy heights of the third round proper.


 The focal point of the ground is obviously the main stand , which was built by the local miners whilst they were on strike  in the 1920's.

The ground is still overshadowed today by the former colliery.

In its heyday in the 1930s the colliery employed 4000 men and boys and at is closure on 26 November 1993 735 men.
In October 1992 Frickley/South Elmsall was one of the 31 collieries intended to be closed by the government. Given a temporary reprieve of just 13 months whilst studies showed the pit was one of the most profitable in British Coal, the miners were forced to vote on closure of the pit in a " No Win" situation in November 1993.
Despite having plentiful and easily accessible reserves, the pit closed due to politics on 26 November 1993, leaving massive social and economic problems in the local area.
To this day Frickley lives on in many peoples hearts and minds. With the Westfield Lane stadium backing onto the former colliery.

The Club decided to 'give back' the Colliery title in the mid seventies once the colliery itself had closed. I would advise any serious groundhopper to pay a visit and for added enjoyment take time out to go walking on the nearby Frickley Moor but try to avoid the rapier cold like winds like i failed to do and visit on a matchday !

1 comment:

  1. The club changed their name to Athletic in 1976 so they could enter the old Northern Premier League. Colliery wouldn't have been allowed. Wigan Athletic, Scarborough, Boston United, Macclesfield Town and Gateshead were all in the NPL at that time too.