Sealand Road Remains – 1

With the restoration of the plaque I thought it would be interesting to collate some pictures of other parts of the Sealand Road Stadium that have survived. I am hoping that this will be the first of a number of articles and I would urge anyone to get in contact if they have anything of interest.

The most obvious place to start is the roof of the main stand which was installed at the previously uncovered Hamil Road End of Port Vale’s Vale Park Ground in 1992. According to Simon Inglis’ Football Grounds of Britain book the stand roof was bought from Chester for a bargain price but the final bill for its transport, re-erection and repainting came to £350,000.

Main Stand 1990 Copyright © http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com

Main Stand 1990
Copyright © http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com

Demolition of the stand roof Copyright © http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com

Demolition of the stand roof
Copyright © http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com

Stand roof during demolition Copyright © http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com

Stand roof during demolition
Copyright © http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com

Inglis’ book also states that some surplus roof cladding from Sealand Road was also used at the other end of the ground in the small angled Family stand between the Railway and Bycars Lane Stands.

Coincidentally the first team to utilise the new covered Hamil Road End was Chester when they played a League Two fixture at the ground in September 1992 and were beaten 2-0. The following photographs were taken by Fraser Warburton at that game and with no adverts or Vale branding the stand still looks very much like it did at Sealand Road.

Hamil Road End Port Vale September 1992 Copyright © Fraser Warburton

Hamil Road End Port Vale September 1992
Copyright © Fraser Warburton

Corner of the stand at Vale Park Copyright © Fraser Warburton

Corner of the stand at Vale Park
Copyright © Fraser Warburton

Standing at Vale Park in September 1992 Copyright © Fraser Warburton

Standing at Vale Park in September 1992
Copyright © Fraser Warburton

Port Vale v Chester - September 1992

Inglis’ book also states that some surplus roof cladding from Sealand Road was also used at the other end of the ground in the small angled Family stand between the Railway and Bycars Lane Stands.

In 1995, 4,550 seats were installed and Blues fans were able to sit under the stand roof for the first time for a Worthington Cup tie in 1998. Two Luke Beckett goals gave Chester a 2-1 victory in that game. There was a return to the ground the following year in the same competition for that memorable 4-4 draw in Terry Smith’s first game in charge.

Sitting under the stand roof - Port Vale v Chester in September 1998 Copyright © NWN Media

Sitting under the stand roof – Port Vale v Chester in September 1998
Copyright © Leader newspaper

The second item was salvaged form the demolition of the ground in 1992 by supporter Alan Potter who managed to carry it back to his house in Blacon which is quite an achievment given its size.

Entrance sign

Entrance sign

The admission price board was initially in place at the Sealand Road End as can be seen from my accompanying photo.

The entrance sign in its original location Copyright © http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com

The entrance sign in its original location
Copyright © http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com

The final item is a gem from the old wooden Sealand Road stand and is the sign from above the away team dressing room that I was given several years ago.

Sign from old Sealand Road stand

Sign from old Sealand Road stand

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On The Buses

Older Chester supporters may remember the match adverts that used to appear on the maroon Corporation buses in the 1970s. I can remember the luminous green posters on the school buses and it was not unknown for them to end up in the hands of Chester supporting school kids. I managed to pick up a couple myself after they mysteriously worked themselves loose from the bus window. Larger versions of these garish adverts were also located on boards outside the Stadium. In the late 1970s it was possible to buy small card versions for 10p from the club shop which used to occupy the Georgian House on Grosvenor Road.

At a recent Senior Blues meeting I was talking to supporter Fraser Warburton who was telling me that these adverts appeared on buses as long ago as the early 1960s which surprised as I always thought they were a 1970s phenomenon.

The examples here are from the 1961/62 season when Chester played in green and gold and this is reflected in the colour of the posters although it looks the background may have faded slightly.

Fraser remembers cycling down to Stamford Road in Blacon where the buses used to wait before returning to the city centre, and asking the conductor if he could have the posters.

Games continued to be advertised until summer 1967 when the club objected to the council’s decision to charge £50 to continue with the arrangement.

The adverts re-appeared in the 1970s and my first example is from 1976 but I have a feeling they may have existed before this date. Does anyone know when and under what circumstances they came back? I’m wondering if it coincided with promotion in the 1974/75 season when the council were perhaps eager to cash in on the club’s success. The last dated poster is from 1978 but again they probably remained on buses for a short time after this as I have some of the cardboard adverts from the 1979/80 campaign.I’m not sure that these adverts would work in the present day with de-regulation and anonymity of current buses and I’m sure health and safety would have a say about sticking posters on windows. Nevertheless they were an extremely useful marketing tool for the era when there were far fewer media outlets.

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