CONIFA Stadiums – Under the Radar
This is the first in a four-part series looking at a selection of non-league stadiums chosen to host CONIFA Football World Cup Matches in London this summer
Stadium: Larges Lane – Bracknell Town FC
Bracknell lies southwest of London in the royal county of Berkshire, just ten miles from Windsor where Harry and Meghan recently tied the knot. With a population of over 80,000 it was given ‘new town’ status in 1949, the same year its football team took on the name Bracknell FC.
The club, nicknamed ‘the robins,’ moved to Larges Lane in 1933 where they remain to this day, a ten minute walk from the town’s main train station. Famed for its slope, the ground has been recently refurbished under the leadership of chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse. A new 3G pitch (which has erased the slope completely), a new stand, new fencing, hard standing and clubhouse area has transformed the place to a modern facility used by the community every day.
Darrell Freeland, long-time supporter and one half of the local twitter account ‘Football in Bracknell,’ commented, “The facilities at Larges Lane are very good and importantly for the club allows lots more age groups use of the 3G pitch. Crowds have risen and a large part of the swell is parents and junior players who now feel more a part of the club.”
On the pitch, led by player-manager Carl Davies, the club have just been promoted to the Isthmian League South Central – step 4 in the English non-league structure.
As the CONIFA party came to Bracknell, the ground was looking resplendent in the heat of summer. Fans of Kabylia stole the show with their blue and yellow shirts and flags dominating the main stand; fans sung their way through the match, even taking over the tannoy system for a while!
That’s not the end of the story however. The local council, impressed at how the land had been flattened, have bid to buy the plot and the club have subsequently revealed ambitious new stadium plans just a few hundred yards from Larges Lane.
Chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse announced that plans are now underway to build a state-of-the-art sport and education complex between their current ground and Ranelagh School. It is reported that the complex will not be confined to football, but several other sports, including rugby, netball and athletics too.
Freeland (@fibracknell) commented, “The new plans for Ranelagh Sports Hub across the road are very promising. With more than just a football pitch, it will afford children top facilities in other sports too.”
Bracknell may not have been the first place you thought of when visiting London to get your stadium fix. However, if the Robins continue to fly high on the pitch and the momentum off the pitch continues, plan your visit soon, you may even see Harry and Meghan catching a match.
Larges Lane was chosen to host 4 matches during CONIFA Football World Cup 2018 – visit the website for more information http://www.conifa.org/en/
Photos can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmkPagy7
CONIFA, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations, is the football federation for all associations outside FIFA. It’s a global acting non-profit organization that supports representatives of international football teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories.
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