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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Haverhill Rovers FC

Hamlet Croft, Hamlet Road, Haverhill, Suffolk CB9 8EH
Telephone:01440 702137
Nickname: Rovers
Eastern Counties League

Update (January 2007) Rovers look set to be leaving their attractive Hamlet Croft home in the near future following the decision of St. Edmundsbury Council to give their consent to the construction of a £2 million community football complex. The new facilities will be based at Samuel Ward Upper School & Technology College and will comprose a main stadium with a 250 seat stand & clubhouse building, along with three artificial pitches. The Council who own Hamlet Croft, plan to sell the venue for housing development.

Note Haverhill Rovers FC was founded in 1886, and first started playing at Hamlet Croft in 1913; having previously had a home at Seven Acres, an area bordered on two sides by the old railway line and Wratting Road, and property of the local Co-operative Society. In those early days the club rented the ground for £10 per season from a Mr Gurteen, who owned most of the town at that time. In 1926 the club became tenants of the Co-op again, when the ground was purchased from the original owner. The ground previously had a pronounced slope, which was finally removed around 1962 when the club was forced to play for a season at the local rec whilst the pitch was laid. The legacy of this development is the steep grass bank that runs along one side of the pitch, with all the facilities on its summit. Around this time, the club declined an offer to purchase Hamlet Croft, which they doubtless regret; and today have it on a long lease from the local council.

Hamlet Croft really is a delightful setting, reached by a lane that winds up around the bottom end of the pitch to the top of the bank. In recent years the stand, which cost £250 to build in 1935 and is of wood, steel and corrugated iron construction, has been refurbished (at least I think it’s still the original). It provides an excellent view, notwithstanding some roof supports, and looks splendid, with ‘HTFC’ carefully painted on to the steep black steps. The remainder of the ground is quite rural, with trees around its borders. The clubhouse, which doubles as a day nursery, and snack bar (‘The Rovers Return’!) are on either side of the stand. DB