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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

Pilkington XXX FC

Triplex Sports Ground, Eckersall Road, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 8SR
Telephone: 0121 458 4570
Nickname: Pilks / The Glassmen
Midland Football Combination

Note The ground was originally the works ground for Triplex Safety Glass of the Birmingham Works AFA. Between 1956-58 there was a huge levelling project which created three rows of terracing, with banking behind, on three sides of the pitch (the local cricket club is also based at the ground).

The now defunct Richmond Swifts FC (previously Swift Personalised Products FC) developed the ground. The club enjoyed a meterioric rise through the ranks of the Midland Combination, and won three successive championships & promotions. Having been required to build a stand in order to guarantee promotion to the Premier Division in 1996 they, as Colin Peel notes in his 1996 West Midlands Guide, “disappointingly opted for substance over style”. Construction of the tall steel shelter necessitated excavation of part of the eastern bank which runs along the railway side of the ground.  Although there were originally two separate dugouts further along the touchline, these have since been linked with a covered area for the respective club officials in between: a most unusual arrangement.

Ironically, having built the cover, Richmond Swifts vacated the ground and shared with Oldbury United at their ground in Warley because they were unable to get permission for floodlights that are now in place. There are approximately 40 seats in the stand, albeit at too low a level to offer an elevated view. Interestingly, they are now placed towards one end of the cover whereas originally they stretched along its full length. The cover now incorporates a number of ‘crush barriers’ that are more useful for leaning on, than for any health & safety purpose.

Swifts’ place was ultimately taken by Pilkington XXX, whose name was changed from Burman Hi-Ton in 2002, presumably to reflect their new home at the Triplex Ground.  Writing in 1996, Colin Peel noted plans of the parent company Pilkington’s plans to sell the ground. However, these have clearly not yet come to fruition and the first team of Cadbury United FC were also playing at the ground at the time of writing as their own ground does not possess lights. DB