Address: Rodney Road,
Capacity: Typically 7,850 for Association Football (4,744 Seated)
If you’re in one of the stands on the sides of the pitch, Rodney Parade provides a perfectly fine matchday experience. If you’re in one of the stands behind the goals, it’s a different story.
The ground has been home to Newport County Association Football Club since May 2012, when the Exiles moved from Newport Stadium where they had been since 1994.
The Rodney Parade site however dates much further back, first being purchased in 1877 by Newport Athletics Club and being used for their cricket, tennis, rugby and athletics teams.
Newport Rugby Football Club played their first game here against Cardiff Rugby Football Club in 1879 and have used the ground ever since.
Newport Gwent Dragons, a regional rugby union team, was formed in 2003 and also uses Rodney Parade for home matches.
The football ground is therefore shared between two rugby clubs and one association football club.
Location and Getting There
Rodney Parade is part of a multi-sports complex less than 0.5 miles east of Newport City Centre. The River Usk is even closer, with its banks just a few hundred metres away from the ground’s western side. Newport City Footbridge goes from the southwest corner of the football ground to the Kingsway Shopping Centre, with the University of South Wales Newport City Campus and The Riverfront Theatre also close by.
I’d recommend staying on the east side of the River Usk if you are looking for parking spaces.
There is an abundance of streets near the ground, but they are quite tight and finding space that you are legally allowed to park in gets easier the further away you go.
It should not be too much of an issue though.
Newport Station is very well placed on the west side of the River Usk and walking from there can take no longer than 15 minutes across the nearby bridge, down Rodney Road, and then across Grafton Road to the complex entrance.
Outside the Ground
Heading through these two black gates on Grafton Road brings you into the northernmost area of the complex.
Right in front of you is the Newport County Shop and Main Ticket Office in a large brick building. Most of the space inside this building is taken up by the Rodney Hall function room and offices for the Dragons Rugby Club.
In front of the brick building is a large grass training area that is floodlit for use at night.
Another brick building to the west of this grass pitch holds the Newport Squash Club, and to the south is a large tent that holds the Family Zone on a matchday.
Fans park up all the way along the road which rings around the floodlit grass pitch, but official parking spaces are on the east side with the Newport County Club Offices next door.
The North Stand of Rodney Parade is beyond the Family Zone tent.
Better known as the North Terrace, it has a very plain outer wall and the turnstiles leading inside are in the northwest corner.
You do have to be inside the Rodney Parade complex to reach the North Terrace turnstiles, but there is a shortcut through the fence off Rodney Road that you can take. It’s particularly useful if you are coming from the Newport City Footbridge and don’t want to have to walk all the way around to the Grafton Road gates.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the East Stand, which is known for sponsorship reasons as the Bisley Stand.
A row of houses along Corporation Road runs along the back of the stand, so you cannot see much of its silver, panelled exterior.
There is an entrance into this stand on Corporation Road, but it is only in use when Dragons Rugby Club are playing. When Newport County are playing, you can find the turnstiles next to the ground’s northeast corner, close to the Family Zone Tent.
Newport Rugby Football Club’s Offices and Ticket Office are in a building attached to the Bisley Stand in the northeast corner, and the turnstiles for the stand’s away blocks are at the opposite end of the football ground in the southeast corner.
The South End of Rodney Parade has a walkway running out the back of it, allowing fans to get from Corporation Road on the east side of the ground to Rodney Road on the west side.
The away turnstiles that lead to both the South End seating area and the away blocks of the Bisley Stand are based off this walkway in the southeast corner.
At the other end in the southwest corner is a square building with a pyramid roof. This holds the viewing lounge, along with the changing rooms for players and officials. The building is surrounded by a tall metal fence and no supporters are allowed into here.
The West Stand is known for sponsorship reasons as the Compeed Stand.
Rodney Road runs right along the outside of it, and the exterior here is made up of large silver panels with a black strip up towards the top.
The turnstiles for the stand’s seating area (Gate 2) are based at the opposite end of the stand to the viewing lounge building, and continuing along Rodney Road brings you to the shortcut that allows you to quickly get into the sports complex and reach the northwest turnstiles.
Inside the Ground
The North Terrace is a single tier of standing terrace that has no roof overhead or windshields on the sides. Three rows of metal bars are in place across the rows of terracing for fans to lean on.
You have a perfectly clear view from anywhere inside, but absolutely no protection from the elements.
There is a very small box of seats next to the northeast corner but these are considered to be part of the Bisley Stand more than the North Terrace.
Given Rodney Parade is in use by rugby teams as well as football teams, there is a large amount of space between the North Terrace and the goal, so you can feel a long way from the action here when the game is taking place.
The Bisley Stand is single-tiered.
All the seats inside are randomly coloured either black, red or yellow, although some of these yellow seats have lost their colour slightly and appear to more cream under the stand’s lights.
A row of executive boxes runs along the back of the Bisley Stand and the two back rows of seats make up the reserved blocks for each of these boxes.
Above the central boxes is the mezzanine which holds the matchday camera, and the hospitality suite is based above the Dragons Ticket Office in the northeast corner.
There are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof, ensuring a clear view from any seat inside the Bisley Stand.
The Hospitality Suite acts as a windshield for the stand at one end, but the end next to the southeast corner is left open and unprotected.
The South End is split into two sets of green seating. One is wider than the other, but both go as equally far back.
There used to be a two-tiered building behind the South End seating area, but this has now gone and there is a large electronic screen there instead.
Much like the North Terrace opposite, the South End is completely uncovered with no roof or walls protecting any of the seats. On a matchday, you will feel all of the wind and the rain if it is present.
There is also a large amount of open space between the front of the South End and the goal, as the pitch has to be big enough for both rugby and football matches. You can feel a long way away from the action taking place as a result.
Rodney Parade’s tunnel is based in the southwest corner of the football ground, and continuing round from there brings you to the Compeed Stand.
It is split into two sections, with standing terrace down the front and red seating blocks higher up at the back.
The Compeed Stand only runs along half of the pitch, with the other half made up of uncovered standing terrace, and tends to only be used when none of the covered standing terrace is available.
Supporting pillars come down at the front of the Compeed Stand and will restrict the view of those behind.
A windshield is in place next to the southwest corner, but the other side of the covered area is left completely open.
The location of away fans at Rodney Parade depends on the size of the travelling crowd.
Small followings are kept in a couple of blocks of the Bisley Stand, over by the southeast corner. Larger crowds are kept here and then also housed in the South End blocks.
This means that some fans get the luxury of having a roof over their head, whilst others don’t.
My suggestion regardless is to bring plenty of layers and prepare yourself for the worst possible outcome!
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-The Blu Sports Bar and Victoria Hotel (161 Corporation Road, NP19 0BJ) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Admittedly not that most appealing place, but located close to Rodney Parade itself)
-The Excelsior Institute (209 Corporation Road, NP19 0EB) (Away Supporters Welcome)
-The Godfrey Morgan (158 Chepstow Road, NP19 8EG) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The John Wallace Linton (Cambrian Road, NP20 4AX) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Newport Station)
-The Queens Hotel (Bridge Street, NP20 4AN) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Newport Station)
-The Tiny Rebel (22 High Street, NP20 1FX) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Newport Station)
*Pubs within close range of Rodney Parade itself are limited in number. The recommendation would be to look for a drink in Central Newport before making your way to the football ground.
There isn’t another football ground like Rodney Parade in the UK.
All four stands vary differently in shape and design, and this makes it one of the places that you have to visit more than once in order to get the full experience of.
The Bisley Stand to the east is the best for views, but the Compeed Stand opposite is the place to go for matchday atmosphere when Newport County are playing.
Rodney Parade is certainly something different to other football grounds out there, but that’s what makes it so unique.