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Address: PTS Academy Stadium,
Capacity: 7,798 (All-Seater)
A nicely balanced and modern football ground, Sixfields Stadium is an ideal place to watch professional football.
Known as the PTS Academy Stadium for sponsorship reasons, it has been the home of Northampton Town Football Club since its opening in October 1994.
The Cobblers had previously called the County Cricket Ground home since they were formed in 1897, sharing its tenancy with Northamptonshire County Cricket Club.
The desire to have a more football-specific stadium came to fruition in the early 1990s, but the ground was not available for use until October of the 1994-95 season, having originally been scheduled to open at the beginning of that campaign.
Northampton Town’s first game at Sixfields Stadium was a 1-1 Third Division draw with Barnet on 15th October 1994.
In the 2013-14 season the stadium also played host to Coventry City Football Club following dispute about rent with the Coventry owners and the landlords of their normal home ground, the Ricoh Arena.
Location and Getting There
Sixfields gets its name from the area of Northampton it is based in and is around two miles west of the Town Centre. Franklin’s Gardens, home of Rugby Union club Northampton Saints, is less than one mile east of Sixfields Stadium. The Westgate Industrial Estate is up the hill north of the ground, whilst Sixfields Reservoir, the River Nene and part of the Grand Union Canal are all out beyond the southern side of the stadium.
Your best place to go for free parking is in the residential estate to the west of Sixfields Stadium.
I’ve personally found spaces off of the High Street, but you should be able to find spaces to park up deeper into the maze of roads.
Make sure where you go though does not have a parking restriction notice in place and that you are legally allowed to park your vehicle there.
Northampton Station is around 1.5 miles to the east and walking from there can either take you past Franklin’s Gardens or past Storton’s Pits on Edgar Mobbs Way, with either route taking upwards of 30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can take the 15A, D2 or D3 bus routes from close to the station and get off at the Sixfields Stadium stop, putting you up on the bank outside the North Stand.
Outside the Stadium
The North Stand is better known as the Dave Bowen Stand.
He was born on 7th June 1928 in Maesteg, Wales. Bowen made a handful of appearances for the Cobblers as a player, but as manager of the club he guided them from the old Fourth Division (now League Two) to the old First Division (now the Premier League) in just five seasons.
An iconic figure in Northampton Town's history, Dave Bowen passed away on 25th September 1995 at the age of 67.
The Dave Bowen Stand is at the bottom of a steep bank and there is a footpath which swings around the northwest corner of the ground as you move down to a lower level. You can get a very nice high-up view of Sixfields Stadium from anywhere atop this bank.
The stand is very plain in design, with brickwork at the base and iron higher up. The area immediately outside of the ground has been fenced off and now serves as the stand’s outer concourse, with the turnstiles based in both the northeast and northwest corners.
There are a couple of rows of parking spaces out beyond the Dave Bowen Stand, but Northampton have recently set up an activities area out here on the grass bank, offering a good variety of football-related games for young supporters to enjoy before making their way inside the stadium for the match.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the East Stand, which is the newest part of Sixfields Stadium. The stand is taller than the adjacent Dave Bowen Stand and has a full-size athletics track out the back of it.
When I first came here in March 2019, only part of the stand’s exterior was built and you could see its inner foundations, though much more progress has been made since then.
The South Stand mirrors the design of the Dave Bowen Stand opposite, though there are a few more boards and doors on this stand’s outer wall.
Turnstiles are at either end of the stand in the southeast and southwest corners. Like the Dave Bowen Stand, the area immediately outside this stand’s outer wall has been fenced off and is used as the outer concourse.
A few rows of car parking spaces can be found out beyond the South Stand, with Edgar Mobbs Way out beyond that.
A brick building in the southwest corner holds the stadium’s control box as well as the Northampton Town Club Shop and the Non-Matchday Ticket Office.
The West Stand is the largest and Main Stand at Sixfields Stadium.
Its exterior has a brickwork bottom half with corrugated iron and large glass windows higher up. A maze of grey bars that make up the stand’s cantilever roof comes up and down the back of the stand.
Northampton’s Reception and Matchday Box Office is based in the centre of the stand, with the 1897 Suite entrance over to the left of here and the Carr’s Bar entrance over to the right of here.
Turnstiles are spread across the West Stand’s outer wall.
Inside the Stadium
The Dave Bowen Stand consists of a single tier of claret coloured seats.
The stand’s very simple design provides perfectly clear views from any seat as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof.
Windshields are not in place at either end though and the space in the northeast and northwest corners is taken up by toilets and food stalls.
The East Stand consists of a single tier of claret seats with the letters NTFC spelt out in white across the blocks. Most of the stand is taken up by the executive boxes and balcony that has been constructed above the seating area.
The roof hangs over the whole East Stand and does not have any supporting pillars coming down from it, ensuring a clear view from any seat inside.
Much like the adjacent Dave Bowen Stand though, there are no windshields in place at either end and so fans are not protected from the sides.
The interior of the South Stand is very similar to the Dave Bowen Stand opposite.
It is a single tier of claret seats with no supporting pillars coming down from the roof and no windshields at either end.
The space in the southeast corner holds a large electronic screen that shows a live clock and scoreboard during the match, whilst the southwest corner is taken up by the stadium’s control box.
The West Stand is divided into two tiers, though you can freely get from one tier to the other.
Every seat inside this stand is coloured claret and the central blocks in the upper tier are the stand’s designated executive seating area.
The cantilever roof means that there are no supporting pillars coming down from the top of Sixfields' largest stand and it is the only one of the four to have windshields, which cover almost every row in both tiers.
The inner concourse of the West Stand makes use of the large glass windows which you can see into from outside. Northampton Town have a ‘games zone’ set up at the northern end of this concourse, offering further pre-match activities for young supporters to take part in before the match begins.
With this ‘games zone’ and the matchday activities on offer outside the Dave Bowen Stand, it is near enough impossible for children to be bored waiting for the game to kick-off.
Away fans are housed behind the goal in the South Stand.
Small crowds tend to congregate into the central blocks right behind the south goal, whilst larger crowds take up more seats in this stand.
Away supporters are given a good quality view of the action from here, and are already well segregated from the home fans in the rest of Sixfields Stadium.
The only downside to being in the South Stand is that it is difficult to see the scoreboard in the southeast corner, and so you cannot be sure exactly how much of the game has been played.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-Carr's Bar (Sixfields Stadium, NN5 5QA) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located within the West Stand)
-The Malt Shovel Tavern (121 Bridge Street, NN1 1QF) (Home and Away Supporters) (Located in more central Northampton and southeast of Northampton Station)
-The Sixfields Tavern (Walter Tull Way, NN5 5QL) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located atop the hill north of Sixfields Stadium)
-Tenpin Northampton (Sixfields Leisure, Weedon Road, NN5 5QL) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Admittedly a Bowling Alley but does have a bar inside and is located close to Sixfields Stadium itself)
*Several restaurants can also be found to the north and west of Sixfields Stadium.
Sixfields Stadium perhaps doesn’t get the credit it deserves because it isn't one of the largest, most well-known stadiums in England.
Every stand offers a clear view from every seat and whilst the exterior design isn’t anything special, the thing that matters most to a football ground is what it is like inside, and there are hardly any faults you can pick out across the four stands here.
The extra added touch of providing a whole host of pre-match activities for young supporters makes the matchday experience an enjoyable one for fans of all ages.
Sixfields Stadium is a football ground that you simply have to come and see a game at.
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