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Address: County Road,
Capacity: 15,728 (All-Seater)
Likely to be one of your simplest trips all season, this is a stadium that has several unique features and offers a different experience on every one of its four sides.
Currently known for sponsorship reasons as the Energy Check County Ground, the stadium dates back to the early 1890s.
The site, then known as the Wiltshire County Ground, had a stand built on it with money provided from Thomas Arkell of Arkell’s Brewery. Over the following decades, the County Ground grew in size, including the addition of floodlights in 1951, making it the first League stadium to have them installed, and the conversion to an all-seater venue in the 1990s.
Swindon Town Football Club, who had previously been playing on the cricket pitch adjacent to the County Ground, moved into the stadium in 1896 and have played here ever since.
Location and Getting There
The County Ground is located well within Swindon, roughly one mile northeast of the Town Centre. The home of Swindon Cricket Club, coincidentally also known as the County Ground, is still in use right outside the football stadium’s northern side, and the Swindon Athletics Track is also very close by, with Swindon Bowling Club less than 0.1 miles away to the east.
To the south of the County Ground is the Magic Roundabout, a tourist attraction within Swindon that consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle. It’s as crazy as it sounds…
With the County Ground located well within Swindon, coming to the stadium by car is certainly possible.
Parking spaces are available outside the County Ground’s western side, and Swindon Town also recommend trying out the car parks near to the Town Centre if these limited spaces aren’t available.
Street parking however should be possible with the abundance of roads around the ground, though do ensure that you are legally allowed to park on a particular street.
Swindon Station, served by Greater Western Rail, is close to the County Ground as well, with the walk from the station to the stadium taking between 10 and 15 minutes.
This is a very easily reachable stadium by either car or public transport.
Outside the Stadium
The majority of fans will approach the County Ground from its western side, bringing them first to its West Stand which is known as the Alan McLoughlin Town End.
Born in Manchester on 20th April 1967, McLoughlin played as a midfielder for nine clubs. His stint at Swindon Town was one of his most notable, arriving in 1986 and going on to win the Football League Third Division Play-Offs (the equivalent of modern day League One) in 1987 and the Football League Second Division Play-Offs (the equivalent of the modern day Championship) in 1990. McLoughlin scored the only goal in that 1990 Wembley win, though Swindon would not earn promotion from the game as they were later found guilty of illegal player payments.
Capped 42 times by the Republic of Ireland, scoring two International goals, Alan McLoughlin passed away on 4th May 2021 at the age of 54. He remains part of the Swindon Town Hall of Fame, and the West Stand at the County Ground has been named after him since August 2021, with additional stand sponsorship coming from Imagine Cruising.
The Alan McLoughlin Town End is the smallest of the four stands, with its exterior dominated mostly by a white brick and red trim on its roof. This brick wall has advertising boards in place, and you can also find a Ticket Collection Point and Information Point along here.
A brick building next to the Alan McLoughlin Town End in the stadium’s southwest corner holds Swindon Town’s Box Office and Club Shop.
The opposite end of the Alan McLoughlin Town End in the stadium’s northwest corner holds the stand’s turnstiles, and out beyond the Alan McLoughlin Town End is the County Ground’s main car park.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you the North Stand, which is known as the Arkell’s John Trollope Stand.
Born within the Borough of Swindon on 14th June 1943, Trollope spent his entire playing career with Swindon Town as a left-back. Making 770 appearances for the Robins between 1960 and 1980, he holds the record the most Football League appearances made for one single club. Trollope was part of the Swindon team which won the League Cup in 1969, beating Arsenal 3-1 in the final, and later went on to manage the club between 1981 and 1983.
In various roles, John Trollope has been associated with Swindon Town for nearly 40 years.
Much taller than the adjacent Alan McLoughlin Town End, the Arkell's John Trollope Stand's exterior consists mostly of a red and white base with corrugated iron higher up. Considered the Main Stand at the County Ground, you can find entrances for the Legends Lounge and Robins Suite near to the stadium’s northwest corner. The Main Reception and Players Entrance are based more towards the middle of the exterior, with the Press Entrance and Bar 71 based over towards the other end of the stand, near to the Away Ticket Sales Point. The Cecil Green Suite, named after the former Swindon Town chairman, can be found between Turnstiles 7-8 and Turnstiles 9-10 on this side of the stadium.
Turnstiles into the Arkell’s John Trollope Stand itself can be found along the exterior.
The East Stand is known as the Stratton Bank, taking its name from the area of Swindon out beyond it.
It’s the only uncovered side of the County Ground, with its exterior consisting mostly of a large Swindon Town mural that runs alongside a path in the nearby Foundation Park. The Swindon Town FC Community Foundation is in place at the other end of this park.
The turnstiles for the Stratton Bank can be found in the stadium’s northeast corner, next to the Arkell’s John Trollope Stand and the Away Ticket Sales Point.
There used to be turnstiles off Shrivenham Road in the stadium’s southeast corner. They are still in place but are no longer in use. Head past these and you can find another large Swindon Town mural before you reach the County Ground's South Stand.
The South Stand is named after Don Rogers.
Somerset-born, Rogers was an outside left (similar to a modern-day left-winger) who played more than 400 times for Swindon Town across two spells between 1961 and 1977, scoring over 140 goals for the Robins, including two in extra-time of the 1969 League Cup Final when Swindon Town beat Arsenal 3-1.
The Don Rogers Stand, which has held that name since the start of the 2008-09 season, has an exterior consisting of a brickwork base with white corrugated iron higher up and a cantilever roof on top. You can also see the underside of the stand’s upper rows from outside as well. The J-Town Room for Junior Red Members is at one end of the stand near to the stadium’s southeast corner, and inside the stand itself is Digby’s Bar.
Turnstiles can be found along the exterior of the Don Rogers Stand, with a row of trees and field out beyond it.
Inside the Stadium
The Alan McLoughlin Town End consists of a single tier of entirely red seating, with a flat platform for disabled supporters based down at the front of Blocks 4 and 5 next to the stadium’s northwest corner.
Supporting pillars come down at regular intervals along the front of the stand, and these will restrict your view if you are sat in the rows behind them. Block 1 next to the stadium’s southwest corner has additionally restrictions in place by the location of one of the stadium’s floodlights.
The southwest corner itself is taken up by the building holding Swindon’s Box Office and Club Shop, and that building is additionally used to hold the Stadium Control Box. The southwest floodlight is therefore in place directly above the Alan McLoughlin Town End and some of the tower comes down in front of Block 1.
Windshields cover the back rows at either end of the Alan McLoughlin Town End, but the rows down towards the front are left exposed from the sides.
Despite the notable viewing restrictions in place here, the Alan McLoughlin Town End has become a popular place for Swindon Town’s most vocal supporters to be housed on a matchday.
The Arkell’s John Trollope Stand consists of two tiers of entirely red seating. The lower tier is noticeably smaller than the upper tier but it is possible to freely move between one tier and the other. At the front of blocks 4, 5 and 6 in the upper tier are darker coloured seats that are in use for executives. One thin block in the upper tier, near to the stadium’s northeast corner, no longer has seating in place there as this block is next to the stand’s away section, originally separated from it by nothing more than a white fence.
Down at the front at either end of the Arkell’s John Trollope Stand are flat platforms for disabled supporters to use. Swindon Town’s changing rooms, dugouts and tunnel can all be found in the middle of this stand.
Your view from most of the Arkell’s John Trollope Stand is perfectly clear, but there are two pillars in place, one either side of the executive seating area, and these will likely restrict your view slightly if you are sat up towards the back of the stand. If you are sat in the front rows of the upper tier or anywhere in the lower tier, the pillars will not restrict your view at all.
Large windshields at either end protect all the rows in the upper tier, but there is nothing in place to protect the blocks in the lower tier.
The Stratton Bank consists entirely of red seating, with the seating blocks split into two rows that you can freely get between.
High up behind the back row of this stand is an electronic scoreboard that can best be seen by everyone else inside the stadium, and next to this electronic scoreboard is a large Rolex clock that is owned by Deacon’s Jewellers. It is the only Rolex clock in the World that is part of a football stadium.
As the only uncovered stand at the County Ground, protection from the elements when in the Stratton Bank is minimal, with just a fence in place up at the back and at the far end. It can be a nice place during a bright, sunny matchday at the start or end of a season, but in the wintertime or for late night matches, it’s perhaps the worst place in the stadium to be.
The Don Rogers Stand consists of two tiers of red seating, with the lower tier much, much smaller than the tier above it. You are however freely able to get between the upper and lower tiers via staircases.
The letters SWINDON are spelt out in white across the upper tier blocks, and down at the very front of the stand’s westernmost side are flat platforms for disabled supporters to use. Additionally, you can find the gantry holding the matchday camera right up at the very back of the stand.
Your view from anywhere inside the Don Rogers Stand is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above, but windshields at either end only protect the back rows of the upper tier. The rows in front of here are left exposed from the sides.
The location of away fans at the County Ground depends on the allocation.
Smaller crowds, usually up to around 1,200 people, are housed in the Arkell’s John Trollope Stand, taking up the upper and lower tier blocks that are nearest to the stadium’s northeast corner. These blocks are separated from the ones used for home supporters by a white fence and rows of stewards or large sheets on a matchday. As described in the ‘Inside the Stadium’ section, the upper tier block next to this white fence does not have any seats in place, and this is done to further segregate the home supporters in the Arkell’s John Trollope Stand from the away section.
Views of the pitch from this section of the stand are very good, though there is a slight chance that a supporting pillar could partially restrict your view if you are up towards the back.
The adjacent Stratton Bank is often closed on a matchday and is only opened when very large away crowds are expected.
The Stratton Bank is based behind the eastern goal and is the only one of the four stands at the County Ground which doesn’t have a roof overhead, so whilst views for away fans in here are perfectly clear, there is next to nothing that can protect them from any wind or rain that is present.
I suggest if you have a seat in the Stratton Bank to prepare for the worst and hope for the best when it comes to the weather!
Pubs available to supporters include:
-Bar 71 (SN1 2ED) (Away Supporters Only) (Located near the Away Turnstiles in the Arkell's Stand) (Can fill quickly on a matchday)
-The County Ground Hotel (115 County Road, SN1 2EB) (Typically Home Supporters Only) (Located very close to the County Ground itself)
-The Glue Pot (5 Emlyn Square, SN1 5BP) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located southwest of Swindon Station)
-The Merlin (Drove Road, SN1 3AF) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located south of the Magic Roundabout)
-Swindon Cricket Club (The County Ground, County Road, SN1 2ED) (Home and Away Supporters) (Located close to the County Ground itself) (Not usually open on evening matches or when the Cricket Club are playing)
-The Tap and Barrel (115 Manchester Road, SN1 2AJ) (Home Supporters Only) (Located east of Swindon Station)
The Country Ground is a stadium that can certainly offer you a very good matchday experience, but you need to be careful as to where you choose to go inside.
Its West Stand has a lot of seats with restricted views, particularly in the block that’s right underneath one of the stadium’s floodlight towers, whilst its East Stand at the opposite end is the only one of the four with no roof overhead.
For clear views, your best place to go would be the Don Rogers Stand to the South, but the Arkell’s John Trollope Stand opposite is the place to go if you like being close to the away support or the team’s dugouts.
Regardless of which side of the County Ground you pick however, getting here by car or public transport is very simple and likely to be one of the easiest trips that you’ll do all season. It’s impressive number of disabled platforms as well makes this an extremely accessible stadium for everyone.
There’s a little bit of everything on offer at the County Ground, both inside and out. Well worth the visit.
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