Balmoral Stadium
(Cove Rangers)

Address: Wellington Circle,
Cove Bay,
Aberdeen,
Scotland,
AB12 3JG

Capacity: 2,602 (370 Seated)

Cove Rangers

Built for its tenant’s arrival into the Scottish Football League, this small ground is going to need to a lot of work done quickly if it is going to keep pace with its club’s rapid rise up the pyramid.

Taking its Balmoral name from the local Balmoral Group who acquired the naming rights in December 2016, it has been home to Cove Rangers Football Club since opening. The Wee Rangers spent nearly 70 years playing at Allan Park in Cove Bay. The ground could hold around 2,300 people, taking its name from a local farmer who sold the land to the club back in 1948. With Allan Park not meeting the licensing criteria for the Scottish Football Assocation, Cove Rangers went about the process of developing a new stadium for use in the Scottish Professional Football League. Their final game at Allan Park was in April 2015, with the ground sold to a housing developer.

A plan was submitted in 2016 for a ground that included a 312-seater stand, a 3G pitch and more than 100 parking spaces. Construction work on those plans began in October 2017, and the Balmoral Stadium was complete in the middle of 2018. Cove Rangers spend the 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons groundsharing with other clubs in Scotland. Their first game at the Balmoral Stadium was a friendly against Aberdeen in July 2018. The game wouldn’t finish however because of a serious injury.

Since the beginning of the 2021-22 season, the Balmoral Stadium has become home to Aberdeen Football Club Women, the women’s football club affiliated with Aberdeen Football Club.

Location and Getting There

The Balmoral Stadium is located in Cove Bay, around 2.5 miles southeast of Aberdeen City Centre. The ground is based on the edge of an industrial estate in Altens, with Kincorth Hill the other direction in the northwest.

Coming to the Balmoral Stadium by car is certainly possible.
There is a small car park in place outside the football ground’s Main Stand, but it is certainly possible to find free street parking on the roads around the nearby industrial estate.

Coming to the Balmoral Stadium by train is not as simple.
Aberdeen Station, served by ScotRail, LNER, CrossCountry and Caledonian Sleeper, is in the heart of Aberdeen and walking from here would take around an hour. What you can do instead however is make use of the Number 3 Thistle Line bus service. You can use the stop on Guild Street a little away from the train station and ride the bus to the Souter Head Road stop on Wellington Road (A956). From here you will need to head west across the roundabout, past the Shell garage, and north up Wellington Circle. The road heads round to a roundabout where the access road up to the Balmoral Stadium can be found.

Redmoss Road passes by the Balmoral Stadium’s western side, but it should not be used by those trying to reach the football ground’s turnstiles.

Outside the Ground

Heading along the access road will bring you into the Balmoral Stadium car park and up to the ground’s southern side.
The Main Stand can be found here, using a white base and coloured blue in its upper parts. This stand is named after Alan McRae, the honorary president of Cove Rangers and former president of the Scottish Football Association. You can find the ground’s Main Entrance in this centre of the Alan McRae Stand.
The rest of the southern side’s exterior is mostly made up of a perimeter fence, though you can find the two main turnstile blocks, one either side of the Alan McRae Stand.
A good-sized flat building is also in place over by the ground’s southwest corner which acts as a clubhouse.

Going in a clockwise direction from the Alan McRae Stand brings you to the Balmoral Stadium’s West End.
It is incredibly basic, with nothing but a perimeter fence along its exterior. People based on Redmoss Road are the ones who are able to get closest to it, but there is no real need as you will not find any turnstiles or exit gates on this side of the football ground.

Like the West End, the Balmoral Stadium’s North Side has an incredibly basic exterior, consisting of nothing more than a perimeter fence which its three small stands back right up to.
Immediately out beyond this North Side is the Redmoss Transmitter.

The East End at the Balmoral Stadium is the same as the West End.
It is incredibly basic, with nothing but a perimeter fence along its exterior. You will not find any turnstiles or exit gates on this side of the football ground, and indeed are not even able to get to it via any footpaths or roads.

Inside the Ground

The Alan McRae Stand consists of four blocks of blue seating with the letters CRFC spelt out in white across them. Glass windows up at the back of the seating area lead into a hospitality suite, and Cove Rangers’ matchday camera is also in place up here. You can find the ground’s tunnel down at the front and the changing rooms inside.
The high roof above the Alan McRae Stand has no supporting pillars coming down from it and so your view from anywhere inside is perfectly clear.
There are no windshields in place at either end though, with just small white walls in place to offer minimal protection from the sides.
The rest of the Balmoral Stadium’s southern side is a flat surface which fans are welcome to stand on, though they will have no overhead protection from any wind or rain. The two dugouts are based on this side of the football ground, split either side of the Alan McRae Stand.

The West End is incredibly basic, consisting simply of a flat surface that fans are permitted to stand anywhere along. They usually like to lean on the perimeter fence which runs around the pitch in order to get as close to the action as possible.
You won’t find any restriction to your view on this side of the Balmoral Stadium, but you will also have no overhead protection from any wind or rain.

The North Side contains three small stands split well apart from each other.
The middle stand is the smallest, consisting of two small blocks of blue seating. It provides perfectly clear views of the pitch, but you will not find windshields in place at either end.
The stands either side of this central stand contain several rows of standing terrace and are slightly larger. Like the central stand though, they also provide perfectly clear views of the pitch for those inside but do not have windshields in place at either end.
The rest of the North Side is a flat surface which fans are welcome to stand on, though they will have no overhead protection from any wind or rain.

The East End is the same as the West End opposite. It is incredibly basic, consisting simply of a flat surface that fans are permitted to stand anywhere along. They usually like to lean on the perimeter fence which runs around the pitch in order to get as close to the action as possible.
You won’t find any restriction to your view on this side of the Balmoral Stadium, but you will also have no overhead protection from any wind or rain.

Away Fans

Segregation isn’t always in place at the Balmoral Stadium, but when it is then the away section normally encompasses the East End and around half of the North Side. This provides away fans with a small covered stand which has several rows of standing terrace inside. The rest of the space in this away section is a flat surface which fans are welcome to stand on, though they will have no overhead protection from any wind or rain. Cove Rangers have also been known to allocate some of the seats in the Alan McRae Stand to the south, which provides clear, covered views of the pitch for those inside.

There are two sets of turnstiles at the Balmoral Stadium, both located either side of the Alan McRae Stand to the south. Given the away section is over to the east, away fans tend to use the turnstile block to the right of the Alan McRae Stand and then walk around to the part of the football ground that they wish to either stand or sit in.

Matchday Pubs

Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-Aitchie's Ale House (10 Trinity Street, AB11 5LY) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Aberdeen Station)

-The Clubhouse at the Balmoral Stadium (Away Supporters Welcome)

-The Hay Loft (9 Portland Street, AB11 6LN) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Aberdeen Station)

-The Wellington Hotel - Pub & Grill (Wellington Road, AB12 3GH) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)

*Drinking locations near the Balmoral Stadium are limited due to its location.

Overview

When Cove Rangers first moved into the Balmoral Stadium, the venue felt suitable for the level of football they were playing; a ground acceptable for Scottish Professional Football League standards. The rise of Cove Rangers since has left the Balmoral Stadium feeling simply too small to cope with higher crowd demands and very basic when compared to the stadium’s used by their league opponents.

Cove Rangers have addressed this, with a statement in the summer of 2022 announcing that the club are assessing options to expand the current Balmoral Stadium facilities. Two temporary stands are expected to be erected, aiding in the accommodation of fans under covered structures.

It’s good to know that the club are already seeking to improve the quality of their Cove Bay home, but if Cove Rangers stay at this level of the Scottish pyramid for a number of years, or potentially progress even further, then more major work on this small yet practical venue is going to be needed.
For now though, this place is truly like nothing else out there in the top two divisions of Scottish Football.

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