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The Jolly Sailor and The Lamb



Tamworth FC played their first games in the 1933-34 season at the Jolly Sailor ground, behind the pub of the same name on the corner of the Bonehill and Fazeley Roads by Ladybridge. Maps back to 1902 show the presence of a football ground on this site.
 
1932 Ordnance Survey Map

A season later, despite a fair amount of earth work being undertaken at the Jolly Sailor, a new ground was sourced and Tamworth made a short move easterly across the river Tame to start the 1934/35 season at the Lamb ground off Kettlebrook Road. This site has been used ever since with the facilities steadily improving as the club has grown.
  Kettlebrook Road

The first known use of the Kettlebrook Road site was as a pig farm at the turn of the 19th century. It is believed that Kettlebrook Oakfield F.C. used the ground prior to the arrival of Tamworth F.C. although a football ground is not marked on any maps until 1938.

The ground takes its name from the Lamb Inn (see above), which stood for many years at the entrance to what is now the car park and in early days of the club, players had to change in the Lamb Inn and run down to the pitch.

 

1938 OS Map
1938 Ordnance Map

 

A clothing factory and allotments are clearly visible around the ground on older maps where the “Egg” road network now runs although the overall size of land upon which the Lamb ground stands has changed little in the past century.   Castle End

 The Lamb acquired its floodlights in 1969 from Scarborough F.C. and Football League side Gillingham were invited to play a friendly fixture to mark the official switch-on of the floodlights. This may seem a strange choice of opponents, but ‘The Gills’ were invited because they were the club's first Football League opposition in the F.A. Cup. The original pylons are still in place today although one of the 10 original pylons was removed to make way for the current main stand when it was constructed in 1996.
 

The new Main Stand provides covered seating including wheelchair spaces, designated areas for club officials and a press box. The stand was constructed with the future in mind and has already been extended. If the Lambs relocate to a new stadium, the stand can easily be dismantled and moved to a new site. The stand is located on the northern side of the ground, looking south across the pitch with the town centre behind. Prior to the existing stand, wooden seating was provided in the same location, in a long low stand built in the 1940s.

  Main Stand

Surprisingly, none of the four sides of the ground have ever been officially named. A number of common names have been used over time and most parts of the Lamb are be referred to by several names. The Stand Side is also known as the North Side, the Popular Side and the Town Side, for example.

Opposite the Main Stand on the Kettlebrook Side of the ground is a long terrace, commonly known as the Shed and home to the infamous Shed Choir. This structure is one of the oldest parts of the ground and is clearly visible on photographs dating from the early 1950s. Due to its low roof and metal construction, the Shed has become home to a number of the club's more vociferous supporters. With both the home and away team dugouts on this side of the pitch, the atmosphere in the Shed can be very lively. At the western end of the Shed is the players 'tunnel', which separates the clubhouse from the terrace. Entrance to the Shed side of the ground is possible via turnstiles in Cross Street.

  Lond Stand
At the opposite end of the pitch is the Castle End, which is a large open terrace which was once a grass bank. Work on this terracing was undertaken at the same time as the Main Stand was constructed, in the summer of 1996. It was intended that this terrace would also be covered, but suitable foundations could not be built and it remains open to the elements.   Castle End

The Meadow Street End of the ground is now used to house visiting supporters and used to be home to a brick built tea hut which was demolished in the 1990s when a new covered terrace was constructed.
Before its relocation inside the ground, the clubhouse was sited on what is now the car park, in a building that resembled a long green shed. In those days, the venue provided a very popular night-spot for the town's residents.

  Disco

Changing rooms and offices are situated adjacent to the clubhouse, behind the Shed. The changing rooms are portable and were obtained from Salisbury City when work on their Raymond McEnhill Stadium was completed.
Catering facilities are located at the Castle End by the clubhouse in a purpose built extension to the clubhouse, partly funded by Tamworth FC Supporters Club and when segregation is in operation, additional catering is can be sited in the Meadow Street enclosure.

 


Map extracts courtesy of Ordnance Survey

 

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