Stadium Spotlight: Portland Park, Ashington
A few weeks ago, fans of Ashington AFC gathered to bury a time capsule filled with memorabilia from one hundred years of their history at the site of their old ground, Portland Park, where they had begun play in 1909. The stadium was named in honour of the Duke of Portland, who owned the land. The club is nicknamed the Colliers, as Ashington is a mining town in Northumberland, the north-east of England. Ashington AFC are one of the oldest clubs still playing today, founded in 1883.
The club were elected to the Football League in 1921, and money was raised to add concrete terracing, a tea room and a press box to the stadium. A crowd of 10,000 showed up to their inaugural Football League match.
Ashington finished bottom of the Football League in 1929 in the midst of a miners strike in Ashington, and lost their place in the league, never to return. They continued to play non-league football, with redevelopment of Portland Park into an oval shape to allow greyhound racing to pay the bills. One FA Cup run did see a record crowd of over 13,000 turn out in 1951.
Development plans forced Ashington out of their historic stadium in 2008, the last game at Portland Park in February of that year attracting a crowd of almost 2,000, and the ground was recently demolished. The capsule buried by fans will be dug up again one hundred years from now. With permission from stephen.lewins, below are some final shots of Portland Park in its derelict state last year.