Grounsell Park

The Stan’s home ground is Grounsell Park, which sits on Newton Road in the High Heaton area of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Grounsell Park
Newton Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE7 7HP

In October 1935, we started playing at Newton Park in High Heaton on the site of a recently filled-in quarry. In 2007, the ground was renamed Grounsell Park in honour of the service given, both on and off the pitch, by Bob Grounsell.

Grounsell Park is a NLS Step 6 graded stadium and consists of:

  • A club house which features an award-winning bar serving real ales, a large lounge/function room, a committee board room and toilet facilities.
  • A modern changing room block containing home & away changing rooms, two officials changing rooms, kit room, washer room and our cafe selling Stan Scran on a match day
  • Covered terracing with fully accessible access via ramps
  • Large car parks
  • A 50-seater covered stand

History

The club had a number of previous grounds including Miller Lane, Paddy Freeman’s and, until 1935, the Coast Road ground between Chillingham Road and the current Benfield Road which had seen a changing hut extension built in 1933. In 1934, what was to become the Stan’s new ground on Newton Road was still the site of the former Newton stone quarry. In May 1910, there had been calls in the local press for the pond in the quarry to fenced off and a ‘Danger’ board erected after a boy was recused from drowning. The late Stoddart Gilroy, a former Stan club member, often recalled swimming in the quarry pool as a child. In 1934 the club wrote to the owner LordArmstrong about the quarry’s availability. Originally the solicitor involved, Vincent Thompson, ‘did not fancy football’ & would have preferred another sports club to make use of the site such as for tennis. By August 1934 the Stan had agreed to rent Newton Park for 10 years & keys were handed over. At this stage the site was still a 70 foot deep quarry & arrangements were made to fill it in with earth and ashes from the new Benton Hall estate development and be levelled out with over 8000 square yards of turf. The lease stated that if there were complaints during 1935-36 that playing football ‘disturbs the amenities of the locality then the agreement shall be void.’ Gates were installed which cost 14/10.

High Heaton 1927: Newton Quarry is in the upper left of the photograph

The Stan’s last home match at the Coast road ground took place on 21 September 1935 in ‘heavy rain’ & saw the Stan beat Seghill Colliery 5-1. The Newton Park ground was supposed to have been ready for August, but delays meant that the first match did not take place until 12 October 1935. The opening of the ground was at 2.30 in the afternoon by Club President and ex-player C.H.P. Reay. The Northern Amateur League (NAL) division one match against Swan Hunters kicked off at 3pm and the Stan won 5-1 (half time 3-0) with the Stan scorers Ranson (3), Young & Thompson. The Journal report stated that ‘Heaton were worthy winners but the score flattered them.’ The 2nd match saw the Stan beat Byker Brotherhood 7-3 (half time 2-2) & at the end of the season the Stan won their 1st major trophy (NAL Challenge Cup) & the following season won their 1st league title.

For the 1939-40 season, the Stan joined the prestigious Northern League and were the 1st team from north of the Tyne to do so for over 20 years. After only 1 season, the league was suspended from 1940 until end of World War 2. From 1940 until 1946, the ground was used by the military and for a while, Italian prisoners of war were located there. On the night of 16-17 September 1940, German bombs missed Newton Park by about 200 yards but destroyed houses around the corner in Cleveland Gardens. Because Newton Park was still being used by the military, the Stan were non-playing members of the Northern League 45-46 and rejoined 46-52. In 1948, Newton Park was sold to the club and held by trustees. £1300 of the £2000 cost was borrowed from the Football Association. In the 1950s, a wooden stand was built at the ground. In 1968, Heaton Stannington Sports Club Ltd was formed which was meant to benefit the club & the club house was built. A year later the ground was conveyed to the new company & the football team now had to pay rent. 1969 also saw the end of the covenant prohibiting alcohol sales.

In 1972, Heaton Stannington stepped up to the Wearside League where they remained for 10 years. In 1982, the annual rental increased from £400 to £1500 & the additional financial burden forced the team to resign from the Wearside League. A property company, Ladylaw Holdings, placed a planning application to build a supermarket on Newton Park with the Sports Club agreeing to sell it. The football club opposed the application & were given 3 months’ notice to quit the ground. The application was dismissed by the Council despite going to appeal & this led to court action by the trustees and developers. A number of club members used their homes as security to cover the potential legal costs of opposing the development. On the 26 of May 1983, the sale was stopped by a High Court injunction. The High Court eventually ruled that the ground belonged to the football club & the sports club company had to relinquish ownership. The new constitution prohibited individuals from benefiting from the ground’s sale. The original landlord offered to buy Newton Park & offered the club a new ground in Coach Lane but this was turned down. In 1988 Newton Park ownership was sorted out completely which allowed the redevelopment of the ground to be considered.

In the early 1990s, former Newcastle United portacabins were installed as the new changing rooms. Prior to this the changing rooms were two wooden huts. One had an old-fashioned bath in the middle of the room which had to be hand filled with hot water & each player had to wait their turn. In 1999 the new clubhouse, which was built by volunteer club members, was opened allowing the original bar ro become a function room. In 2006 new changing rooms and a garage for the club tractor were built. In 2007, Newton Park was renamed Grounsell Park in memory of the late Bob Grounsell whose roles had included player, groundsman & club official & in practice he was ‘Mr Heaton Stannington’. One of the most memorable matches played there took place on 22 July 2012 when Heaton Stannington were beaten 4-0 by the Gabon national side. This warm-up match for the Olympics included an appearance by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. In 2012-13 the team had their most successful season to date when they won a treble of trophies and rejoined the Northern League. During 2013, ground Improvements were undertaken including a hard surround, a turnstile and new dugouts. On 28 December 2013, after construction delays, the floodlights were turned on for the first time in a match against Willington. On 14 January 2014, the Stan played their first ever evening floodlit match at Grounsell Park against Brandon. On 1 March 2014, the new 50 seat stand was opened for first time for a match against Esh Winning. In 2015, FA Cup football returned to the ground after 39 years.

This quirky little ground is a key part of the local community & its bar and pool room is usually open six nights a week & has been voted the Campaign for Real Ale Tyneside Club of the year 2018 & 2020.There are allotments round the edge of the pitch and car park spaces are rented by employees of the Freeman Hospital and civil servants. The ground is used for lower league cup finals and the club house is rented out for functions and for meetings by various local organisations.