The stadium itself is relatively small but generates a real football atmosphere. The main stand is fully seated but with the exception of a small row of seats at the from of the Clayton Terrace, all 3 others are terracing. The 'Stanley Ultras' stand behind the goal opposite the away fans and generate a lot of noise.
Visiting supporters are situated in the Coppice Terrace behind one of the goals and are open to the elements as the stand has no roof. The Whinney Hill Stand is also allocated to away fans if demand for tickets is high. Both are standing only.
Crown Ground seating plan:
The main away fan's pub which is a few minutes from the ground and is called The Whittakers Arms. It is situated just 200 yards away from the old Peel Park ground from the 1960's era of Stanley, so you football historians out there may want to take a peek at that. They do a selection of home-cooked meals in the pub or restaurant and have great facilities including pool table, beer garden, sky sports, darts and lots more besides. Walking distance from the ground us about 20 minutes, in a car around 5 minutes.
The Crown Inn on Whalley Road which virtually overlooks the ground offers a warm welcome to all supporters. The Crown's lease has recently been taken over by Accrington Stanley and has undergone redecoration and will at some point in the near future become a Stanley themed pub, featuring memorabilia and photographs from the past to present day.
There are 300 spaces available at the stadium, though the entrance is tight and is very slow getting in and out. There is off street parking all around the ground, but right next door is a large field which is available for match day parking. At £2 a pop it's not a bad bet if you're in a rush or not interested in walking in from a distance on one of the busier days.
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The nearest / closest train station to the Crown Ground, is Accrington. This is approx 20 minutes walk from the ground. Leave the station and proceed down the hill passing the main Blackburn road, follow the road down the hill passing the King Street Pub on your left, follow the road down to the main roundabout, cross over the road and head up the hill passing the Aldi supermarket still on your left.
At the top of the hill turn left into Whalley Road. Follow this road straight on through the traffic lights, the Grey Horse and the Oaklea pubs are 300 metres through the lights. Carry on straight along Whalley Road over the mini roundabout for approx 200 metres. Livingstone Road is on your right, turn down Livingstone Road and the ground is on your left.
Rivals - Burnley, Blackburn, Rochdale, Bury
Travel: In a damning indication of the Fylde coast roads and the traffic problems, it took us longer to get from Fleetwood to the M55 (a distance of 12 miles) than it did to get from the M55 to Accrington (a distance of 30 miles). Despite this, we were there in less than an hour on the supporters coach. The first thing to notice of the ground was how sunken it was in relation to the adjacent main road. The second thing was how small and narrow the road for away coach parking was. Even with only five coaches, it was a struggle getting them all turned around and parked up. I get the impression that if there were any more away coaches, then some would need to be parked haphazardly.
Refreshments: We had plenty of time to kill, so went to the Crown pub that overlooks the ground. With it being the only pub within the immediate vicinity, it was heaving with both sets of fans. Nevertheless, the service was fine and there was never any problems between the fans, who were all mingling about with one another.
Impressions: The Wham Stadium gets a lot of stick on some of the League 1 social media pages but I really like the ground. The mish-mash of different stands gives a really unique feel and the benefit of a small stadium is that you're close to the pitch wherever you are. The away end is an open terrace which is fine on a sunny day in March but probably less so on a rainy November day. The new Eric Whalley Stand on one side is a very nice build, and the facilities at the back of it were top notch, with a spacious area and several sheltered bar tables offering a bit of practicality for the fans. All four of us had tickets for this stand, but in the second half I and my brother moved into the open terrace for the atmosphere. It was easy enough to do with 478 away fans present but you might struggle to move between the stands if its a sold out away allocation.
Atmosphere: In what has proved to be typical fashion this season, the first half was a really poor affair. Too few chances created and too many cynical fouls made by both teams. The atmosphere from both sets of fans which had started off fine, dissipated as the half went on. The second half was a lot better though. Five minutes in, Fleetwood's on-loan Stoke centre half Harry Souttar powered in a header from a corner and sent the Fleetwood fans into raptures. From there the atmosphere in the away end really ramped up. It was party mode for us, with singing, bouncing and the occasional lighting up of a smoke bomb. I must say, the stewards were excellent in the sense that they never approached or confronted anyone, instead, allowing any friction to disappear by shaking hands with some of the fans at the final whistle, and letting the police talk to anyone with the smoke bombs. The game was a far better spectacle in the second half, with more chances for both teams (Though some of the questionable tackling still remained). While Barton's post-match suggestion that we were disappointed not to have scored 3 or 4 was a bit over exaggerated, if another goal was scored, it was probably more likely to have been a Fleetwood second than an Accrington equaliser. The pitch was in a really poor condition, so I can see why there are efforts being made to replace it in time for the final few games of the season. Any home advantage is surely being undermined the state of the pitch, which has more rough terrain than a Lake District walk.
Exit: Although there were no altercations in the ground, once outside, there was a couple of extremely unpleasant confrontations between a handful of Fleetwood and Accrington supporters- not something I'd ever thought I'd see between two generally well behaved and good natured sets of fans. It soured the day a little, especially seeing families and children not too far aware from the confrontations. After a few minutes, we set off back for Fleetwood and were back within 50 minutes.
Enjoy: The unsavoury scenes after the game, coupled with a social media spat between Joey Barton and Accrington's chairman, has probably soured relations between the two clubs somewhat which is a shame because I really enjoyed the away day (Probably one of the best I've ever been on) and I do have a soft spot for Accrington Stanley and all their hard work battling adversity and getting into League 1. I hope they aren't relegated come May as it will be a ground that I will more than likely visit whenever Fleetwood plays there. In the meantime, it keeps faint play off hopes alive for Fleetwood whilst virtually ended any lingering relegation worries.
Ground Name: Crown Ground
Capacity: 5,450 (3,100 seated)
Address: Livingstone Rd, Accrington, Lancashire, BB5 5BX
Main Tel No: 0871 434 1968
Team Nickname: The Reds, Stanley
Year Ground Opened: 1968
Online Shop: ASFC Photos