Nyewood Lane, affectionately known as the Nye Camp, is the home of Bognor Regis Town, currently in the Ryman Premier League. The ground has a capacity of 4,500 and is one of the larger stadiums at that level of non-league football, although there are only 350 seats in the ground which is unimpressive for a stadium of that size. As with almost all non-league stadiums, there isn’t an allocated home and away end and fans are unsegregated and free to move around the ground at will.
One thing which is very impressive for such a small stadium is that there is an electronic scoreboard which even acts as a clock! Although this is a small detail, it is evidence that the rocks are probably capable of playing at a higher level, as they have in the past. Three of the four stands are covered but the very front is open to the elements all around the ground and one side of the pitch as no cover whatsoever. One aspect of the stadium which proved very popular with the travelling supporters was the clubhouse, which serves alcohol to both home and away supporters, and was where the Havant fans spent most of the time before and after the match. Although I didn’t go in, it looks very spacious from the outside and a very good place to take in the pre-match atmosphere.
Refreshments were well provided within the ground, and I saw three of four food and drink stalls located in different areas of the stadium, which meant queues were fairly bearable, even at half-time. The stadium is located in a built up area of Bognor and is surrounded by houses which means there are shops surrounding the stadium as well, so supplies are readily available at all times! Admission to the ground was also very fair, with it costing £10 for adults and just £3 for under 18s. I’m not sure whether this was a special Boxing Day offer but it was very good value for an afternoon of football.
The journey for me was about as easy as they come, as all I had to do was get a 20 minute bus from Chichester to Bognor town centre. There was about a 20 minute walk from the nearest bus stop to the ground and, while directions were not overly simple, they were easy enough with help from Google Maps. I would normally have taken the train, but with it being Boxing Day on a Southern Rail route it simply wasn’t worth it. Unfortunately, the bus cost about twice as much as the train would, with my ticket costing around six pounds for an incredibly short journey. The train would be much cheaper and would entail an almost identical walk as the bus stop is adjacent to the train station.
The pitch was actually in very good condition, and is yet more evidence that the club could play at a higher level. The fact that, even in the busy Christmas period and the fixture congestion that comes with it, the pitch looks better than many Football League grounds is very impressive and credit has to go to Bognor’s groundsman for keeping their pitch in such pristine condition. The good quality of the pitch is a big reason for the game being such a good spectacle and allowed both sides to play good passing football. The Bognor supporters were also a credit to the club and could be heard throughout the game as was shown by the attendance of over 1300. Judging by the half-time announcements the Rocks seem to have a fair away following too and run buses to most of their matches.
Overall I really enjoyed going to Nyewwod Lane and am likely to revisit it if I am ever at a loose end in footballing terms. Bognor are a good club who play nice football and the pitch is a key part of them being able to do so. The presence of the scoreboard is a real positive and makes it feel more like a high level game and the attendance would be very impressive in the National Leagues, and wouldn’t even look too out of place in the Football League. Hopefully Bognor can win promotion soon and get back to a higher level which their ground deserves. Transport was very easy for me due to how close I live, but it could be tricky for people coming from further afield, with Bognor Regis station being fairly remote. Hopefully the Rocks and the Hawks will both be promoted this season so I will be able to go back to Nyewood Lane next season, as it is definitely the best ground I have been to at Ryman League level.