Priestfield voted the worst ground in England

Last updated : 10 October 2004 By Headley

Priestfield: Really the worst?
The poll, conducted by the Observer newspaper asked football fans up and down the country to vote for the worst ground in the country.

The paper said, “Whether it's a soul-less corporate monstrosity or a dingy little shed -whatever is your idea of a hell-hole. Along with the architecture, please
consider the atmosphere, catering, toilet facilities, view of the match,seating or standing arrangements, ticket prices and any other black marks or redeeming features.“

”It's important to consider the whole 'day out' experience: What is thesurrounding area like? The walk from the train station? Pubs and eateries?The welcome from the locals? Please give your reasons for the nomination."

The Observer published its results in today’s edition – and Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium came top of the poll.

Reporting their findings on the paper’s website, they said, “New research shows that Gillingham is the biggest dump in English football. Priestfield topped an Observer poll, and this fan's view is typical of many: 'Never fails to live down to expectations. Used to be nothing more than a couple of cowsheds knocked together but after redevelopment it resembles a 1970s garage forecourt. The away end has two Portakabins for toilets and the worst catering outside Selhurst Park. The walk from the train station is like walking through the Shangri-La Caravan Park just after closing time.'

“Another contributor offered the view that Gillingham 'is the place that makes Middlesbrough look like Monte Carlo'”

While the area of Gillingham around Priestfield Stadium certainly isn’t the nicest place in the world, the criticism of the ground seems a little harsh. OK, the facilities for away fans have been poor, to say the least, but for my money there are much worse grounds across the country. Selhurst Park and Layer Road are certainly two I can think of.

Paul Scally has done a remarkable job of redeveloping Priestfield Stadium – and has understandably looked after the home fans first. Now Scally is looking to move the Gills to a brand new stadium in years to come. Of course, we have plenty of football to play before that becomes a reality.