Last month has been important for the football club Stenhousemuir from the Scottish second division as well as the club Newton AFC from the Welsh Premier League as they got new professional football stadia with synthetic turf.
Stenhousemuir plays its home matches at Ochilview Park, which has initially opened in 1890. The stadium has a capacity of 3746 with 626 of them seated. The name Ochilview derives from the nearby Ochil Hills which are visible from the stadium. In 1928 a new main stand was constructed with bench seating for 310 spectators. It was built to replace the previous stand which was gutted by a fire in the same year.
In 1951 Ochilview wrote itself into Scottish football history when it was the venue of the first ever floodlit match in Scotland, during a friendly against Hibernian on 7 November 1951. In 1994, Stenhousemuir were considering relocation, having provisionally agreed to sell Ochilview to a supermarket chain for £2.5 million. The scheme, however, was frustrated by planning regulations, and instead it was decided to upgrade the existing stadium.
Apart from the new main stand, only one side of the ground is usually in use for spectators, this being the terracing at the Tryst Road end (west). In season 2004–05, a new roof was installed here, constructed by club volunteers. The former grass banking at the east end of Ochilview was removed some years ago, and the area has since been flattened and replaced with artificial pitches for community use.
At Newtown the present Officials and Committee would like to think that the facilities at Mid Wales Leisure Latham Park and the playing structure illustrate what is good about the Welsh Football scene. The Club are involved in a continuous programme of improvements both on and off the field of play but know the base for this kind of development was set when the Club moved to the site in 1951.
Over the years Newtown have had a number of homes but the Officials and General Committee of the late 1940’s took the decision to construct a new playing headquarters at the site which was named Latham Park. The reward for a great deal of community efforts was the opening of Latham Park in August 1951. The first competitive game took place on August 25th, 1951 when Newtown beat Aberystwyth in the Central Wales League 4 – 0 in front of 1,211 spectators.
The ground capacity today is fixed at 5,000 and the original Stand has 210 seats with a further covered accommodation for approximately 500. A new 400 seater stand was completed during the 1997/98 season. The Officials are continually reviewing the programme of ground improvements with a quality playing surface always being seen as an important factor.
The ownership of the Ground is an asset many Clubs would wish to have and the far sighted and progressive policy of previous Committees at the Club is illustrated by this fact. Enhancing and expanding the changing facilities to accommodate youth and community involvement is another strand to the developments the Club have in mind.
The Club welcomes its visitors in the hope that they will return at some time again in the near future to enjoy the facilities and hospitality the Club offers. The club aims to create a regional centre facility which will regularly attract high profile games and be an asset for the local sporting community.
While the Scottish club already gained experiences with synthetic turf before, the Welsh club chose the pitch to ensure consistent conditions all year long.