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Bilborough Pelican 

Est. 2005

Venue

Brian Wakefield Sports Ground, Trentside Lane, Old Lenton Lane, Trent Bridge, Nottingham    Tel: 0115 929 4728

Ground Capacity

 

Home Strip

 Away Strip

Seating  

Record Attendance

284 - Pelican v Dinnington Town - Central Midlands League March 2004
Who are ya? Pelican
What Division are you in? Nottinghamshire Senior League - Senior Division
Websites http://bilboroughpelicanfc.intheteam.com

 

You must have come in a taxi

From Nottingham  -  Follow the A453 out of the City for 1.7 miles. On reaching the Clifton Bridge roundabout, go straight over. Turn first left onto Old Lenton Lane for 0.5 miles, passing the 'Hotel De Clos' Restaurant as the road bends to the right. The Ground the second turning on your RHS, and has a car park.

From M1 Jnc.24 - Travel north on the A453 towards Nottingham for 8 miles. On reaching the A52 Clifton Bridge flyover, turn off for the A453 'City Centre'. Take the first exit at the roundabout into Old Lenton Lane, then as above.

     Nottingham City Transport - Link 1 from Victoria Centre to Boots passes Old Lenton Lane,  shortly after the Queens Drive Park & Ride site.

                        

Nottingham Midland  - 2.5 miles

 

For a map of the location, Click here.

 

My garden shed is bigger than this

Bilborough Pelican are an amalgamation of two clubs whom have enjoyed a substantial amount of success in their relatively short histories. As a unit, they have continued to push on.

Pelican Football Club were only formed in 1984, and  it wasn't long before they were winning titles and cups in the Notts Amateur League, breaking many records along the way. In 1988 they were accepted in to the Notts Alliance Division 2 and finished runners up in their first season. The following season they won Division 1, but were denied promotion to the Senior Division due to their  failure to meet with ground grading requirements. Fortunately, this proved only to be a blip, and in 1990 they acquired their present ground, the Brian Wakefield Sports Ground. Soon after they were promoted as Champions to the Senior League. The Championship followed in 1995 & 2002, then promotion to the Central Midlands Premier, another Notts Intermediate Cup, and finally promotion the Central Midlands Supreme League. In 2005 however, the Club's lack of facilities again proved to be their downfall resulting in being thrown out of the Central Midlands Supreme Division for failing to install floodlights. It was at this point that the decision to approach Bilborough about a possible merger.

Bilborough Football Club have an even shorter history. Formed in 1994, they were originally a Derbyshire pub side named Concorde United, which had the dubious honour of being 5 goals short of a place in the Guinness Book of Records in their inaugural season, when they lost all 12 matches, conceding an incredible 135 goals along the way. Their fortunes soon improved, culminating in a Derbyshire County Cup Final appearance in 1997 played at Ilkeston Town 's ground, where they narrowly lost out to Woodville New Inn from Burton on Trent. In 1998, the Club moved to the Nottingham University site of Highfields, Nottingham, and became AFC Highfields to reflect the move. Following an unsuccessful lottery bid to improve the facilities at Highfield, the club moved to Birchover Park in the heart of the Nottingham suburb of Bilborough, resulting in the inevitable named change to Bilborough Football Club in1999. In the years following, the likes of Notts County's Mark Clarke, Nottingham Forest's Calvin Plummer and an Uzbekistan under 19 international, Aziz Koshimov, have all graced the Birchover Park turf for Bilborough, and with the merger with Pelican, the future looks very bright indeed. For the time being, however, the Club will be plying it's trade at the Brian Wakefield Sports Ground in Lenton.

The merger was initially an unmitigated success, capturing the CML Premier Division title in their first season. Unfortunately, the Club was plunged into crisis in 2007 having been refused permission to develop their proposed permanent home of Birchover Park and have removed themselves from the football ladder into the NSL.

Trentside Lane, upon which you'll find the now permanent home of Bilborough Pelican, genuinely is a road to nowhere, but a pleasant road all the same. Running adjacent to the River Trent, the Brian Wakefield Sports Ground is set on the Trent's flood plains which, despite the dangers associated with the land (more on that later), has become a real hotbed for all manner of sporting activities. Numerous five-a-side football pitches, Central Midlands Rivals Greenwood Meadows and Dunkirk, a driving range, cricket,  rugby pitches, a par three golf course, even a bit of canoeing when the Trent's up.

It should also be noted that where Bilborough narrowly failed to get into the Guinness Book of Records, Pelican succeeded at the BWS Ground. In March 2004, it was one of six venues to host a world record groundhop involving spectators attending an astonishing six matches in 24 hours. The event attracted enthusiasts from all over the United Kingdom, as well as far a field as Sweden and the Czech Republic, to the BWS Ground.

The Ground is shared with Notts Casuals Unity Cricket Club, and the facilities reflect this, with both the football pitch and cricket wicket in superb condition. So well regarded for its excellent playing surface,  the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club's 2nd XI have been known to use the Ground to play some of its fixtures. Just a stones throw away, one will find the Ron Steel Sports Ground, home to Central Midlands rivals, Dunkirk. Boasting floodlights, turnstiles, smart little seated dugouts and a completely enclosed ground, it is clear that Bilborough Pelican's  facilities fall someway short of their riverside rivals. However, they certainly can give Dunkirk a run for their money when it comes to clubhouses. Imposingly overlooking the west side of the football pitch, the Clubhouse really is a superb building. A huge modern, brick built building, it offers an excellent bar with extensive catering facilities and is available for hire. The ground floor offers host to players and officials changing areas for both cricket and football. Its upper floor, decked in green plywood to blend in with the natural surroundings, offers an excellent social club. With its huge glass frontage, one is able to  take in a game from the comfort of the bar area without having to endure the dubious pleasures of the English weather. If you were blessed with a rear sunny day, you can still avoid going pitchside by taken up residence on the large open terrace with offers a elevated view above an in-built cricket scoreboard. Quite magnificent.

Unfortunately, as indicated earlier, the pitchside facilities aren't quite so grand, hence the newly merged club's decision to move back to Bilborough. There is only one stand for outdoor shelter on the North side of the ground. Held together by curved steel bars, there is no denying that this is an interesting arch-shaped construction, unfortunately let down by a flat concrete base which clearly limits viewing capabilities. Also on the north side, carefully positioned directly on either side of the half way line, you'll find to small brick built dugouts with a simple wooden bench within.

|In order to meet CML Premier standards, floodlights have been installed at their temporary home. Each of the five columns stands some 15 metres high and there are four 2000 watt Halogen Sports Floodlights attached to each column. Each is of singular steel pole construction, with four clusters peering over the pitch, similar to those at nearby Dunkirk & Greenwood. Three of the columns are spread evenly down the stand side of the ground at pitchside, one is behind the Dunkirk End, and the other at the Pavilion End. Floodlights could not be erected on the Trent side of the ground due to these encroaching on the cricket pitch. According to the manufacturers, Philips, this particular lighting system can generate up to 300 Lux coverage across the entire pitch, but given that the Club were forced to locate 2 of the columns slightly further from the pitch than they'd have liked due to the Cricket boundary, they've been told to expect slightly less that the 300 lux maximum, but still well over and above the minimum requirements for this league, and indeed the two divisions of the NCEL. The reason this lighting system is so bright is that it was acquired from a National League Hockey Club, and their requirement for floodlighting is much higher than that of Football, due to the use of a small, hard ball as opposed to a large bag of wind.

Alongside Dunkirk & Greenwood Meadows, Pelican  suffered heavily from the devastating floods of November 2000. The pitch was complete submerged by the overflow from the Trent and the damaged left behind is still visible in the form of a number of partly felled trees surrounding the pitch, especially behind the dugouts. Unfortunately, a flood is expected every seven years in these parts, so the Club better move soon or the Pelicans may well be taking to the water again.  

Future Plans

Ambitious plans were to commence to completely transform and upgrade Birchover Park in Bilborough. The Club already had an impressive modern pavilion, with a bar, changing rooms and showers, which they shared with West Indian Cavaliers Cricket Club. However, the local council refused planning permission for new floodlights and a perimeter fence, and the ambitious plans have now been withdrawn, with the club remaining at Trentside Lane

The overriding aim was to bring the Ground up to Unibond League Standard to enable Bilborough Pelican Football Club to progress. Sadly, this will not now be happening in the immediate future.

 

Additional Photography

                       

                                                               

         Click on a thumbnail to view a full size picture.

Christopher Rooney - permission required for photo & text usage

 

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