|The Welfare Stadium, Mansfield Road, Blidworth Tel: 07779 070535|
|Who are ya?||Welfare|
|What Division are you in?||Step 7 - Central Midland Supreme Division|
You must have come in a taxi
From Nottingham - Take the A60 northbound
for 10 miles. At traffic light junction turn right onto the B6020 Main
Road. Continue through Ravenshead & Blidworth for 3.2 miles. At the
top of the hill coming out of Blidworth, turn right into the Miners
Welfare car park , shortly after Burma Road. The Ground is in a valley
behind the Welfare Social Club.
From Mansfield - Take the A617 (Newark) for 2.5 miles. At junction, continue straight over on the B6020 (Rainworth). After a short distance, take first right onto Blidworth Lane. At 'T' junction, turn right onto Mansfield Road. After a short distance, you should turn into the Blidworth Miners Welfare car park. The Ground is in a valley behind the Welfare Social Club.
From the North - Leave the A1 at junction with A614 & continue on A614 for 14 miles. Go straight on at the White Post Farm roundabout, and take the 2nd right onto Baulker Lane (Blidworth). Continue for 2 miles and at junction, turn right onto Mansfield Road towards Rainworth. At the top of the hill coming out of Blidworth, turn right into the Miners Welfare car park , shortly after Burma Road. The Ground is in a valley behind the Welfare Social Club.
East Midlands Stagecoach - No.28 (Blidworth - Mansfield Bus Station) & TrentBarton No.141 (Nottm Victoria Bus Station - Sutton Bus Station) both pass the Welfare.
Mansfield - 4.9 miles. Catch one of the above buses from Mansfield Bus Station next to the Train Station.
For a map of the location, Click here
My garden shed is bigger than this
The village of Blidworth has it's fair share of intrigue,
mostly linked with its proximity to the world renowned Sherwood
Forest. For example, Maid Marian was said to have been born in the
village, with her house believed to be in the vicinity of the present day
Black Bull pub. Additionally, the last resting place of Will Scarlet
is said to be marked by a collection of stones under an old yew tree in
the graveyard of the parish church. From a footballing prospective, the
location of the local team's Welfare Ground is no less intriguing. Situated in a valley and surrounded by reclaimed
woodland, this hidden gem is home to Blidworth Welfare Football Club,
a side with a wealth of history, though most of it under a different
The Club was originally formed as Folk House Old Boys in 1926 by the men folk of Blidworth to rival other recently formed local colliery sides in Thoresby and Rainworth. Whilst Blidworth failed to make much of an impact for many years, the residents of Blidworth, pronounced locally as Blid'eth, at least had a football team to call their own. They had to wait 44 years for any notable success, though it was certainly worth waiting for when it came. In 1970 the Club succeeded in capturing the Nottinghamshire Intermediate Challenge Cup. So enjoyable was the experience that they remarkably repeated the feat back-to-back between 1974 - 1975.
In 1982, the Club decided to adopt a new name to forge closer links with the local colliery social club, Blidworth Welfare Football Club. In the same year, they became founder members of the Northern Counties East League. Over the next 16 years they found themselves flirting between the NCEL & the CML, before finding themselves in the second tier of the CML by the turn of the millennium. Their lowly CML position in 2005/06 actually proved to be a blessing with the Club selected to play in the lesser of the Notts F.A.'s Cup Competitions - The Notts F.A. Intermediate Cup. Welfare justified their hot favourite billing by winning the trophy with a 2-0 win over Bulwell at Hucknall Town's Watnall Road Ground, Welfare's first county trophy in their history. In 2008/09 a restructure of the pyramid saw the club granted a place in the CML Supreme thanks to having floodlights in place.
The Welfare Ground is located off the main road in a dip behind a huge derelict building which towers over the pitch and Blidworth Miners Welfare Social Centre. If it was not for the Social Centre sign, and the imposing floodlights, one would find the ground incredibly difficult to locate. There are six steel pole floodlights in total, three on each side of the pitch. Interestingly the two middle pylons hold three clusters horizontally, whilst the four outer pylons hold each three clusters in a 'V' formation.
Upon your arrival, the first notable feature is also an unavoidable feature. With the Ground being in a valley, a decent is inevitable, yet the manner of the decent at The Welfare ground is most unique. The Club have erected a concrete staircase embedded within the grassy knoll leading down to the slope for players and supporters a like to make it down to pitchside from the changing rooms at the summit. A more dramatic entrance for the players is hard to envisage. However, the trawl back up the steps would probably be less desirable following a 4-0 drubbing.
The banked Blidworth side of the Ground sit s below a row of overgrown ferns, which must cause problems with thawing out the pitch on frosty Saturday afternoons. Back down on pitchside, there is a covered standing area running from the halfway line to the penalty area at the Tippings Wood End of the ground. This hard standing area consists of a blood red corrugated sheeting backboard, with a precariously balanced grey corrugated roof attached to the helm. The roof is just about held aloft by a number of thin steel poles, but appears to be sagging towards the half way line. Having negotiated the steps, you may feel this to be one risk to many. In which case, there is an alternative.
At the banked Mansfield Road End of the ground, the Club have erected a mightly impressive tall seated stand. Whilst the stand only spans a third of the Mansfield Road End, the concrete steps of the stand follow the contours of the steep slope thus providing an imposing presence. The seats within are all black, and there are an approximate total number of 120 seats on four levels. The roof and exterior are basic corrugated affairs, though a hanging fascia carrying advertising does add to the allure. The roof is held a loft by five white painted posts. It is a pity that the roof isn't cantilevered, but the very nature of its design prevents this.
On the Rainworth side of the Ground are the Club's 'Home' & 'Away' dugouts. Both are fairly small affairs and identical in design. Both are made from sandblasted breezeblock, painted white, with a tarpaulin covered roof held aloft by two posts. It should be noted that there is no hard standing on this side of the Ground, though to meet CML regulations, the entire pitch is enclosed by dozens of white paints posts holding a loft a tubular metal bar.
At the Tipping Wood End there is an area of hard standing, though this has been less than well maintained. Behind this is a large area of overgrown wasteland, ripe for development should the Club choose to take that course of action.
The exterior of the Welfare Ground is completely enclosed by a five-foot high sturdy metal fence. Beyond this perimeter fencing to the east and north is a large area of woodland. This area was home to Blidworth Colliery up until it's closure in 1984. Restoration of the site included creating new woodland areas, grassland, wetland and grazing land. The area has been transformed into the Tippings Wood nature reserve, covering 35 hectares of the former colliery site. I'm sure Marion and Will would be very proud indeed.
|In 2005, Blidworth were awarded a £5000 grant from the Notts Community Foundation towards getting a feasibility study completed for their plans to have new changing room facilities at their Mansfield Road home. Additionally, the Club hope to have new dressing rooms soon. These improvements are viewed as the first steps in an ambitious expansion project that could cost up to £250,000.|
© Christopher Rooney - permission required for photo & text usage