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Retford United 

Est. 1987  

Venue

Cannon Park, Leverton Road, Retford  Tel: 01777 869468

Ground Capacity

2000

Home Strip

 Away Strip

Seating 200

Record Attendance

1527 v Doncaster Rovers - Friendly - July 2006
Who are ya? The Badgers
What Division are you in? Step 4 - Unibond Northern League First Division - South
Websites www.retfordunited.co.uk 

 

You must have come in a taxi

  From A1 - Exit A1 at sign for A620 (Retford). Continue for 3.6 miles, passing Ranby Prison on your LHS. At roundabout take 2nd exit for Retford town centre. At next roundabout, take third exit towards Morrisons supermarket, passing Morrisons on your LHS, turn right at next lights. Take first left at next lights into Leverton Road. Continue for 1.2 miles, passing over two bridges. The ground is on your RHS, with a large car park available for use.

From Nottingham/Mansfield - Follow the A614 northbound until its junction with the A1, then after 1.6 miles, as above.

    Lincolnshire Roadcar Retford Circular No.s 91 & 92 (Retford bus station) & Marshalls FL1 (Tuxford  - Retford) both pass the Ground.

    Retford - 1.6 miles 

For a map of the location, Click here.

 

My garden shed is bigger than this

The history behind the naming of Cannon Park and the inclusion of a cannon in the club badge can not go without mention, as both pay homage to the charming story of two tons of foreign war weapon from over 150 years ago.

In 1855 a local regiment of the British Army captured a Russian cannon at Sebastopol during the Crimean War. Despite weighing over two tons, the soldiers miraculously brought the cannon back to Retford as a trophy. The townsfolk paid for its transportation and in 1859, after many arguments raged about its siting,  the cannon was finally placed in the town's Market Square, which was subsequently renamed Cannon Square.  During the 2nd World War, the cannon was threatened with being melted down to help the war effort, but was thankfully saved after a Retford gentleman bought it and hid it until the war was over. Whilst this charming story portrays the historic leanings of The Badgers, as they are affectionately known, the Club itself is a relatively new addition to the town.

Retford United Football Club were founded in 1987, initially consisting of one senior team that competed in the Gainsborough League, and one youth under-10's team, plying their trade at Oaklands Lane in the Retford & Worksop League. 

For the majority of its existence, The Badgers have placed an emphasis on developing youth. The town's North Nottinghamshire location has seen the Club mainly tap into the many surrounding villages such as Beckingham, Elkesley, Everton and Leverton to unveil the talented, and not so talented, in the interests of the entire local community, not just a select few. The Club moved to the Goosemoor Grounds in the 1990's, but the move failed to bring the Club any significant success at a senior level.

The new millennium signalled a 'C' change for the Club. Substantial financial backing from local businessman Dean Vivian enabled the Club to focus its attention on taking the first team to another level at a new home, Cannon Park. Success was almost immediate, and quite astonishing, with five promotions coming their way in seven seasons. 

The adventure began in the 2000/01 season, with the Club capturing the 'double' of the Notts Alliance Division One and the Notts Intermediate County Cup. In the following season, the Club achieved a 'treble', winning the Central Midlands League Premier Division, CML Cup and CML Reserve Division One. In the 2003/04 season, they achieved yet another treble, grabbing the CML Supreme Division title, CML Cup and CML Floodlit Cup. The Badgers continued to make improvements to Cannon Park which enabled them to gain promotion from the Northern Counties East League into the Unibond Northern League in 2006/07. In the 2006/07 season the club were able to compete in both F.A.Vase & F.A.Cup competitions for the first time, reaching the 5th Round of the Vase. During this remarkable period for the Club, Cannon Park also had the pleasure of having an international footballer grace it's turf every other week. Neil Harvey, a Barbadian international midfielder, becoming the first international to play for the Badgers. In 2007/08 the Badgers went on to destroy the opposition to take the Unibond Division One. Unfortunately the rapid progression of the club finally caught up with them as Cannon Park sadly failed to meet the standard for the Unibond Premier football.

Prior to this major hiccup, Retford United's progress off the park has mirrored that upon it. Prior to the new millennium, the club had owned land at an out-of-town location off Leverton Road for over five years, which it hoped to develop with the help of National Lottery funding. However, after failing to gain financial help from the Lottery, the ground lay dormant for nearly a decade, as there was no money for development work to begin. The substantial investment made by Dean Vivian on the pitch was not short in also coming of it. This enabled the club to begin work on the area, with a number of major development project being undertaken on the whole complex, not just the main pitch. Retford now have over twenty teams representing the club from under 8's right through to the first team, most of whom play at the Cannon Park complex.

Once within the large graveled car park you will find Cannon Park has a very welcoming feel about it, with a number of signs mounted welcoming you to the location. The main pitch is fully enclosed by an attractive decorative wall, a refreshing change from the usual breezeblock perimeter enclosures found elsewhere. The entrance to the main pitch is via an apple green portercabin turnstile built with the perimeter wall itself. 

By far the most dominant feature at Cannon Park is the 2001 constructed Clubhouse. To everyone connected with the Badgers, this a symbol of how far the Club have come, a shining beacon of what can be achieved with a bit of hard work and ambition. Spanning the majority of the east side of the ground, this attractive red bricked building also presently offers the only cover the ground can offer. The Club have attached a level roof to the main building, held aloft by a series of black painted steel posts. Such is the length of the clubhouse, that an estimated 300 spectators can seek shelter beneath on hard standing ground. On one side of the clubhouse, within which one can consume a variety of snacks and drinks, are the changing rooms. Another interesting feature are the darker bricks that have been used on the north side of the Clubhouse, which spell out the club's initials 'R.U.F.C.'. Next to the Clubhouse are a couple portercabins, the main one of which houses the Club's committee room.  

On the opposite side of the Ground are two wide dug outs. Both are wide roofed affairs, with the bricks painted white, and both house identical red interior seating. Up until  the spring of 2006, these looked rather lonely, given all of the hustle and bustle on the other side of the pitch.  However, all that has changed with the addition of a  new West Stand to keep them company. The Club originally sort 150,000 of assistance from local residents and businesses for the project. However, they were able to secure some of the financial help necessary from the F.A. to complete the project . The impressive cantilevered structure covers about half of the length of the pitch. It is very similar to one erected at Carlton Town, though the 200+ plastic seats housed within are black, white and red to reflect the colours of the Club.

The pitchside also features a sturdy white painted perimeter barrier.  Behind this barrier, on either side of the pitch are the Club's six floodlights. Erected in the summer of 2003, three slender metal posts stand on each side. The middle two hold three clusters in a 'T' formation, with the four outer pylons holding two clusters in the same manner. All six were officially turned on in front of The Badger's all-time then record crowd of 605, when Peterborough United became the first ever professional team to grace Cannon Park. This record was smashed in 2006, when 1527 turned up to see League Two side, Doncaster Rovers.

Both ends of the Ground offer hard standing, with no other features of note. However, it is worth noting the pitches beyond the exterior of the South End. Throughout the week, these are a huddle of activity for the boys and girls youth and mini-football teams, emphasising the Badger's commitment to the community as a whole.

Future Plans

The Club are determined to build a Ground the local community can be proud of, but this will ultimately depend on further financial assistance. In the summer of 2008, all the work required to keep the club at Step 4 was completed, with the emphasis now on pushing forward. The new stand was the next stage in the Badger's ambitious long-term plans are to develop Cannon Park into one of the best football facilities in the East Midlands, outside the professional game. Future plans include a floodlit all-weather training area, three further youth team pitches and two mini-soccer pitches.

 

Additional Photography

                                                 

                            

Click on a thumbnail to view a full size picture

(Apologies for the poor quality of these pictures. This was due to a camera malfunction. I will update with clear images with photos of the new stand as soon as possible)

Christopher Rooney - permission required for photo & text usage

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