4,222 (553 Seats)
Braintree, Essex CM7 3DE
111 x 72 yards
Orange and Blue
The Ironmongery Direct Stadium or Cressing Road Ground as it is more well known, has an imposing Main Stand on one side. This has 553 seats and runs for around half the length of the pitch, straddling the half way line and has open portions of terracing to either side. It does though have a number of supporting pillars running along its front. It also has a large television gantry situated on top of its roof. Opposite is the Cressing Road Terrace. In a former life the framework for this stand was the old Main Stand at Bedworth United. This pitch roofed covered terrace has the dugouts located in front. A total of 1,130 can be catered for on this side, with 755 of them under the cover.
Both ends are uncovered and the Clubhouse End (capacity 1,131), is split into two blocks of terracing with a gap in the middle that leads to the bar, main exit and an excellent supporters club shop (an Aladdin’s Cave of programmes, badges, books, cards, sundry old shirts for a fiver, scarves and ephemera). The concrete terrace behind the goal is the older one and the newer metal one next to it was added after promotion to the Conference in 2011. The ground has a set of eight old school lattice floodlight pylons, four of which are situated behind each of the stands at the sides of the pitch. They are the original set, provided by Christy Brothers Limited in 1967, and sadly a rarity in the modern age. The pylons are set back from the pitch as there was originally a county standard running track at the ground. If standing on the top terrace at the away end and turning around you can still make out the sweep of the old running track as the outer perimeter fence still follows the path of the former curved terracing. There is a second souvenir shop in the home area, by the corner flag on the main stand side. That one sells mostly shirts, training tops, tee-shirts etc but also scarves and other souvenirs.
The blue and orange main gates at the club were originally at the Crittall Factory in Coggeshall Road (Braintree Town were originally the works team of Crittall Windows and known as Crittall Athletic until 1968, and Braintree & Crittall Athletic until 1981). Just inside those gates, and a little to the left is an old ornate turnstile bolted to the ground. For a while, this was in use at the ground after being obtained from Stowmarket Town in the 1980’s but it has a far grander history and was originally at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road ground in the 1930’s and possibly much earlier.
In October 2019 the Club had painted a mural on the large water tank between the away turnstiles and the Main Stand, of the late Keith Flint, the iconic Prodigy frontman. The band were synonymous with Braintree and formed in the town in the 1990’s. Thanks to Jon Weaver for providing the photo of it.
The club have been attempting to move to a new stadium for over a decade now and various plans have come and gone. The council envisage houses being built on the current site sooner rather than later and have earmarked a site at the end of Springwood Industrial Estate off Rayne Road. There has been encouraging sounds about this since Braintree’s brush with the National League play-offs in 2016 although it is anticipated that no move would take place before 2019. The new stadium would be up to Football League standard. By road the new ground looks a horrendously long way out of town, being at the far end of Rayne Road and then a very long walk along the only way into and off the industrial estate along Springwood Drive. There is a much shorter walk from the town centre however that would take barely 15 minutes down Panfield Lane (past the site of the first ground), and then down a footpath beyond Tabor Academy. There are plans for the industrial road to be continued through to Panfield Lane at some stage.
If segregation is in force, then away fans are housed in the Quag End (pronounced ‘Kwog’. This is short for Quagmire – a boggy mud heap, which is exactly what this end was in the mid-1980’s before it was concreted over. Braintree’s loyal fans would stubbornly stand at this end with their banners and air horns no matter how muddy the conditions). This terrace was redeveloped in 2012 with a new larger terrace, that has a capacity of 1,408. However, whereas the old terrace was covered, the new one is open to the elements. Nowadays there is an eleven step metal terrace in place at this end, and some additional terracing running from the away turnstile and around the corner towards the larger terrace. To the left of the away turnstiles is the main stand, with the last block of seats reserved for away supporters. For larger away followings the segregated area can be continued around to the far side and possibly include half of the covered Cressing Road terrace up as far as the dugouts. This section has also been opened in the past to away supporters during inclement weather, although the vast majority of National League fixtures each season are unsegregated. There is a burger wagon in the away end, although it is only open when segregation is in place. There is also a toilet block which is much better than the primitive facilities in the home section. The away turnstiles are tucked out of sight. Take the footpath to the right of the ground that runs alongside the training pitch. The entrance is at the far end.
There is a good sized clubhouse at the ground, this normally welcomes away fans. You can gain entrance to the clubhouse once you have gone through the turnstiles and entered the ground. However is not available to visiting supporters if segregation is in force.
The nearest pub is the Orange Tree which is located just a five minute walk away on Cressing Road (from the Club main entrance, turn right and then turn right again onto Cressing Road and the pub is along on the left). This pub also serves food.
If arriving by train then you may care to visit a Wetherspoons outlet called the Picture Palace on Fairfield Road, which is only a five minute walk away from the station. This converted former cinema has a superb old seated balcony which is still intact. The ground is approximately 20 minute’s walk from this pub. There are various other hostelries in town, including the Nags Head and the Bull in the Market Place, the low beamed Boars Head at the far end of the High Street, and The Swan in Bank Street. The White Hart is barely a minute’s walk from the Swan, and a further minute along Rayne Road is the Horse & Groom. The football club’s changing rooms and headquarters were in this pub when they played at Panfield Lane between 1903 – 1923. Apart from an extension out the back, it hasn’t changed much. The direct route out towards the ground from the Market Place passes the Golden Lion in Manor Street, and finally The Pub in Lakes Road. This giant structure often has a huge Braintree Town flag draped across the whole upper storey, depending on the importance of the game.
If you had travelled to the ground by car from the M11, then you will have seen by the Galley’s Corner roundabout, a McDonalds, KFC & Pizza Hut outlets. There are also two pubs and two hotels sitting on either side of this roundabout although it must be said that the traffic at this roundabout can be terrible and locals will travel out of their way to avoid encountering this. The giant Freeport shopping complex is also nearby, where there are plenty of restaurants and a multiplex cinema but no pubs.
Leave the M11 at junction 8 and take the A120 towards Colchester. Follow the A120 for 16 miles until you reach the ‘Galley’s Corner’ roundabout (with McDonalds on your right). It is the first roundabout after the M11 and you will know when you are near it because you will get stuck in a lengthy tailback! Take the first exit into Cressing Road. After three quarters of a mile turn left into Clockhouse Way (signposted Braintree Town FC, and Braintree Tennis Club) and then first left again for the ground.
There is a small car park at the ground which costs £2, but closes on police advice 30 minutes before the match. No ‘car park full’ signs are placed out on the road, and it can be difficult to turn around as kick off time approaches if you are turned away. Considerate street parking is a good option, and there is plenty of it available particularly along Stubbs Lane (the last turning on the left along Cressing Road before the ground is reached).
Braintree Railway Station is situated just under a mile away from the Cressing Road Ground. It is served by trains from London Liverpool Street. Exit the station and turn right along the Station Approach. Cross Rose Hill at the pedestrian crossing into Railway Street. Turn right at the traffic lights into the wondrously named Trinovantian Way. This becomes Manor Street and then Lakes Road. After the ‘Sportsmans’ Snooker Club turn left into Chapel Hill. At the triangular junction turn right into Clockhouse Way. Turn left at the bend at the end of the road and then the entrance to the ground is on the right. There is a distinct lack of signage in the area. It takes around 20 minutes to walk from most parts of the town centre.
Please note that Braintree has two train stations. Braintree Freeport may technically be a little bit closer and is ideal for the huge shopping centre and cinema complex but is not ideal for the football club unless you know where you are going. The shortest route to the ground is via a hidden footpath that has confused many a visitor. The walk from Braintree station in the town centre is a little longer but has more food and drink options, people to ask if you are unsure where to go, and also taxis!
Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:
Remember if travelling by train then you can normally save on the cost of fares by booking in advance.
Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can save on the price of train tickets.
Click on the trainline logo below:
All areas of the ground
OAP’s/Full Time Students £10
Under 18’s £5
Official Programme: £3
4,000 v Barking
Essex Senior Cup, 8th February 1936
4,000 v Tottenham Hotspur
Friendly Match, 8th May 1952
2018-2019: 678 (National League)
2017-2018: 655 (National League)
2016-2017: 725 (National League)
If you require hotel accommodation in Braintree then first try a hotel booking service provided by Booking.com. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Just input the relevant dates and click on “Search” below or on the hotel of interest on the map to get more information. The map is centered on the football ground. However, you can drag the map around or click on +/- to reveal more hotels in the town centre or further afield.
If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me [email protected] and I’ll update the guide.
Special thanks to Jon Weaver for providing photos of the Main Stand and Cressing Road Terrace, as well as providing some of the information for this page.