BLOG: Victoria Park, the jewel in Warrington’s community game crown?

I was invited along to the Stuart Middleton Foundation Warrington Cup Final last night at the highly impressive Victoria Park facility, home of Latchford Albion.

Now in their second year at their new base, Albion are looking to kick on. They recently secured their North West Mens League Premier Division survival and the future looks bright with Latchford Giants junior club catering for all ages through to under 15s and an Open Age team boosted by the return of Andy Unsworth from North Wales Crusaders.

The club is definitely ambitious, led from the front by chairman Michael Byron and his committee and made your humble scribe feel welcome.

Latchford had been knocking on the councils door for a number of years about facilities and finally got plans passed and their new home built which also included a job during construction for some of their first team players.

For those that don’t know the topography, Victoria Park is on one of Warrington’s flood plains, therefore the foundation of the main stand also includes stilts. Changing facilities are on the first floor with four good-sized separate dressing rooms, storage and toilets, ensuring that a double header event can be handled with ease. On the second floor is a big function room, bar and storage area. Double patio style doors on both sides of the room give outside access with a balcony overlooking the athletic arena. The other door gives access to the seating area of the stand. The top row sees two separate press and wheelchair viewing areas on the flanks. There is also seating for up to 500 people with the pitch surrounded by well maintained rails and a fence to keep the area separate from the other three football and three rugby fields that are on the huge area.

Latchford are particularly proud of their new home and why not? It’s a great place to host, and watch rugby league from. I sat in front of the external bar area that did brisk business throughout the evening.

There are now some highly impressive community facilities in the amateur ranks such as Leigh East, Saddleworth and Thatto Heath. Victoria Park is up there with the very best. Four million pounds looks well spent and I’m sure that the Warrington Cup Final will be the first of many big events hosted by Latchford.

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