Ground number 128
A reorganized fixture fell nicely with work commitments to allow me to finally make the trip to Braintree. I arrived by train, which is ideal for this ground, with a short walk from Braintree Freeport station and not long over the hour from central London by tube and rail.
The ground is well camouflaged by a housing estate and the entrance down a very narrow road is similar to somewhere like Kidsgrove. Inside though, it is tidy and it is clear that there have been improvements as Braintree have progressed through the leagues.
Both sides are well served, with a shallow covered terrace behind the dug outs and a decent sized seated stand opposite. Both goals are backed by open terraces. The highlight for me was an excellent programme shop, not often seen and both well stocked and good value. Sadly I hadn’t got the time to have a proper look, but there was a decent array of current season issues and nice to see a little effort with the Macclesfield programmes given a prominent position in a display that is changed every week.
There are still areas for improvement, with both the boardroom and changing rooms currently housed in porta cabins, although perhaps this surprises a few visiting teams and may well prove an advantage for the Iron. Whilst the surface is generally a good standard, the penalty areas appear to have been re-laid in a hurry and are prone to cutting up.
I liked the ground in general, but like a few others at this level I would worry if they got into the football league, and the visit of big sides like Bristol Rovers may prove interesting with some of the infrastructure!
First visit = Braintree v Macclesfield (3-3-15) Vanarama Premier Division