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Banbury United (Spencer Stadium)

Spencer Stadium

Capacity: 6,776
Address: The Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium, Station Approach, Banbury OX16 5AB
Telephone: 01295 263354
Club Nickname: The Puritans
Shirt Sponsors: Banbury Plant and Skip Hire
Home Kit: Red and Gold
Away Kit: White and Blue


                    
                    

The home of Banbury United since 1934, the Spencer Stadium has become synonymous with the club. Initially, the ground had creatively made use of railway carriages as changing rooms for the players, but, in 1966, the club decided to install more professional changing facilities, alongside floodlights around the pitch. 

The main stand, an all-seated covered area with a capacity of 250 seats is situated along one of the touchlines and is sponsored by John Nicholls – a Banbury-based family-run business who have had strong connections with the clubs for many years at the time of writing. The stand itself features three vertical pillars, designed to support the roof of the facility, but unfortunately can lead to a restricted view – so choose your seats wisely! Unlike traditional stands that are usually located by the halfway line, this stand is situated towards one end of the pitch. 

The opposite touchline, on the other hand, has terracing that extends across half its length, while a new stand, known as the Riverside Grandstand has also been recently developed, providing the site with an extra 226 seats. This stand is dismountable, meaning the club can take it with them if they were to ever move to a new stadium. 

Terraced areas have also been installed at either end of the pitch, and the combination of those areas, plus the two aforementioned grandstands, means that the Spencer Stadium has an approximate capacity of 6,776. 

Prior to the 2023/24 campaign, Banbury United housed away fans in the Kings Sutton end – a completely uncovered terraced area – and it was the first time the club had implemented permanent segregation between fans into the ground. 

However, upon reviews from local police and authorities as well as fans, the club decided to make a change. Now, the away fans will enter the ground from the Town End, opposite the Kings Sutton End, and will occupy an area engulfing a portion of the John Nicholls Stand, as well as a portion of the terraced area that ends roughly in line with the first goal post.

Unfortunately, due to the geographic isolation of the Spencer Stadium, there is a real lack of pubs in close proximity to the ground. The main option for all travelling fans would likely be The Bell, located on Middleton Road and is a mere 12-minute walk from the ground. 

The Swan is another option, although this pub is located a little further away from the ground than The Bell, requiring a 23-minute walk this time. A cheeky visit to the pub before kick-off is certainly doable in Banbury, but you will need to be organised to make it work. 

Aside from making changes to the area in which away fans will occupy, Banbury United also made a number of small changes regarding home fans ahead of the 2023/24 campaign. 

Puritans will now be allowed to enter the ground exclusively via the two turnstiles located at the main entrance, access to which is granted by the clubhouse car park. 

The club shop has also been relocated and now occupies the old media building, which is closer to the main entrance. United hope this change will make it easier for fans to purchase club merchandise.

As mentioned, the Puritans first moved to the Spencer Stadium in 1934, and have endured a somewhat turbulent time at the ground. Initially, the move was incredibly positive, winning the Oxfordshire Senior League at the first attempt during their debut season at the stadium. 

In 1946, the club turned professional and were competing in the Birmingham Combination League, averaging an attendance of 3,500. In 1965 however, things began to take a turn for the worst, and after years of financial struggle, performances on the pitch had suffered and attendances were withering as a result. 

New ownership was eventually secured, and new ambitions were set. After being elected to the Southern League in 1966, United underwent some drastic improvements, most notably the swapping of their previously notorious railway coaches, used as changing rooms, for a more modern clubhouse and floodlights were also installed at the ground. 

During the 1970s, financial trouble again hit Banbury United, and with debts continuing to mount, ownership of the ground was sacrificed as security against those debts. 

The club has come a long way since those times, and the ground has been developed plenty in accordance with that. In 2012, United developed flood defences to protect not just the stadium itself, but also the nearby train station as well as a housing area located close to the ground. 

After promotion to the National League North, the club were also required to provide an extra 225 seats in order to comply with the league’s regulations, and therefore, developed the Riverside Grandstand, a returning structure that first appeared at the site in 1934 as a wooden complex but was closed in 1986 due to fire safety concerns.

For many drivers, you will most likely head towards the ground via the M40. If you are doing so, then exit the motorway at Junction 11, and then head straight over the first roundabout you come across before turning left at the next, which will take you towards Concorde Avenue.

Then go straight ahead at the following roundabout and once you arrive at the Cherwell Street traffic lights, turn left before turning right into the Station approach. Once you enter the station forecourt, take the narrow road to your right immediately after the river bridge and follow until you arrive at the ground. 

These directions are also true if you are travelling from the east of Banbury via the A361 or A422. 

If you are arriving from the west, simply follow the signs to Banbury town centre and then to Banbury railway station. Once at the station, follow the same directions as above. 

Car Parking

Supporters, whether that be home or away, are not allowed to park on the nearby Station Approach or Tramway Road. As per the club’s official website, the recommendation is for fans to park in the Banbury Railway Station car park, where parking charges do not apply between 1pm and 6:30pm on Saturdays, while parking is just £1 on Tuesdays between 6:30pm and 2:30am the following day. 

These same fees also apply to the Banbury Station East car park – a multi-storey facility which is accessed via Meton Street on the other side of the station. Although this car park is a little further away from the ground, it is often much easier to exit and allows for quicker departures after matches. 

Access is extremely restricted to the ground, so always make sure to leave plenty of time for parking upon arrival. Any car parks located within the town centre require a walk of at least 15 minutes to get to Spencer Stadium. 

Despite its relatively remote location, travelling by train to Banbury is actually relatively simple. Whether you are travelling to Banbury station from the North, East, West or South, you can usually complete the journey in around 3 hours depending on the distance, although this can reach up to 5 hours at night depending on the location. 

Two changes is often the maximum you will have to deal with, but, with the last train out of Banbury Station often arriving at around 10pm for most destinations, travelling by car is often a more reliable option, particularly for those late-night kick-offs. 

 

As of the 2023/24 campaign, tickets at the Spencer Stadium are sold at the following prices:

  • Adults – £15
  • Concession – £11
  • Students – £8
  • Under 18s – £5
  • Under 11s – £2

The Puritans have maintained an incredibly fierce rivalry with Brackley Town, who are located just 10 miles away from the football club.

The club provide a designated covered area close to the entrance located near the car park, big enough to accommodate three wheelchair users and a respective carer each if they are accompanied by such. 

Banbury also provides accessible toilet facilities, accessed via the Canary Club Bar, as well as a handful of parking spaces allocated specifically to those who require it.

Banbury United regularly attract a very impressive crowd at most home matches, and in their last full campaign, that being the 2022/23 season, the club had an average attendance of 620 at the Spencer Stadium. 

The record attendance achieved at the ground is even more impressive, with 7,160 spectators present as United slipped to defeat against Oxford City in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup during the 1948/49 campaign. 

Updated 25th March 2024