8,000 (Seats 4,336)
Address: Warden Street, Ballymena, BT43 7DR
Telephone: 028 2565 9490
Pitch Size: 109 x 70 yards
Pitch Type: NULL
Club Nickname: The Braidmen
Year Ground Opened: To be advised
Home Kit: Sky Blue with White trim
Away fans enter the ground at the main Warden Street turnstile block and are allocated a section of the new Warden Street Stand. The stand offers one of the best facilities in the country, with an excellent unobstructed view of the pitch. The roof is deep enough to ensure fans stay dry in a downpour and with home fans at the far end of the stand as well there is plenty of opportunities to get a good atmosphere going.
Located at the northern end of Ballymena town centre, at the end of a residential street, the Showgrounds complex is regarded as one of the finest sports facilities in Northern Ireland. The main entrance is at the end of Warden Street where an impressive curved turnstile block, complete with ticket office, gable and six flagpoles greet the visitor. Back onto this entrance is the impressive new Warden Street stand, new for season 2010/2011. This single tiered 2,500 seat cantilever structure, cost £3m to build and is split jointly between home and away fans. It replaced the 23 year old concrete structure in the same location, known as the Clock Stand, which was demolished in 2009.
The playing surface at the Showgrounds is surrounded by a wide oval tarmac running track, luckily with the new Warden Street Stand there is no longer any fencing blocking the view of the pitch. Adjoining the stand is a control tower which replaced a low covered terrace a few years ago. Looking to the far left and right behind both goals there is currently no spectator facilities,although a panoramic view is offered of the countryside of County Antrim, plus a good number of floodlit training pitches in the foreground. Looking directly across the pitch centre line the Main Stand takes pride of place with its modern seating deck of 1,836 sky blue plastic seats beneath a high cantilever roof. The stand also has executive facilities at the rear and doubles up as a community facility during weekdays. Although the lowest seats in this stand start at pitch level there is no fencing in front of the stand to obstruct the view. The Showgrounds tall modern corner floodlights, which stand far apart because of the size of the running track, are nevertheless amongst the best in Northern Ireland. The stadium also plays host to stock car racing.
Following the completion of the new Warden Street Stand, the Showgrounds now has a seated capacity in excess of 4,000,which is more than sufficient for Premier League football, however there are long term plans to install seating at both open ends of the ground, it is uncertain at this stage whether these will be temporary or permanent structures and whether they will be located in front or behind the cycle track.
Your best bet is to use the pubs and restaurants is in the town centre. Follow the turnstile entrance to the end of Warden Street, turn left and the town centre is five minutes walk.
From Coleraine and Limavady
Take the A26/M2 Bypass road to the junction of Ballymena North, follow the road into the town centre. Before the M42 junction take a left turn into Parkway, at the second roundabout take the forth exit into Warden Street. The ground is at the end of the street.
From Antrim and Belfast
Take the A26/M2 Bypass road towards Ballymena South and turn left at the A26 Larne Road Link. Continue past the town centre, then once in North Road take a right turn into Parkway. At the second roundabout take the forth exit into Warden Street, the ground is at the end of the street.
From Maghear and the West
Take the A42 Galgorn Road towards Ballymena town centre. At the A26 junction turn left into North Street, then a right turn into Parkway. At the second roundabout take the forth exit into Warden Street, the ground is at the end of the street.
From Larne and the East
Take the A36 road towards Ballymena town centre. continue over the M2 bypass road,and into the A26 Larne Road Link. Continue past the town centre, then once in North Road take a right turn into Parkway. At the second roundabout take the forth exit into Warden Street, the ground is at the end of the street.
There are a number of parking spaces situated alongside the training pitches close to the ground however being as the ground has only one entrance and exit getting away after the game could prove time consuming, there are however plenty of multistorey car parks in Ballymena town centre, five minutes from the Showgrounds.
Ballymena Railway Station has a regular service on the Belfast to Londonderry line. The adjacent Bus Station also has a regular service by Goldline buses 212 Belfast Europa Bus Station to Londonderry and 218 Belfast Europa Bus Station to Portrush. There is a taxi rank outside the station for those in a hurry.
Directions from the Bus/Train station:
Approx 10 minutes. Walk down the approach road from the bus station, and take a left turn passing under the railway bridge. Walk across the A26 road and once in the narrow town centre Mill Street turn left into Wellington Street. The road will fork in two directions, take the right hand road next to the bandstand and Bank of Ireland building. Follow this road north passing the petrol station and supermarket, this will lead to a roundabout. Turn right into Warden Street. The Showgrounds is at the end of the road.
Official Programme £2
Coleraine is the traditional rival. Closer to home, Ballymoney, Antrim Club Chimney Corner and Ballyclare Comrades.
2017-2018: 1,280 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
2016-2017: 1,248 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
2015-2016: 958 (Premier League)
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If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, then please e-mail me at: [email protected] and I'll update the guide.
Special thanks to Owen Pavey for providing the photos and stadium layout plan of the Showgrounds Ballymena.