10,000 (Seats 5,000)
Address: Mersey Street, Belfast, BT4 1FG
Telephone: 028 9045 6137
Fax: 028 9073 2956
Pitch Size: 112 x 72 yards
Pitch Type: NULL
Club Nickname: The Glens
Home Kit: Red, Black and Green
The Oval is located in a residential area of east Belfast, close to Belfast City Airport and the City Centre. Home fans enter the ground through a gateway at the end of Parkside Drive. The car park leads onto the rear of the Main Stand with its club shop, club offices and players dressing rooms on the ground floor. Looking at the main stand from pitch side, this tall but narrow stand dominates the ground. Sitting to the left of the pitch towards the curved (West) end the stand originally had a small paddock area which has now been converted to seats to form a family area, with a low lightweight roof. Above it, raised a couple of metres above pitch level is the steep upper tier seating deck, complete with 2,720 red and green plastic seats. The view from these seats is spectacular, not just of the pitch but the dockyards and Harland and Wolfe shipyard cranes in the foreground and Cave Hill in the far distance.
Looking to the right from these seats the home terrace behind the (East) end offers an unrestricted, if a little bit exposed view of the whole ground. Although The Oval is regarded as oval in shape the curve behind the goals is more elliptical rather than a true half circle, and there is no athletics track as the name may suggest so the terracing is not far removed from the action. There is however a tall pitch side fence around three sides of the ground. On the opposite side of the pitch from the Main Stand there is a covered terrace which backs onto the Belfast to Bangor railway line. This stand, which sits on the pitch centre line, has been converted to seating for 2,000 spectators. There are a number of columns at the front of the stand which may impede your view however the low roof keeps the rain out and ensures a good atmosphere. The side wings to the left and right of the stand remain exposed terracing. Looking to the left of the Main Stand, the open terracing behind the West End of the ground mirrors the dimensions and shape of the East End. Because of its location, history and layout The Oval is regarded as something of a classic ground by ground hoppers from outside Northern Ireland.
The Club have announced that they are to go ahead with the building of a new stadium on the present site of the Oval ground. At a cost of £9.2m a new 8,000 capacity stadium is to be built, which will include 6,000 seats. With funding for the development secured, then it is now only a matter of time before the bulldozers move into to demolish this classic old ground.
Visitors are allocated an enclosed section of the curved West End Terrace behind the goal. Please note that the away section of the terrace is accessed by a separate covered walkway (See ground layout map). The terrace is open to the elements and although there is a tall pitch side fence around this side of the ground the terrace is tall enough to allow spectators to see over the fence and view the whole ground.
The nearest pubs and shops are in Belmont Road, in the Strandtown area of the city, 5-10 minutes walk from the Parkgate Drive main entrance. Follow Mersey Street away from the ground, over the river. At the end of the road turn left, cross the road and take the next right turn into Pims Avenue. This will lead onto the busy Hollywood Road Continue over the cross road into Belmont Road.
From Antrim, Ballymena and the North
Follow the M2 to South of Junction 1, pass over the River Lagan onto the M3 and turn off at the Odyssey Arena junction. Continue along the exit road, take a right turn into Sydenham Road, towards the Harland Technology Park. At the roundabout take the third exit which takes you back over the A2 Sydenham Bypass. Take a left turn into Mersey Street. The main entrance is at the end of Parkside Drive, on the left hand side.
From Lisburn, Portadown and the South
Follow the M1 to Junction 1,continue along the A12 Westlink and join the M3 on the approach to Odyssey Arena. Pass over the River Lagan, and turn off at the Odyssey Arena junction.Continue along the exit road, take a right turn into Sydenham Road, towards the Harland Technology Park. At the roundabout take the third exit which takes you back over the A2 Sydenham Bypass. Take a left turn into Mersey Street. The main entrance is at the end of Parkside Drive, on the left hand side.
There is a car park at the ground, at the rear of the Main Stand though as there is only one entrance and exit gate getting away after a game is time consuming.
There are two railway stations on the Belfast Central to Bangor railway line that are within walking distance from the ground. Titanic Quarter is the best option, a three minute journey from Belfast Central Station will bring you to this stop, and a safe 10 minute walk will bring you to the ground. Sydenham Railway Station is the next stop down the line, and takes 20 minutes to walk from the station to the ground. Directions from Sydenham Railway station are also shown below since it is the nearest stop for fans arriving at Belfast City Airport.
Directions from Titanic Quarter Railway Station
Go over the footbridge, walk through the subway and turn left. This will lead you into a housing estate in Ballymacarett Road (featuring a mural to author C.S Lewis) .After a 5 minute walk you will see crossroads, take a left turn into Dee Street and you should catch a glimpse of the floodlights. Follow Dee Street as it turns to the right and just as you see the road go up hill towards the railway bridge, take a turn to the right into Mersey Street. The ground main entrance is a further 5 minute walk at the end of Parkgate Drive.
Directions from Sydenham Railway Station
From the housing estate side, follow Station Road to its end, turn right into Holywood Road, follow the road downhill and take a right turn into Park Avenue, then left into Connisbrook Avenue, and right into Mersey Street. The ground entrance is at the end of Parkside Drive, on the right hand side of the road.
Arriving in Belfast at Great Victoria Street Railway Station or Europa Bus Centre
There is a taxi rank directly outside the bus/train station however as this will take you slowly through the busy city centre to The Oval on the east side of Belfast this will prove an expensive option. Alternatively, when you come out of the station entrance turn left, pass the opera house, and take a right turn into Howard Street. This will lead you towards City Hall. From here you have the option of walking to the ground, grabbing a taxi or picking up Metro Bus 3 (Holywood Road) from Donegal Square West bus stop. Since this bus does not go direct to the ground you will need to get off as it travels along Newtownards Road, then walk up Dee Street and take a right turn into Mersey Street. The entrance to The Oval is on the left hand side at the end of Parkside Drive.
There is a taxi rank directly outside the terminal building, and Airport Express Service 600 runs direct to Belfast City centre at regular intervals, however there is no direct bus link to The Oval from either the Airport or the City Centre.
For those with time on their hands, the ground can be reached on foot in around 30 minutes. Turn right when you come out of the main terminal building, walk through the car park and alongside the A2 Sydenham Bypass,walk over the footbridge to Sydenham Railway Station. From here Metro Bus 3 can get you closer to the ground as it passes along Connsbrook Avenue or Newtownards Road, however if you prefer to keep walking,follow Station Road to its end,turn right into Holywood Road, follow the road downhill and take a right turn into Park Avenue,then left into Connisbrook Avenue, and right into Mersey Street. The ground entrance is at the end of Parkside Drive, on the right hand side of the road.
Under 11’s £1 (when accompanied by a paying adult)
Official Matchday Programme £3.
The main Premier League rivalry is with Linfield from South Belfast, but also Crusaders and Cliftonville from North Belfast League club Dundela are near neighbours.
2017-2018: 1,615 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
2016-2017: 1,576 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
2015-2016: 1,448 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
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Special thanks to Owen Pavey for providing the photos and stadium layout plan of the Oval Glentoran.