Radstock Town Football Club
Southfields Recreation Ground, Southfields, Radstock BA3 3NZ
Match Day Details
Days & TimesSaturday - 3pm
Wednesday - 7.30PM
Admission PricesAdults - £ 5.00
Concessions - £3.00
Under 16 Free
Southfield has staged football in the Somerset Senior, Wiltshire and Western Leagues since just after the Great War but that is just the start of what is a fascinating story which goes back to Victorian times.
The Somerset town of Radstock has always been synonymous with mining and railways and although both industries have gone their legacy is everywhere, including Radstock Town's own home ground which was created and purchased from the Waldegrave family originally following the formation of a company funded by the miners who paid 2/6d each week. Later it was taken over the by the Miners Welfare, one of many such grounds in the North Somerset Coal Fields area until the mines began to close whereupon Southfields went into the hands of the trusteeship of the council.
Today the ground is neat and tidy but is being prepared for a rebirth as plans are in hand to bring it up to date and in line with the requirements of football at this level which are forever changing. The current chairman of the Miners is Simon Wilkinson, whose family have been an integral part of the club for many decades. Cousin Dave is also at the club and he explained that the Wilkinsons go right back at Southfield: "My father was Bert Wilkinson who played in the 40s and 50s and he was a miner and was one of five brothers who all played for the club. There was a mixture of local men and some South Bristol boys who played as the railway systems from there were good, including Bill Holloway, father of well known City and Rovers man Ian." The railways may be long gone thanks to Dr Beeching but there is still a tenuous connection all around the pitch to this day. Dave added: "The pitch barrier posts have been in the ground for decades and were actually steam engine connecting rods originally while another railway link was the old carriage which stood roughly where the clubhouse is now and was used as dressing rooms. A steam engine towed it up here and it was used for years."
Clubs such as Radstock have a rich heritage of anecdotal and historical reference which can be found in the archives of the local paper including the story of a local postman who could not get away in time to join the coach to play down at Poole, and instead rode down in his kit on a moped, which was then somehow fitted onto the coach after the game to save him the return journey.
The more modern version of the club in the hands of Simon Wilkinson has any number of dedicated men and women who knit together to provide the backbone of the club in the First Division of the Western League as Simon explained: "I left the RAF in 1994 and played over at Tunley but then came to Southfield and helped run the reserves with John Hand and have been here ever since. I was secretary for six years and at one point did both jobs until Debbie Smith took over around four years ago and she does a superb job. Rich Sobers is another constant here and has been for years and both his sons have played for Radstock while Ian Lanning was once kit man at Cardiff City and came here when Bath City U18 became Radstock Town U18s. They have been very successful."
Simon was keen to thank all those who work tirelessly at the club including Will Clarke who helps keep the pitch to a high standard and cousin Dave, who he says "is very handy to have around as his knowledge on many football subjects is vital." Shelley Seymour is the club treasurer while father Graham is another who has been around the place for ever and at one time provided match reports for the Somerset Guardian. Ali James runs the tea bar while trying to watch her 16 year old son Mason play and overseeing all is president Harold Stevens who may have been around at the club longer than anyone.
This season has been a bit of a struggle so far as boss Shane Smith watched a number of last term's squad move to pastures new and there was plenty of inexperience but the new squad is settled and is enjoying the skills of new man Nathan Farquharson. The big Londoner has any number of coaching badges and has an impressive CV and is very popular around the club and in the dressing room having had a spell last year at Warminster Town. Goalscorer Sam Gregory and Jack Metcalf have brought some stability while goalkeeper Jack Scrivens has returned, he being the son of well known local keeper Ken Scrivens.
Simon is realistic about this current season and says: "We are looking to stabilise and just stay in the league and a top half finish will be a bonus after the upheaval. There is a good team spirit here and Shane has done a superb job."
As with all clubs at this level sponsorship is crucial and they are given ample coverage in the excellent match programme. Chris Weare is a long time friend of the club and his CW Accountancy Services are an important benefactor, as are Carpets and Fabric Direct and Greene King Brewers, who supply the clubhouse which is run by Andrew Bailey and Kerry Langan.
The town of Radstock is in the very heart of Somerset and the football club has had its ups and downs since its official founding in 1895, with spells in the Western League and Somerset Senior League until the Western League Division Two folded in 1960 meaning the Miners had to cross county lines and play in the Wiltshire League where they enjoyed a hugely successful spell. They returned to Somerset football in 1971 and since then it has been a roller coaster ride but despite the uncertainty at the start of this campaign the club have found their level and with ground improvements at Southfield in the pipeline the old engine connecting rods may be on the way out but a new era may be about to be ushered in.
Fixtures & Results
The town of Radstock is situated 15 miles south east of Bristol and 8 miles southwest of Bath on the A367. At the double roundabout in the town centre take the A362 towards Frome. Take the 3rd turning on the right (on a sharp r/h bend) the ground is 200 metres straight ahead. If you see the Fromeway P.H. you have gone too far!