July 5, 2023

Adventures in Football #79: Langland Stadium (Malvern Town FC) 

Adventures in Football #79: Langland Stadium (Malvern Town FC) 


July 4, 2023 




Malvern is one of the closest grounds to my place of work and yet, to date, I’ve not had the pleasure. The only time I’ve been able to get to a match there has been in winter, and it’s been dark on a Tuesday night. I want that cracking view of the Malvern Hills in the background! The Hillsiders were formed in 1946. They’ve never been close to the big time but they’re currently operating at a decent level. They finished P3 in 2022 and P2 in the Hellenic League Premier last season, getting promoted to the Southern League. That’s still two divisions below today’s visitors, Redditch United.  


Maria picks me up after work and we head off to our forty-first ground together. This is what a successful marriage looks like, people. Beforehand we have time to grab a pint and swing by the Bluebell Inn, which is “walking distance” from the ground. According to Google, 18 minutes away. Given the time circumstances, I think we’ll drive it.  

This is superior scran. The chips are too thin for my liking but the chili they had was banging. The Bluebell didn’t have a great range of beers so I ended up with a Brooklyn Pilsner. The ale end of the bar looked a bit sad, and the only ale option was Bombardier. Even the club recommend this as a nearby watering hole. There’s nothing close to the ground itself.  

Two things struck me about Malvern’s ground. Firstly, it was very modern with black steel and branding everywhere but also, secondly, that it was a little dilapidated in places. The sign out by the street is the first example. Branding is on point here but the ‘next match’ thing is just a broken board.  

I check in on Futbology for the game and this fella pops up. What a difference maker he was for Royal Madrid. If he was a modern player he definitely would be in the Premier League, or Saudi Arabia.  

When I say the club has impressive branding, this is what I’m talking about. The contrast between this badge over the entrance and the board out by the road is night and day. There’s some decent wood panelling and although the pay window is needlessly tiny they took card or cash. If you had an eTicket you could just saunter on through the right side.  

The branding continued in the building behind the entrance. You walk through here, where the seating is over you, to get into the ground itself and they have a cool badge right in the floor.  

Emerging out into the pitchside area I felt the urge to explore. The dugouts are plexiglass and have helpful “HOME” and “AWAY” tags on so you know where to stand to yell at the opposition manager. “Go back to Redditch, booo” etc.  

Maria is still hungry so we’re off for pre-match nibbles, and I fancy another pint. Everything looks neat and tidy from down here. The black steel railings are not my favourite but they do seem to appear at every newly put together non-league ground.  

Into the clubhouse and they’ve got a cracking little set up here. The bar staff were nice and I got myself a Cruzcampo. They did have Reliance on tap, which is a good beer for non-league. Plastic glasses so you can head outside with it. Nothing like watching the football with a beer in hand. Unless it’s the middle of winter, then I’ll pass. Great set up in here. One area of football I like to be suitably modernised is the bar area. I’ll take this refurbished set up over some of the run down ‘social club’ style clubhouses I’ve been in.  

Maria has acquired a burger. The kitchen has a little window out into the playing area. While she was getting her food, I got my beer. Some lovely 1946 Malvern branding on the tables too. Everything around branding was really accomplished at Malvern Town. Fair play to them for how everything looks. Maria’s report on the burger is that she didn’t like the bread but the “patty” was delicious. She made a bit of a mess deconstructing the thing but I had some tissue on hand to clean up.  

If you so desired, and it’s preferable in the dead of winter, you could probably watch the game without leaving the bar. Unless throngs of people obscured your view. I’m sat down here and I can see most of the pitch. If I was stood up, I could see a solid 70-80% including both goals. They have a nice set up just outside the bar but I took a picture of that from a better angle later. 

Speaking of the set up. Here’s a better view of the clubhouse. They’ve got a pool table too (Garth voice). This is a proper decent set up for this level.  

Heading out into the ground I take a walk around. This huge area at pitchside is where, I assume, an ambulance would be able to access the pitch. It serves, during this contest, as a playing area for the local kids. At one point their ball getting onto the pitch and causing a stoppage in the game. It’s the club’s fault for putting a full set of goals down the one end. What child can resist that?  

The views around the ground vary dramatically. Behind the one goal you get some trees at the far end, from the stand you get terraced housing. On the other side of the pitch you get the money shots. I take a stroll to explore.  

Here’s a look at the stand from the other side. Look at the girth on that flag post! Chonky!  

Anyway, here’s what you come to Malvern for. The hills. It’s great walking up there but it also serves as a handy backdrop for some photos. This is the view I’d be going for if I was a regular. I did briefly stop to consider why the club built the stand on the other side but it does kind of make sense. In sacrificing the view, they’ve made it easier for old folks to get into the seats. Also, the sun sets behind the stand. Everyone would have been blinded in the second half here if it was over this side.  

Our final money shot of the hills includes the outside the clubhouse area that I was raving about. As you can see it features umbrellas and tables and looks like a nice place to watch the game from. Maria, while I went on a tour around the ground, has found a spot up in the stand.  

This is our spot for the game. It’s already about 10 minutes in, as I took my sweet time roaming around. Enough for her to text me saying “R U okay?” Yep, I’m good. I did take a moment to nip into their toilet and egad, it’s tiny. The urinal trough is only big enough for two, providing you don’t have any intimacy issues, and there’s one shitter. I had to strategically time my piss break to avoid half time.  

We were sat behind these three grumblers from Redditch, who did not enjoy their team’s performance. I did! Redditch were crap. If only they would stay that way. Redditch are the kind of team that gets really good for a season and then goes mediocre for five afterwards. Based on this performance, this won’t be one of the ‘good’ seasons. Malvern largely boss the game but don’t break through until early in the second half, when the left-sided centre back for Redditch underhits a back pass. A gift. 1-0 Hillsiders. 

Grumpiness intensifies!  


I have a few player notes. Malvern’s #9, who comes off at HT, has a beer gut. I know its early in pre-season, but you’ll have to put some hours in to get rid of that pal. Malvern’s #7 is their best player. I’ve dubbed him a “roaming playmaker” in my notes, which sums it up. Whenever Malvern got the ball, everything went through him. He was playing progressive forward passes and was also a useful ball carrier. He’s too good for this level but playing in this team does allow him a lot of freedom. Redditch’s #17 comes in for some flak as I’ve dubbed him “a dirty bastard” in my notes but he was also their best attacking threat.  

The floodlights pop on and I get all artistic with this shot and Malvern hit Redditch on the break for 2-0. Lovely stuff. Malvern are two divisions below Redditch but were the better team here. Both sides had chances to make that scoreline different and on another day the Malvern keeper doesn’t make two incredible saves and it could have been a draw. It looks like a good season to be a Malvern Town fan though. If they play like this in their division it won’t be long before they’re rubbing shoulders with Redditch in the league.  

On my way back to my seat I nearly fell through this bloody thing. That will need some attention Malvern! Now, onto the ratings: 



It’s pre-season so this is a harsh one to judge. We got some applause for the two goals but that’s about it. * 



Tickets were a tenner, which seems a bit steep for non-league at this level and it not being a competitive game. I guess it’s a fund raiser for the club. There were a fair few people there considering. **½ 



It was a decent game. There was plenty of goalmouth action at either end. I was certainly never bored. The mass of substitutions didn’t kill the game’s rhythm and, if anything, it got better towards the conclusion. *** 



The ground has the misfortune of being neither close to Malvern Link or Great Malvern, the town’s two train stations. It’s about 20 minutes walk from both, which isn’t too bad. We drove there and parked right outside. It’s a decent sized car park considering the size of the club. That will inevitably change if they shoot up the divisions and gain a following. ***½  



Bonus points for the view, bonus points for the clubhouse, minus a point for me nearly falling through their stand. ***½ 


OVERALL: 13.5 

It’s not a high rating for Malvern. They weren’t helped by a number of factors. 1. Pre-season friendly. 2. the July weather being unseasonably cold. 3. My in-built disdain for 3G pitches and big black steel fences. 4. Some minor repair issues. Loads of positives for a team of this size though. They’ve built a fine team, they have a decent stadium with incredible views and they’ve invested in a bar. They’re a team after my own heart. I wish them all the best in the coming season. Redditch, as always, I hope get relegated.  


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