Drill Field Full name The Drill Field Location Northwich, Cheshire, England Coordinates Opened
Closed 3 May 2002 Demolished 2002; redeveloped for housing Owner Northwich Victoria F.C. Operator Northwich Victoria Capacity 6,000 Tenants Northwich Victoria F.C. (1875-2002)
The Drill Field was a football stadium in Northwich, Cheshire, which was the home ground of Northwich Victoria Football Club between 1875 and 3 May 2002. At the time it was closed, it was believed to have been the oldest football ground in the world.
The Drill Field became home to Northwich Victoria in 1875, after the land was, at first, used free from cost, and then leased from its original tenants. Its name originated from the site being the former drilling ground of 22 Company, the 3rd Battalion Cheshire Rifle Volunteers.
Originally a piece of fenced-off land, a grandstand was constructed in the 1890s housing 600 spectators. In 1912, a covered stand was constructed, which would later be moved to face the grandstand and became known as the Dane Bank Stand, due to its location beside the banks of the River Dane.
In the early days of the Drill Field, there were no changing rooms or bathrooms, which had to be provided by local landlords.
In 1914, Northwich Victoria purchased the ground for £1,000 from Colonel Sir Thomas Marshall. 3 benefactors helped the club to pay this sum, they were Manchester City F.C, Sir John Brunner, a former President of the club and co-founder of Brunner Mond, a manufacturer of Soda Ash located in the town, and Greenall Whitley, a brewery based in the nearby town of Warrington. At the 1921 Annual General Meeting held on 10th August, it was announced that the remaining interest for the purchase of the ground had been paid and that the ground was now owned by the club.
In the summer of 1996, a plan to rebuild the Dane Bank Stand was announced in order to help the ground to meet Conference standards. The Sports Ground Initiative, a charity which provided money to Conference clubs to improve their grounds, donated £250,000 to the new stand, more than half of the total £450,000 cost of the stand. The stand was officially opened by former Everton F.C. manager Joe Royle on 27th January 1998. Following the opening of the stand, Manchester United fielded a side to face Northwich including Henning Berg and Brian McClair.
Less than a month later on 12th February, the Drill Field hosted an England Under 16s match against Israel, featuring future Premier League players such as Wes Brown, Paul Robinson, Paul Konchesky and Yossi Benayoun.
On 1st July 1999, the England Under 16s returned to the Drill Field for a match against France with future Premier League players such as Jermaine Pennant, Michael Chopra and Jeremie Aliadiere making appearances.
The final game played at the Drill Field was a Mid Cheshire Senior Cup match against Congleton Town on 3rd May 2002. Following this, the ground was sold to property developers and demolished, with the club moving into their new home a few years later at the Victoria Stadium. The entire Dane Bank Stand, rebuilt in 1998, was moved to the new ground and is therefore a remnant of the Drill Field ground.  The road where the Drill Field was located retains its old name, despite being used for house as Drill Field Road.
- ^ Conn, David (1999-12-30). "Inside football: Drill Field's disputed place in record books". London: independent.co.uk. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/inside-football-drill-fields-disputed-place-in-record-books-1135127.html. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- ^ "Time Called on the Drill Field". BBC News. 2000-10-19. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/n/northwich_victoria/980056.stm. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- ^ "NVFC Club History (1874-2008)". Northwich Victoria F.C.. http://www.northwichvics.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=26&Itemid=66. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- ^ a b "Ground of the week: Drill Field". BBC London. http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2008/07/19/nl_drill_feature.shtml. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- ^ "The Drill Field". pp. 9–11. http://odin.prohosting.com/nvfc/THE%20DRILL%20FIELD.htm. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
- ^ Drillfielder Matchday Programme- Northwich Vics vs. Manchester United. 1998-01-27.
- ^ Drillfielder Matchday Programme- England v. Israel. 1998-02-12.
- ^ Drillfielder Matchday Programme- England v. France. 1999-07-01.
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