The Pilot Field
stadium_name = The Pilot Field
fullname = The Pilot Field
Hastings, East Sussex
owner = Hastings Borough Council
seating_capacity = 4,050 (800 Seats)
Hastings United F.C.
dimensions = 110 x 75 yards
The Pilot Field is home to Hastings United, who play in the
Isthmian League Isthmian League Premier Division
It has a capacity of 4,050 and has a main stand to the side of the pitch which seats and covers spectators. There is also a club bar near the main entrance to the ground which hosts various events in the function room, which is available for hire. The grounds record attendance is 4,888 v
Nottingham Forest, for a friendly which took place in the year 1996.
The first club to play on the old meadow was All Saints FC, and played their first game on the upper pitch (now the Firs). In 1921
HastingsBorough Council excavated and laid out two pitches because of the slope, and all the earth was moved and built up in the area where the main stand is currently situated. Two years later the Grandstand was built, with a capacity of 1,000 spectators, all seated but mainly with wooden benches. In 1948, a newly formed club Hastings United played professional football on the Pilot Field, which meant Hastings & St. Leonards had to move up to the Firs. The Pilot Field also hosted Greyhound racing and Speedway for a short period. The old Hastings United club played on the Pilot Field until 1985, when they folded due to massive debts. Hastings & St. Leonards had now changed their name to Hastings Town, and were still playing on the Firs, but played on Balverhythe council pitches for a short spell. Town moved back to the Pilot Field after 37 years.
Description of the Ground
Around three sides of the pitch is a dirt track, which was once used for Speedway and Greyhound racing, the width of the dirt track has been decreased to allow spectators to get closer to the pitch. The Main Stand, elevated above pitch level, has the capacity of 800 spectators, mainly being on wooden benches, with a number of seats in the centre of the stand. Opposite the main stand is a large grass bank, which has been fenced off due to health and safety, when the old United played here, the capacity of the ground was around 9,000. By the main entrance of the ground is the club bar and club shop, along this side of the ground is covered terracing which used to be the only point in the ground which would offer dry standing.
Recently it was revealed that the club wished to sell the ground and use the money to build a new stadium, with an adjacent all-weather pitch and an athletics track. Moving would involve Hastings Borough Council selling the Pilot Field and The Firs and using the money made to build a new stadium elsewhere in town. The proposal has been backed by olympic runner
[http://www.nomad-online.co.uk/html/bob_lilliman_page_15.html Old archive photographs]
* [http://www.hastingsunitedfc.co.uk/TravelInfo.htm Directions to the ground from club's official website]
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