From Lodmoor to the Bob Lucas Stadium
The opening plays in the club’s history took place on a field at Lodmoor, now a car park, where they stayed for three years before moving to Westham. Whilst playing at Goldcroft Road, Westham, the players would change at the Rock Hotel in Abbotsbury Road (they used what is now the skittle alley!) At this time the club also had a second pitch this being at Bincleaves.
In 1897 a lease was negotiated with the town’s council for the use of the Athletic Ground, this becoming better known as the Recreation Ground. A visit from Upton Park FC, in a friendly, being the club’s first game on the “new” ground. The club had to share usage of the ground with other local sides, mainly the Royal Artillery team based at the Nothe Fort, in order to meet the costs involved. This continuing until the middle of the first decade of the 20th century.
The council assisted the club in putting up a couple of wooden stands, one with dressing rooms underneath. These were added to and improved over the years, extra terracing and a new stand were built, but the original stand – with dressing rooms beneath – was still in place (although substantively rebuilt) when the ground closed in 1986.
The ground was requisitioned for the war effort for eight years and in August 1947 with no assets the club was forced to start again in the Western League Division Two. In December 1948, the record attendance for the Rec’ was set. A total of 12,512 saw an FA Cup 2nd round tie against Yeovil Town.
The Rec’ was one of the earliest grounds to have floodlighting, installed in 1952, with a match against Southampton on 3 November being the first ever floodlight football match played in the county of Dorset. This system was updated – periodically – for instance in 1965 when £11000 was spent to upgrade the lights to four 130-foot pylons.
Our home since 1987
Bob Lucas Stadium
In 1986 the club left the Recreation Ground after 99 years to move to the Wessex Stadium, a purpose built ground on the outskirts of the town. The final match at the old ground saw around 1700 spectators admitted free to witness a 2-2 Conference draw with Sutton United. This took place on 27 April 1987. The record attendance at the Recreation Ground had been set on 11 December 1948 when 12512 saw Yeovil visit the town in an FA Cup tie.
The Wessex Stadium, built to hold 10000, with 900 seated in the stand, first saw a football kicked in anger with the visit of Taunton Town in the Western Counties Floodlight Cup final on 18 August 1987 in front of 1023 spectators. The league season opened with a visit from Lincoln City – who had just suffered relegation from the Football League – on 26 August and the “official” attendance was 3500.
Ron Greenwood performed the official opening of the ground on 21 October 1987, prior to an exhibition match against Manchester United – which the Terras won by 1-0. The attendance for this fixture was given as 4904, but many of us there that cold October evening felt that this was understated. In November 2005, 6500 watched an FA Cup First Round Replay at the Wessex Stadium which saw Weymouth defeated 2-0 by League One side Nottingham Forest, the game was broadcast live on Sky Sports and remains a record attendance at the ground. In April 2006, 5022 were in attendance as top of the table Weymouth played second placed St Albans City in a fiercely fought encounter, the attendance for this game is the league record at the ground.
Bob Lucas Stadium,
Directions from the North and East
From the A35 Dorchester By-pass, take the A354 towards Weymouth at the roundabout next to Dorchester Town FC.
In about 2 miles at the top of Ridgeway you will be on the new Weymouth Relief Road and enjoy fine views across the town and bay.
At the first roundabout you come to take the 2nd exit and follow the A354 ‘Town Centre’ signs. At the 2nd roundabout turn right for ‘Town Centre’.
At the 3rd roundabout you will start to see the ‘Wessex Stadium’ signs (signs haven’t been changed to Bob Lucas Stadium). Take the 2nd exit keeping on the A354 and follow these signs. At the next roundabout, Chafeys, take the 3rd exit for B3157 and follow the signs for ‘Wessex Stadium’.
You will start to see the Stadium in front of you. Take the 3rd exit at the next roundabout and into the stadium car park.
Directions from the West
Travelling along the A35 from Axminster/Honiton you will come to a roundabout at the southern end of the Bridport Bypass. At this roundabout take the 3rd exit signed B3157 Burton Bradstock.
The B3157 will take you along the Jurassic Coast Road for 16 miles through the picturesque villages of Burton Bradstock, Abbotsbury and Portesham and is a shorter route than following the A35. In the ‘town’ of Chickerell you will come to a set of traffic lights adjacent to Chickerell Army Camp.
Take the left turn signed for B3157 Weymouth and after half a mile on your left hand you will see the Bob Lucas Stadium. Turn left at the next roundabout (signed Wessex Stadium) and left again into the stadium car park.
Travelling to Weymouth by Train
There is an hourly service To/From London Waterloo (approx. 2hrs 45miins journey) via Southampton run by South Western Railway and a more infrequent service To/From Bristol Temple Meads (approx. 2hrs 30mins journey) via Westbury and Yeovil run by Great Western Railway.
www.southwesternrailway.co.uk – South Western Trains
www.gwr.co.uk – Great Western Railway
www.thetrainline.com – Rail Enquiries and Tickets
Directions to the Bob Lucas Stadium if arriving by train
Weymouth railway station is situated in King Street which is 2 miles from the Bob Lucas Stadium, so unless you fancy a hike the following are recommended.
If you want to get to the ground early to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the bar and catering facilities, your best bet is to catch a taxi. They are reasonably priced compared to a lot of towns and if there are 3/4 of you (or more if you can get an 8 seater) it can be cheaper and quicker to get a taxi. It will cost approximately £6/£7 from the station/town to the ground.
Taxis are available from the rank located on the station forecourt.
Alternatively Weyline Taxis are located in Queen Street, outside the station between The Railway Tavern and Giant Pot.
If you are visiting many of the fine hostelries in town, there is a taxi rank outside The Swan (Wetherspoons), or the following taxi firms have offices in town:
Weyline Taxis (01305 777777)
Fleetline (01305 784252)
Bee Cars (01305 775151)
Weytax (01305 773636 or 783636)
You can catch the following First Bus Route (although taxi is recommended for convenience if there are a few of you to share costs and you get dropped off right outside the ground).
No. 3 Hereford Road – This route has a 15 minute frequency during the day but no service during the evening. Ask for Radipole Lane which is a 6/7 minute stroll along Radipole Lane to the Wessex Stadium. Returning to the station, simply catch the same bus from the same bus stop you get off at.
In the evening it is No 8 Chickerell, which is only hourly and there isn’t really a suitable return service as it goes by different route.
The buses can be caught from King Street Roundabout just a few minutes from the station. Head out of the station and turn right down King Street. Cross over and turn left at the roundabout. The Bus Stop is located next to the roundabout in front of the Bus Garage. Both routes go via the Town Centre and pick up at Commercial Road (behind Debenhams) and Town Bridge at the harbour end of St Thomas Street.