Crabble Athletic Ground
Capacity: 5,745 (Seats 1,500)
Address: Lewisham Rd, River, Dover, CT17 0JB
Telephone: 01304 822373
Fax: 01304 821383
Pitch Size: 110 x 72 yards
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Whites
Year Ground Opened: 1931
Undersoil Heating: No
Over 60’s £14
Under 18’s £8
Under 11’s Free*
As above but with an additional transfer fee paid within the ground (£1.50 Adults, Over 60’s/Under 18’s £1, Under 11’s Free). * When accompanied by an adult (maximum 4 Under 11’s per adult) for League games. For Cup games, a charge may apply.
7,000 v Folkestone 13th October 1951
2017-2018: 1,355 (National League)
2016-2017: 1,295 (National League)
2015-2016: 1,029 (National League)
* When accompanied by an adult (maximum 4 Under 11’s per adult) for League games. For Cup games, a charge may apply.
The Crabble Athletic Ground is certainly a memorable one, mostly for its picturesque location. The Crabble ground is set into a hillside on one side of a river valley. At the base of this hillside is the ‘lower pitch’ which is now used by Dover Rugby Club. A previous club Dover FC, played matches here from 1897, before moving to the ‘upper pitch’ in 1951. It was in this year that the current Main Stand was opened.
This stand which runs the full length of the pitch on one side is a small covered all seated stand, comprising of five rows of seats. There are a number of supporting pillars running across the front of this stand, which could impede your view. The seating areas stand is split into two sides, with an enclosed Press Box, situated near to the halfway line. Above the middle area of the stand is a small upper tier that contains seating and looks to be used for Directors and Corporate Sponsors.
Opposite the Main Stand is the new Family Stand that was built in 2016. Running for half the length of the pitch, towards the Dover End, this new stand is a smart looking one. Having a capacity of 500 seats, this stand is covered. On one side there is an unusual looking security control box, which looks out onto the stadium, whilst below the control box is the player’s tunnel.
On the other side of this Family Stand towards the River End, the ground is largely open, with just the clubhouse bar sitting in one corner. Both ends are similar looking covered terraces, that again have a number of supporting pillars. They are slightly unusual in that they are larger on one side than the other, as they have been built on a slope, which is evident from the pitch, which slopes up towards the Main Stand. There is a small scoreboard located above each end terrace.
There is a sizeable club house bar within the ground, which when games are not segregated, welcomes both home and away fans. Although rather sparse, there is a warm welcome, plus the bar enjoys some great views across the ground. The nearest pub to the ground is the Cricketers on Crabble Avenue, just across the road from the lower rugby pitch.
If you arrive at Kearnsey railway station, then near to the station is the Railway Bell pub. On the walking route to the ground below, you will also pass the Royal Oak pub that has real ale, offers food and has BT Sports.
Otherwise if you are spending a bit of time in Dover town centre beforehand, there near to the railway station on Cannon Street, is a Wetherspoons pub called the Eight Bells. This pub is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Kevin Mackenzie a visiting Bristol Rovers fan recommends the; ‘Rack of Ale on Park Place in the middle of Dover. We had great banter with the Dover fans there and were treated to fantastic hospitality from the owners. This included free scotch eggs, pork pies, chips and even snails throughout our visit. Plus the ales and ciders were top notch’.
For those who have not been to Dover before, then remember it is further than you think. When you leave the M25 and join the M2, you feel as if you are almost there, when in fact you still have 60 miles still to go!
Leave the M25 at Junction 2 and take the A2 then the M2 towards Dover. On the outskirts of Dover on the A2 again, you will reach a roundabout, that has a McDonalds on your left. At this roundabout take the fourth exit onto Whitfield Hill, signposted Dover North/River. At the bottom of this road you will reach another roundabout, where you take the first exit onto London Road, going towards Dover Town Centre. At the next set of traffic lights, you make a 180 degree right turn (so you are almost coming back on yourself) onto Crabble Road. After passing under a railway bridge the entrance to the grounds is further down on the left. There is free parking available at the rugby ground, inside the entrance.