1912-1989 / 1990-1992
1912-1989 / 1990-1992
Somerton Park was the first home of the original Newport County from 1912 until 27th February 1989 when the club went bankrupt. During these years there were many highs and lows. The most notable triumphs coming in the 1979-1980 Season when promotion from the old Fourth Division into the old Third Division (now League One) and winning the Welsh Cup (for the only time in the club's history) were both achieved.
The following season saw the club reach the quarter final of the European Cup Winners Cup losing to the East German side Carl Zeiss Jena 3-2 on aggregate. After drawing 2-2 in the away leg, an attendance of 18,000 crammed into Somerton Park to watch County be defeated by a single goal. Portugese giants Benfica were the prize in the semi-final!
The stadium's record attendance was 24,268 for a Football League Third Division South fixture against Cardiff City on 16th October 1937.
Other notable attendances at Somerton Park include a crowd of 24,000 who witnessed third round FA Cup tie between County and Tottenham Hotspur on 9th January 1960 which ended 4-0 defeat for the home side and 14,124 which was the crown when County triumphed 2-1 over West Ham United in the FA Cup on the 9th January 1979.
Whilst at Somerton Park, County achieved promotion to the Old Second Division (now the Championship) for the only time in their history after winning the old Third Division 1938-39. Unfortunately the Second World War intervened, the Football League was resumed in the 1946-47 Season with County in Division Two. They finished last and were relegated.
Besides both Greyhound Racing and Speedway taking place at the Somerton Park over many years, truly outstanding footballers and teams have played there. In 1960 a showbiz team played a charity game and included many notable celebrities including: 007 himself, Sean Connery, and Des OConnor.
The reformed club, Newport County AFC, had a two year spell at the ground from 1990 before playing at Gloucester and then returning to the newly built Newport Stadium for the 1994-95 season.
Somerton Park was sadly demolished in 1993 for housing. Many of our older supporters still today remember the old ground with great affection.
Article by Tim Thraves