Just one meeting to report on between us and Spalding United so far; us beating the Tulips during the 1986-7 FA Cup. At the time, the Tulips were playing in the Northern Counties East League; later switching into the Southern League and then back to the United Counties League. Such is the distance between us in the pyramid that you’d think it unlikely – but not impossible – a repeat encounter is on the cards any time soon.
Spalding United: The Facts
Sir Halley Stewart Field
Winfrey Avenue, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 1DA
The Tulips are the result of a 1905 merger between Fulney Institute and Victoria. In the early days, the club entered the Peterborough and District League; clinching the championship in 1931. The next stop for them would be the Northamptonshire League, which became the United Counties League in 1934. It’d be where they would play up to and through to the other side of World War Two. But they were getting itchy feet and had designs on the Eastern Counties League.
Sadly for them, the ECL rejected their application in 1954. So, the Tulips went away and won both the UCL title and its associated league cup. All of a sudden, the ECL were all too happy to allow them in. After a five-season stay, the club then decided to move on again; first into the Central Alliance for a year and then onto the Midland League. Yet, this didn’t work out for them either – finishing bottom twice in six campaigns and not much better in the others. So, in 1968, it was back to the UCL.
Here they stuck it out right? Hmm. Not quite. The Tulips were UCL champions in 1975 – and otherwise had strong campaigns. In 1978, they returned to the Midland League and broadly struggled again; moving onto the Northern Counties East League in 1982. In their second season, they were champions. But they’d move yet again in 1986 (back to the UCL) and 1988 (into the Southern League). Honestly, the Tulips simply can’t decide on where they want to be if you look their league history. And it’s like that more or less until 2014.
How to get to Spalding United – Travel Information – Distance: 78 miles
Go north on the A1(M) and A1 for Peterborough and continue onto the bit of motorway up there. Leave at Junction 17 for the A1139 Fletton Parkway towards Spalding and continue along for eight miles.
Take the third exit at the roundabout for the A47 and then – soon after – the first exit at the roundabout by a Travelodge for Crowland Road. In 1.7 miles, continue onto Peterborough Road. After another 1.9 miles, take the third exit at the roundabout onto the A16 and stick with it for 8.4 miles. After you cover that distance, take the second exit at the roundabout.
You’re not on the A16 any more (nor the A1175) at this point. But never fear. Continue on for the B1172. Turn left as you come into Spalding, turning right after crossing the bridge to stay on the B1172. After Homebase, turn left onto Westlde Street (still the B1172) and continue onto New Road. Turn right onto Swan Street and then right onto Winfrey Avenue.
There are some Pay and Display car parks right across from the ground, as well as some limited (but free) parking within a few minutes’ walk. This free parking can be limited to a three-hour stay at peak times, however.
Services to: PETERBOROUGH
Come out of the station on the side of the Sainsbury’s superstore. If you can, cut through the car park in a straight line (pretty much) across to the ground.
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