The Police Service of Northern Ireland, known as PSNI for short, are the third police force to have upheld the law in Northern Ireland, coming into being in 2001. The original force were the Royal Irish Constabulary and they were replaced in 1921 by the Royal Ulster Constabulary. While the name PSNI may not be that well known World wide, the club and the force it represents got more than it’s fair share of media attention under it’s previous title RUC, which stood for Royal Ulster Constabulary.
The Police team was formed under this title in 1956 and won the Amateur league twice in the 1970’s before stepping up to the B division, now known as division two. In the club’s best ever season they won the division for the only time and added the Intermediate cup for good measure. The force were despised Republicans and this boiled over in the 1990’s when Donegal Celtic were dissuaded, for want of a better word from playing RUC. Either way the force was replaced by PSNI at the start of the Century.
PSNI have now taken their place in division two and have even played Donegal Celtic without any problems.
The biggest problem for the team though is that they do not represent an area but instead an organisation. An inability to have the support of the local community will always be a hindrance to the team, but that should be offset by the fact that PSNI will always be the best bankrolled team in the league.
Being a sports wing of a larger organisation rather than a football team first and foremost means that PSNI can’t call on a local community to support them. There are thousands of serving police officers in Northern Ireland however, though it is hard to see them turning out to watch the team.
The policing of Northern Ireland remains a volatile issue and the PSNI remain unpopular with a hard-line section of the community. At the moment relations with other clubs are good, as they always have been from a football point of view to be fair. It is the wider question of policing and governing Northern Ireland that hangs over the team.
STADIUM NAME NEWFORGE LANE
CAPACITY 1,000 [144 SEATED}
ATTENDANCE 24/1/04 37
GATE PRICES £3
Newforge lane is set on a private members country club and so has a bar and restaurant on site. There does not seem to be any problem gaining entry to the bar but it may be best to ask first before going in. The bar and restaurant is called Mcleeves Lock.
Again the members club is the only facility offering food at Newforge Lane. Remember that it is a proper sit down meal on offer here and not the usual greasy fish and chips so if you fancy a bite to eat allow for the extra cost and extra time to eat it.
None, although PSNI/RUC items can be purchased in the club in aid of the benevolent fund, usually in aid of the widows and children of murdered officers and officers seriously injured during the troubles or in the course of duty today.
Toilets are situated behind the stand. The loo is communal and is basically a small portacabin with a urinal and a toilet. There are excellent standard toilet facilities in the club house.
No problems for the disabled here. There is a clearly marked disabled section next to the main stand and resembles an old concrete bus shelter.
GETTING TO NEWFORGE LANE
FROM BELFAST CITY CENTRE 4.1 miles
From the City centre you should make for the Grosvenor Road and follow the link road for the M1 motorway. Take the first exit from the M1 onto Stockman’s Lane and drive straight along. Go straight at the crossroads onto Balmoral Avenue and follow it to the end, going straight on again onto Newforge Lane. The lane continues for around 1/4 of a mile with the country club on the left. Do not park in the main carpark but instead continue round to the left and there is a car park at the pitch itself.
BY TRAIN TO ADELAIDE 2.1 miles away
Adelaide is a tiny halt on the Belfast to Lisburn line and will be known well to anyone who has used the train to visit a Northern Ireland National team game as it is the halt that serves the National stadium. At over two miles from the ground it is a bit of a journey to get to the ground but you start off out of the station on Lisburn Avenue, which takes you up to Lisburn Road. Turn right and follow the Lisburn road until you come to the crossroads at the Kings hall and turn left onto Balmoral Avenue. From here the directions are the same as for drivers. The walk would take approx 35 minutes.
NEAREST AIRPORT 7.5 miles
Belfast City Airport. no chance of walking it. Take the City centre shuttle bus and either jump on the train to Adelaide or pick up a cab.
Newforge Lane is in the upmarket Malone area of Belfast and there is plenty close by to see. The best tourist attraction is the Ulster Museum but take an extra few minutes to look in the cemetery behind it. The road here could not be widened to cope with modern traffic because it would involve moving a cholera victim’s mass grave.