Blundell Park

Last updated

Blundell Park
Blundell Park - geograph.org.uk - 125740.jpg
The Young's Stand (then named The John Smith's Stand) in 2003.
Blundell Park
LocationBlundell Park
Cleethorpes
Lincolnshire
DN35 7PY
Coordinates 53°34′12.19″N0°2′46.80″W / 53.5700528°N 0.0463333°W / 53.5700528; -0.0463333
Public transit National Rail logo.svg New Clee (0.7mi)

National Rail logo.svg Cleethorpes (1.1mi)
National Rail logo.svg Grimsby Docks (1.3mi)

National Rail logo.svg Grimsby Town (2.3mi)
Owner Grimsby Town F.C
OperatorGrimsby Town F.C.
Capacity 9,052 (all seated) [1]
Record attendance31,651 (vs Wolverhampton Wanderers, 20 February 1937) [2]
Field size101.5 by 68.5 metres (111.0 by 74.9 yd)
SurfaceGrass
ScoreboardYes
Construction
Broke ground1897
Built1899
Opened2 September 1899 [3]
Renovated1925 (Barrett's Stand)
1939 (Osmond Stand)
1961 (Pontoon Stand)
1982 (Young's Stand)
Tenants
Grimsby Town (1899–present)

Blundell Park is a football ground in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, England and home to Grimsby Town Football Club. The stadium was built in 1899, but only one of the original stands remains. The current capacity of the ground is 9,052, after being made all-seater in summer 1995, reducing the number from around 27,000. Several relegations in previous years meant the expansion seating was also taken away; that reduced the capacity further from around 12,000 to what it is now.

Contents

The stadium is Grimsby Town's fourth ground, having previously played at Clee Park, Lovett Street and Abbey Park in the club's first twenty years of existence. The record attendance at Blundell Park was 31,651 in an FA Cup tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 20 February 1937. The two clubs also hold the record attendance at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium when 76,962 people saw the two sides meet again in the 1939 FA Cup semi-final.

History

Grimsby Town Football Club moved into their new Blundell Park stadium in the summer of 1899, having relocated from Abbey Park, and bringing with them all the fixtures and fittings, as well as the Abbey Park and the Hazel Grove stands. [3] The opening match was a Football League Second Division fixture against Luton Town on 2 September 1899, with 4,000 spectators seeing the teams draw 3–3. [3] [4] In 1901 a new Main Stand was built on the northern side of the ground. [3]

In 1925 the Abbey Park Stand was demolished and in its place was built the Barrett's Stand. In 1937 the club's record attendance of 31,651 was recorded when the club met Wolverhampton Wanderers in an FA Cup tie on 20 February 1937. [2] In 1939 around the time of the break-out of the Second World War the Hazel Grove Stand, the final remaining stand from the previous ground was demolished and was replaced by the Osmond Stand. [5]

In 1953 the club introduced its first floodlights to the ground and with that enabling Grimsby Town to play night-time fixtures. [6] Tall floodlights were purchased second hand from Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1958 and installed in 1960 at a cost of £9,000 which was raised by the supporters club, they have illuminated matches ever since when required. [4] [7]

In 1961, the 63-year-old Pontoon Stand was demolished and replaced with a new stand of the same name. In 1980 the ground was renovated again, the Main Stand the ground's only original stand was made an all-seater, and the Barrett's stand which was built in 1925 was demolished and replaced the two tier Findus stand, which now became the ground's largest stand. Following the Taylor Report which documented the Hillsborough disaster, Blundell Park was made an all seater stadium in 1995. The club in 1995 also introduced temporary seating in the partings between the Pontoon and Main Stands and the Osmond and Findus stands. The club's largest attendance since being made an all seater stadium was 9,528 on 3 March 1999 against Sunderland in a Football League Division One tie. Following Grimsby Town's relegation from the second tier of English football to the fourth between in 2003 and 2004, the club removed the expansion seating, which would only have made returns in high-profile cup fixtures. [5]

Grimsby Town received a £19,000 grant in April 2015 from The Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) – the largest funder of non-league football in the country, which enabled the club to carry out repairs and maintenance to the floodlights at Blundell Park. [8] [9]

The ground as it stands

Pontoon Stand

In 1899, Blundell Park was opened with the original Pontoon Stand constructed alongside the Main Stand, but this stand was eventually demolished in 1961 and was replaced by the current Pontoon Stand which was built by funds raised by the club's supporters. The stand is situated behind the goal to the right of the tunnel and was converted to an all-seater facility in 1995 in response to the Taylor Report following the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 and the seats were laid out in black and white stripes to reflect the club's colours.

The Pontoon mainly houses the more vocal supporters of the club, and often houses a drummer; however in the mid-1980s the stand became the away stand with the Osmond Stand reserved for home fans, the thought being that the Pontoon's more open design would make the Grimsby Town supporters' presence more noticeable in the remainder of the stadium. This was extremely unpopular with club supporters and reversed.

Young's Stand

Young's Stand Blundell Park West Stand.JPG
Young's Stand

Young's Stand is the third to be built on the opposite side of the ground to the tunnel and changing rooms. Originally the club had moved the Abbey Park Stand from their previous ground the Abbey Park Stadium, this stand was eventually demolished in 1925 and was replaced by the Barrett's Stand. The Barrett's itself was eventually demolished in 1980 and was replaced with a two tier stand paid for by the fish processing firm Findus. The stand therefore was named the "Findus Stand".

The stand was opened in 1982 and is the largest inside the stadium with the upper tier offering a scenic view of the Humber Estuary, Spurn Point and the North Sea, from this point you can clearly view the shipping going down the estuary. The lower tier's front rows are uncovered and between the two tiers are a row of corporate boxes. Housed within the stand is the boardroom, ticket office, club shop, bars and the "McMenemy's" function suite and restaurant which is named after former manager Lawrie McMenemy.

In 1990s Findus ceased production in the town, so the stand went through several other sponsored names. Firstly the stand was renamed the Stones Bitter stand before later becoming the John Smiths stand in 1997 and then the Carlsberg stand in 2004. Findus returned to the Town in 2009 and the stand then reverted to its original name.

For the 2016–17 season, a new sponsorship deal with Young's Seafood was announced with the tiers being renamed to the Upper Young's and Lower Young's stands.

Main Stand

Main Stand Blundell Park Main Stand.JPG
Main Stand

Opposite the Young's stand, on the north side of the ground, is the Main Stand which dates from 1901 and is often claimed to be the oldest stand in the Football League until the club's relegation to Non-league football in 2010. Only the central part of the stand dates from 1901, the rest having been modified in some guise or other. This stand houses the changing rooms and disabled supporters' areas. The players' tunnel runs from the centre of this stand onto the pitch between the two dugouts.

Osmond Stand

Osmond Stand (Away End) Blundell Park Away End.jpg
Osmond Stand (Away End)

To the left of the Main Stand, is the Osmond Stand. This replaced the Hazel Grove Stand which was moved from the club's previous Abbey Park Stadium home. The Osmond was built in 1939 when the Hazel Grove was demolished shortly before the start of the Second World War. The Osmond stand is also a two tier stand, but unlike the Young's Stand, the Osmond only has steps separating the two parts. The stand also houses the away supporters, with home fans occasionally sitting in the half closest to the Main Stand when the club are playing a club with a low number of travelling fans. The stand holds around 2,000 seats, 1,000 or so of those seats have a restricted view due to the roof supports and height of the roof.

The ground did briefly hold home supporters in the mid-1980s when the club decided the move the away supporters to the Pontoon Stand, but this proved to be unpopular with Grimsby supporters and so the decision was reversed. The corner between the Main Stand and the Osmond Stand is the only enclosed corner in the whole ground, the corner is shut off and this section is the only standing part of the stadium however with it being shut off from the fans the ground is still classed as an all seated stadium.

Additional seating

When Blundell Park became an all seated stadium in 1995, the overall capacity of the ground decreased accordingly. The club erected temporary seating in the north-west and south-east corners, colloquially known as "the green seats". These consisted of four blocks of makeshift scaffold seating approximately 10 rows back. The temporary seating were intended to provide additional capacity when needed, but were in regular use on a weekly basis while the club enjoyed a lengthy spell playing in the English Championship.

Relegation from the Championship led to reduced match attendance and temporary seating became largely redundant. In special cup fixtures, for instance the 2005 League Cup games with Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United the temporary seating is reinstalled for one-off use. [10]

Due to the changes in seating, the ground's overall capacity dropped from just under 12,000 while in the Championship to just under 10,000 in League Two.

Layout

Blundell Park Panorama.jpg

A view for the Pontoon Stand looking at the Main Stand on the left, Osmond Stand Middle and Findus Stand right (taken on New Year's Day 2012).

International games

Over the years Blundell Park has been host to a number of international matches. In 2001 it hosted France U18 against Finland U18, [11] and over the years has also hosted England U17, [12] England U18 and England women's national under-19 football team games. [13]

The future

As parts of Blundell Park are antiquated, the cost of maintaining the stadium, particularly the wooden sections, is expensive. Compared to many modern football grounds, there is a severe shortage of corporate facilities and amenities for visiting supporters. Blundell Park is consistently rated one of the worst football grounds to visit as an away supporter. [14] Bars and food outlets within the stadium are usually crowded and unable to realise their potential income. Blundell Park is rarely used for anything other than football, whereas many clubs with more modern stadia are able to let out the ground for concerts, corporate events and other sports such as rugby. Further complications arise from the location of the stadium among terraced houses and next to the bank of the River Humber (separated by a railway line) which makes redeveloping Blundell Park to accommodate the 20,000 supporters required for promotion to the Premier League prohibitively expensive. Parking is largely limited to the streets of terraced houses surrounding the stadium. There is no secure parking at Blundell Park and no additional provision for public transport such as park and ride. Blundell Park is also the lowest football stadium in the United Kingdom, at a height of only 2 feet above sea-level.

Conoco Stadium, Great Coates

Since the mid-1990s the club has been pursuing a move to a new stadium elsewhere in the area. In the late 1990s the club submitted a planning application for a new stadium on the western outskirts of Grimsby at Great Coates, adjacent to the A180 dual carriageway. The provisionally titled Conoco Stadium was to be funded by a partnership with a major retailer and would be built with a capacity of 14,000 that could be expanded up to 21,000 (to meet Premier League requirements) in a matter of weeks by building the entire structure of the stadium but not installing any facilities or seats in the four corners of the stadium until they were required. Following Grimsby's promotion to the second tier of English football in 1991 - and remaining there for all but one of the next 12 seasons - the Taylor Report required that all clubs in the top two divisions should have an all-seater stadium by August 1994, with newly promoted teams being allowed three seasons to meet the requirements. However, Grimsby have not played in the second tier of English football since 2003 and from 2010 to 2016 were in the National League (formerly the Conference Premier).

The new stadium would have included facilities to match the best Premier League clubs including a substantial increase in match-day hospitality areas, more corporate boxes of a far higher standard, more cafe and bar areas including for away supporters, significantly more toilets, larger and more versatile player dressing rooms, wider seats with more legroom, a hard-wearing hybrid pitch capable of withstanding multiple rugby and football matches being played on it every week and facilities that could be used throughout the year for corporate events.

The aim was to open the new stadium for the start of the 2001/2002 season. After considerable opposition to the plans from local residents delayed the project, the new stadium received planning permission from North East Lincolnshire Council in November 2000. The Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber approved the plan in February 2002, Conoco agreed naming rights to the stadium in April 2002 and the revised opening date was set for the start of the 2003/2004 season. At the end of 2002 retailers Woolworths and B&Q pulled out of the scheme and opening was set back again to the 2005/2006 season. After planning permission was refused in 2003 due to issues with the release of the land the club resubmitted a planning application in 2006 [15] along the same lines as the earlier proposal that was awarded permission by the council in 2007. Due to the economic crisis of 2008 and struggling performances on the pitch [16] the stadium's planning permission expired in 2010 and the Great Coates proposal was no longer considered viable.

Peaks Parkway

After committing to seeking a new site for a new stadium in 2011 the club actively pursued a range of potential stadium sites in an around Grimsby. [17] After a long feasibility study the momentum was clearly behind a site off Peaks Parkway two miles South of Grimsby. The club submitted a planning application for a less ambitious 14,000 capacity stadium along with an adjoining retail development in November 2016. [18] Opponents to the Peaks Parkway scheme argued that the use of a greenfield site over various brownfield alternatives and the proximity of the stadium to a cemetery made it unsuitable and the council took the site off the table in October 2018. [19]

Freeman Street / East Marsh / Grimsby Fish Dock

In October 2018 the council indicated a preference for Freeman Street and the East Marsh to be used as a new location for a new stadium as part of a major regeneration project of this part of the town. [19] Advantages of this site include extensive regeneration of the area and the use of a brownfield site but disadvantages include parking and transport as the new stadium would be within the town itself.

Talk of using the fish docks as a site for a new stadium has increased since July 2019. [19] Advantages of this site are the use of the underused but iconic docks which could be directly incorporated into the design and ample scope for parking and transport links. Disadvantages include the potential cost of filling in the docks and land decontamination. The 2019 General Election produced a Conservative victory in the Great Grimsby Constituency and this may have a significant effect on the stadium plans. As government policy is to support the creation of Free Ports [20] there is an opportunity for the town to attract more inward investment and for the ports to grow. This would make the fish docks site less desirable as it could limit the regeneration of the port and the revitalisation of the fishing industry. Nevertheless, a consortium looking to take ownership of the club has continued to pursue the concept of a stadium on the fish dock site. [21]

At the end of December 2019 the leader of the council stated that regeneration of the Freeman Street area with a new stadium on it was "top of his wish list for 2020", [22] however in March 2020 all football was suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chairman of the club declared that the new stadium was now "bottom on our list of priorities". [23]

Records

The highest ever attendance at the ground was 31,651 for an FA Cup 5th Round match on 20 February 1937 against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Since the ground was converted to all seating for the start of the 1995–96 season after the Taylor Report, the highest attendance was 9,528 for a Football League Division One (Second Tier) match against Sunderland on 13 March 1999. [2]

Related Research Articles

Molineux Stadium Football stadium in Wolverhampton, England

Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England, has been the home ground of Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers since 1889. The first stadium built for use by a Football League club, it was one of the first British grounds to have floodlights installed and hosted some of the earliest European club games in the 1950s.

Grimsby Town F.C. Association football club in Cleethorpes, England

Grimsby Town Football Club is a professional football club based in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, England, that competes in National League, the fifth tier of the English football league system. Nicknamed "the Mariners", the club was founded as Grimsby Pelham Football Club in 1878, changed its name to Grimsby Town a year later, and moved to its current stadium, Blundell Park, in 1898.

Edgeley Park Football stadium in Edgeley, Stockport, England

Edgeley Park is a football stadium in Edgeley, Stockport, England. Built for rugby league club Stockport RFC in 1901, by 1902, the rugby club was defunct and Stockport County Football Club moved in.

Selhurst Park Football stadium in London, England

Selhurst Park is a football stadium in Selhurst in the London Borough of Croydon which is the home ground of Premier League side Crystal Palace. The stadium was designed by Archibald Leitch and opened in 1924. It has hosted international football as well as games for the 1948 Summer Olympics, and was shared by Charlton Athletic from 1985 to 1991 and Wimbledon from 1991 to 2003.

Pittodrie Stadium Football stadium in Aberdeen, Scotland

Pittodrie Stadium, commonly referred to as Pittodrie, is an all-seater stadium in Aberdeen, Scotland. Used primarily for football, it has been the home ground of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) club Aberdeen F.C. since they were formed in 1903. Prior to then, the ground hosted the original Aberdeen F.C. from 1899 until the merger that created the present club.

White Hart Lane Former football stadium of Tottenham Hotspur

White Hart Lane was a football stadium in Tottenham, North London and the home of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club from 1899 to 2017. Its capacity varied over the years; when changed to all-seater it had a capacity of 36,284 before demolition. The stadium was fully demolished after the end of the 2016–17 season and was replaced by Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the club's home ground.

Fratton Park Association football ground in Portsmouth, England

Fratton Park is an association football ground in the English port city of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. It remains as the original home of Portsmouth F.C., who were founded on 5 April 1898.

Boundary Park

Boundary Park is a football stadium in Oldham, Greater Manchester, England. Its name originates from the fact that it lies at the northwestern extremity of Oldham, with Royton and Chadderton lying immediately north and west respectively.

Adams Park

Adams Park is an association football stadium in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. Built in 1990, it is the home ground of the local Wycombe Wanderers in the Championship division. It was also leased from 2002 to 2014 to the rugby union club London Wasps from Aviva Premiership, and from 2016 to 2020 to the Reading F.C. Women football club. From the 2003/04 season to the 2005/06 season, the stadium was officially called Causeway Stadium, named after its sponsor Causeway Technologies.

The Riverside Stadium is a football stadium in Middlesbrough, England, which has been the home of Middlesbrough since it opened in 1995. Its current capacity is 34,742, all seated, although there is provisional planning permission in place to expand that to 42,000 if required.

Home Park

Home Park is a football stadium in Plymouth, England. The ground, nicknamed the Theatre of Greens, has been the home of Football League One club Plymouth Argyle since 1901.

Ewood Park

Ewood Park is a football stadium in the English town of Blackburn, Lancashire, and is the home of Blackburn Rovers Football Club — one of the founding members of the Football League and Premier League. Rovers have played there since they moved from Leamington Road in the summer of 1890. The stadium opened in 1882 and is an all seater multi-sports facility with a capacity of 31,367. It comprises four sections: The Bryan Douglas Darwen End, Riverside Stand, Ronnie Clayton Blackburn End, and Jack Walker Stand, which is named after Blackburn industrialist and club supporter, Jack Walker. The football pitch within the stadium measures 115 by 76 yards.

Boleyn Ground Former football stadium of West Ham United FC

The Boleyn Ground, often referred to as Upton Park, was a football stadium located in Upton Park, east London. It was the home of West Ham United from 1904 to 2016.

Gay Meadow

Gay Meadow was the home ground of Shrewsbury Town football club in Shropshire, England. Just outside the town centre, on the banks of the River Severn, it opened in 1910.

All-seater stadium

An all-seater stadium is a sports stadium in which every spectator has a seat. This is commonplace in professional association football stadiums in nations such as the United Kingdom, Spain, and the Netherlands. Most association football and American football stadiums in the United States and Canadian Football League stadiums in Canada are all-seaters, as are most baseball and track and field stadiums in those countries. A stadium that is not an all-seater has areas for attendees holding standing-room only tickets to stand and view the proceedings. Such standing areas are known as terraces in Britain. Stands with only terraces used to dominate the football attendance in the UK. For instance, the South Bank Stand behind the southern goal at Molineux Stadium, home of Wolverhampton Wanderers, had a maximum of 32,000 standing attenders, while the rest of the stadium hosted a little bit less than that; the total maximum attendance was around 59,000.

Glanford Park

Glanford Park, currently known as The Sands Venue Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is a football stadium in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England, and is the current home of Scunthorpe United.

County Ground (Swindon)

The County Ground is a stadium located near the town centre of Swindon, Wiltshire, England, and has been home to Swindon Town Football Club since 1896. The current capacity of 15,728, all-seated, has been at that level since the mid-1990s. A record attendance of 32,000 was set on 15 January 1972, against Arsenal in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. North of the football stadium is Swindon Cricket Club, with their pitch is also named The County Ground which was used for the football club from 1893 till 1896.

Saltergate historic home of Chesterfield Football Club in England

Saltergate, officially the Recreation Ground, was the historic home of Chesterfield Football Club, and was in use from 1871 until the club's relocation in July 2010, a 139-year history that made it one of the oldest football grounds in England at the time of its closure. The name 'Saltergate' became predominant in popular usage from the 1920s.

Edgar Street

Edgar Street is a football stadium in Hereford and was the home of Hereford United Football Club from the club's formation in 1924 until December 2014, when the club was wound up. It is now the home of Hereford FC, a phoenix club formed to replace the former club. It is the largest football stadium in the county of Herefordshire and is located on the edge of Hereford city centre, adjacent to the former cattle market. The name of the stadium directly derives from the name of the street where it is located, which is also the A49.

A large number of English football clubs have ongoing schemes to redevelop existing grounds, or to move to newly constructed stadiums. A trend towards all-seater stadiums was initially prescribed by the Taylor Report, and was originally a condition only of Premier League admission. It has now become a requirement that within three years of a club's first promotion to the Championship all paying spectators are seated, even if the club is subsequently relegated. This page provides an (incomplete) list and description of those clubs who have planned new stadiums or refurbishments, or who have already moved/refurbished since around the time of the Taylor Report.

References

  1. "Blundell Park Stadium Capacity". Grimsby Town F.C. Archived from the original on 23 April 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 "Blundell Park through the ages". Grimsby Telegraph. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.[ permanent dead link ]
  3. 1 2 3 4 Paul Smith & Shirley Smith (2005) The Ultimate Directory of English & Scottish Football League Grounds Second Edition 1888–2005, Yore Publications, p. 24, ISBN   0954783042
  4. 1 2 Hales, Andrew (1998). Memories of Grimsby. Halifax: True North Books. pp. 24–25. ISBN   1-900-463-97-0.
  5. 1 2 "Blundell Park". thefootballnetwork.net. The Greasy Chip Butty. 26 December 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  6. "Pitching in photo ideas!". Grimsby Telegraph. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2016.[ permanent dead link ]
  7. "Let There Be Light". Grimsby Town F.C. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  8. "Grimsby Town FC receive funding for stadium improvements". The Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF). 25 April 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  9. Coney, Steven (26 April 2013). "Grant Boost For Grimsby Town". The Non-League Football Paper. Wimbledon, London. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  10. "Grimsby 0–1 Newcastle". BBC Sport. 26 October 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  11. Holmes, Paul (21 March 2001). "BP to Host International". The Fishy. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  12. "Blundell Park prepares to host two International Under-17 matches". Grimsby Telegraph. 24 August 2010. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  13. "International Football At Blundell Park". Grimsby Town F.C. 1 February 2012. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  14. "Ranked! The matchday experience at all 92 English league stadiums". 6 April 2017.
  15. "Mariners submit new stadium plans". BBC Sport. 24 January 2006. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  16. "Where Grimsby Town's 2010 relegated players are now". Grimsbylive. 18 May 2019.
  17. "Grimsby land assessed for football stadium and leisure complex". BBC Sport. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  18. "Grimsby Town's 5-year goal is new stadium & Mariners keen to secure lease on Peaks Parkway site". Grimsby Telegraph. 14 November 2014. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  19. 1 2 3 "Peaks Parkway stadium plans 'off the table'". Grimsbylive. November 2018.
  20. "Post-Brexit plans unveiled for 10 free ports". BBC News. 2 August 2019.
  21. "Tom Shutes reveals stunning plan for new Town stadium at docks". Grimsbylive. 7 May 2020.
  22. "Freeman Street at top of Leader's wish list for 2020". Grimsbylive. 27 December 2019.
  23. "Grimsby Town update on plans for new Freeman Street Stadium". Grimsbylive. 21 June 2020.

Coordinates: 53°34′12.81″N0°2′47.39″W / 53.5702250°N 0.0464972°W / 53.5702250; -0.0464972