|Owner||Stirling Albion F.C. (1945–1981)
Stirling Council (1981–1993)
|Surface||Natural Grass (1945–1986)
Synthetic Surface (1986–1993)
|Stirling Albion F.C. (1946–1993)|
Annfield Stadium was a football stadium in Stirling, Scotland. The stadium was home to Stirling Albion F.C. until 1993 when the stadium was closed down due to Stirling Albion moving to Forthbank Stadium. The stadium was sold and demolished to make way for a new housing development.
Before the Second World War, King's Park was the Scottish Football League club based in Stirling, but their Forthbank Park ground was destroyed by the Luftwaffe during the war. Rather than resurrect King's Park, a group of local businessmen led by coal merchant Tom Fergusson, decided to purchase the Annfield Estate. A new club called Stirling Albion was formed. Oak trees were cleared from the estate to lay a pitch and Albion trucks were used as viewing platforms until a stand was built. Annfield was opened on 1 August 1945 and the first game to be played at Annfield was Stirling Albion's tie with Edinburgh City on 18 August 1945, Stirling Albion won the game 8–3.
A main east stand was built in 1946 and rebuilt three years later, while a west stand was built in the early 1950s. The record attendance of 26,400 was set by a 1958–59 Scottish Cup tie against Celtic. Soon after this, a roof was erected over the northern terracing. Floodlights were installed in 1961 and inaugurated with a friendly match against Birmingham City in November. During this period, the Annfield House provided the dressing rooms and club offices. A new block containing these functions was erected behind the east stand in 1974.
Annfield was sold to Stirling Council in 1981 because Stirling Albion were on the verge of going bankrupt. The club had only one choice of selling the ground for £250,000 to the council and then renting it back for £3,000 per annum. In April 1984, a safety assessment by the council resulted in parts of the east stand being condemned. Stirling Council decided that it would only invest further public funds in Annfield if it could be used more by the community, which resulted in the installation of a synthetic pitch. Permission for this was granted by the Scottish Football League in 1987. The first match in Scottish football history to be played on a synthetic surface was played at Annfield in September 1987, between Stirling Albion and Ayr United.
Significant funds were spent on Annfield during the 1980s; £100,000 was spent on new floodlights, barriers and gates in 1986, while £450,000 was spent on the synthetic pitch. The cost of the pitch was relatively high because the sloping surface had to be leveled. 600 plastic seats were installed in the west stand in 1987, but the east stand was largely demolished. As of 1987, Annfield had a capacity of 14,000, including the 600 seats in the west stand.
Stirling Council decided in the early 1990s that Annfield needed to be replaced with a new stadium as the cost of upgrading the buildings and the pitch was considered too expensive. The council constructed Forthbank Stadium to replace Annfield. The council finally closed Annfield down on 31 May 1993, at the end of the 1992-93 season, after 48 years in use. The stadium was then demolished to make way for a new housing development.
- Inglis 1987, p. 313
- Stirling Albion's Unofficial Website
- Redweb Stirling Albion's Unofficial Website for photos and match reports
- Stirling Albion Football Club Official Website
- Annfield Stadium at the Scottish Football Archive