Belle Vue (Wakefield)

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Belle Vue
Belle Vue, Wakefield -geograph-1715232.jpg
Full name Rapid Solicitors Stadium (2011- )
Former names Belle Vue (Since 1895) Atlantic Solutions Stadium (2005)
Hearwell Stadium (2009–2010)
Location Doncaster Road Wakefield, WF1 5EY England
Coordinates 53°40′11″N 1°28′46″W / 53.66972°N 1.47944°W / 53.66972; -1.47944Coordinates: 53°40′11″N 1°28′46″W / 53.66972°N 1.47944°W / 53.66972; -1.47944
Built 1895
Owner Wakefield Trinity
Capacity 5,333[1]
Record attendance 28,254 – Wakefield Trinity vs Wigan, 1962
Field size 120 x 74 yards
Tenants
Wakefield Trinity (1895–present)
Wakefield and Emley FC (2007–2009)
Wakefield FC (2012-present)

Belle Vue (known as the Rapid Solicitors Stadium under sponsorship agreement), is a stadium located in Wakefield, England, and is the home of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats rugby league team. It is located beside the A638 Doncaster Road, approximately one mile south of Wakefield city centre.

History[edit]

The site was purchased in 1895 after the split between rugby league and rugby union, to provide a permanent base for Wakefield Trinity who had been playing on fields in the local area since 1873. Money was provided by the Wakefield Athletic Club, and the ground was also used for cycling and athletics competitions.

Belle Vue was the venue of the 1922–23 Challenge Cup final, in which Leeds beat Hull 28–3 in front of a crowd of 29,335, the only occasion that Belle Vue was the venue for the Challenge Cup final.

The 1937–38 Rugby Football League Championship final was due to have taken place at Belle Vue, but as both finalists Hunslet and Leeds were from Leeds, the authorities switched the match to Elland Road.[2]

Many scenes from This Sporting Life were filmed at the Belle Vue Stadium during Wakefield's third round Challenge Cup match against Wigan in 1962.

Floodlights were installed in 1967 and were upgraded in 1990/91.

The stadium was called the Atlantic Solutions Stadium for 2005.

On Saturday 16 September 2006 the stadium played host to 'The Battle of Belle Vue' when 11,000 fans from Trinity and Castleford watched the match which would decide who was relegated from Super League. Wakefield won the match 29–17 sending their nearest rivals Castleford down to the National League.

The capacity of the stadium was increased to 12,600 in 2008, to help with the application for a 2009 Super League licence, which was granted in July 2008.

Wakefield Trinity have long been in negotiation with the local council to find an alternative site, as the present Belle Vue stadium does not comply with the proposed standards required by the Super League. However, there have been difficulties in agreeing with the council on a suitable alternative site.

Plans for a new stadium in partnership with Wakefield City Council were rejected after the council decided that it would be difficult to deliver within budget on an appropriate timescale.[3] Plans for a 12,000 seater stadium near junction 30 of the M62, in Stanley, were unveiled on 17 April 2009, with the development proposed by Yorkcourt Properties and a community trust, chaired by former Rugby Football League chairman Sir Rodney Walker.[4]

Wakefield Trinity Belle Vue ground west main stand prior to Bradford City fire

Currently, the East stand has a covered stand with seating, with some terracing beneath. The North and West sides are large open terrace, while the South side is the location of hospitality facilities.

Redevelopment[edit]

On 8 June 2011 it was announced that the club will totally redevelop the existing ground to a capacity of 12,000 to meet the Super League criteria.[5] It is hoped that this will safeguard the Wildcats future in the Super League as this was seen as the main reason the club could be demoted out of the top flight. On 26 July 2011 Wakefield were granted a grade c licence[clarification needed] so Belle Vue stadium will be redeveloped.

References[edit]

External links[edit]