London Road Stadium
|Full name||Abax Stadium|
|Location||London Road, Peterborough, PE2 8AL|
|Field size||112 x 76 yards (102.4m x 69.4m)|
|Peterborough & Fletton United (1923–1932)
Peterborough United (1934–present)
London Road is a multi-purpose stadium in Peterborough, England. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home ground of Peterborough United. The stadium holds 16,314 and was built in 1913, although the original ground bears little resemblance to the one seen today. The ground was renamed the Abax stadium at the beginning of the 2014/15 season and also had the moyes end terrace destroyed and rebuilt as the all-seater Motorpoint stand.
The stadium was built and opened in 1913, consisting of a single wooden stand with a capacity of just 250. It was owned by the city council and taken over by 'The Posh' following their formation in 1934. The council built brick dressing rooms and a committee room at the back of the wooden stand to support the club. These survived until the 1950s, when the North Stand was constructed.
The two goal ends were the next to be built. Many home fans had traditionally stood at the London Road End, so a covered standing terrace was constructed there just after the Second World War. A similar structure was built at the Moy's End at around the same time.
Financial difficulties during the war years meant that the ground lease was very nearly terminated by the city council. Another local sports club almost took a 10-year lease, but 'The Posh' were saved in 1942 by two individuals who paid the £50 owed in rent by the club.
In the 1950s, the council sold London Road to the club following a long term lease and it was at this time that major development of the ground began. In 1953, the Moy's End was refurbished with new covered terracing and a similar improvement was made at the London Road End just over a year later. A new stand, with 2,404 seats and standing room in the front, was constructed behind the old wooden stand in 1956 and opened in time for the 1957–58 season. The wooden stand was demolished, leaving a gap of 30 yards between the new Main (North) Stand and the pitch (the pitch was moved back the following season).
A new standing terrace was then built at the Glebe Road (southern) side of the stadium shortly after the completion of the Main Stand. Four executive boxes, along with a television platform, would later be added to the structure. Floodlights were added to the stadium in 1960, with four pylons erected at each corner of the ground. Joe Richards, who was then chairman of the Football League, performed the switch-on ceremony. The first match in which the floodlights were used was against Arsenal in February 1960.
Following the club's promotion to the First Division in 1992, the Main Stand was forced to undergo re-development. This was because the stadium's seated capacity was below the level required by the Taylor Report. To solve this problem, the stand's terraces were converted to seats. 700 of these new seats were bought second hand from Leicester City, who had no use for them following the re-development of their Filbert Street stadium. Another 300 seats were taken from Millwall's stadium, The Den. Millwall were about to move into a new stadium themselves. With a capacity of 3,605, the Main Stand's facilities were improved to include a pub, conference areas and a retail shop.
Due to increased support, a new stand was constructed on the Glebe Road side of the ground. The two-tiered South Stand, with a capacity of 5,000, opened in time for the end of the 1995–96 season. The Football Trust contributed roughly £900,000 to the project. The stand was initially sponsored by Freemans and then by Thomas Cook. It is now called the Norwich and Peterborough Family Stand, due to a deal with the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society.
The new millennium saw the London Road End and Moy's End fitted with new roofs and crush barriers to comply with safety requirements. The pitch received a large make-over in 2001, when the entire playing surface was removed to insert 2 km of new drainage pipes.
|Norwich and Peterborough South Stand||4,146|
|Main (North) Stand||4,332|
|Motor point Stand||3,495|
|London Road Terrace||2,667|
The record attendance at the stadium currently stands at 30,096, during a 1965 FA Cup tie with Swansea Town. This is unlikely to be beaten in the near future as it was set when most of the ground consisted of terracing. The record attendance since the capacity dropped to 15,314 is 14,110, which was set during a clash with Leicester City in 2009.
Prior to the club's promotion to the Championship in 2009, there had been talks about the possibility of a new stadium. After 'The Posh' were promoted, the chairman, Darragh MacAnthony, promised that a new stadium would be built if the club could maintain their Championship status for several seasons. These plans were still in the feasibility stage at the time. If built, the stadium would have been all-seater and would have had a capacity of between 15,000 and 25,000. However, the club's relegation a year later put these plans on hold. Though they have since re-gained their Championship status, the whole prospect of either significant development or a new stadium remains an issue.
In September 2010, plans were unveiled for a new stand to be constructed at the Moy's End. This will be the first phase of the re-development of London Road, the aim being to turn it into an all-seater stadium, that will meet Premier League criteria. Construction of the stand was set to be complete by mid-2012, but as of March 2013 construction had not started. The project is set to be funded through a combination of a central government grant and private finance and will include a new further education facility – a STEM centre.
In July 2013, an agreement was reached between the club and Peterborough City Council concerning rent and the redevelopment of the ground. This provided for the club to pay reduced rent during redevelopment of the ground, with work on the Moy's End expected to start in September 2013. An additional £1 million fund was also provided to retrofit the London Road End with seats. In December 2013 demolition work started on the Moy's End terraced end of the ground which was expected to take a year to complete.
In 1939, more than 18,000 people watched Eric 'Fen Tiger' Boon successfully defend his British lightweight boxing title at London Road against Johnny McGrory of Scotland. Since then, there have not been many other major events at the stadium, although it occasionally hosts small concerts.
- "The London Road Story", The Posh, Peterborough, 5 November 2009.
- "Posh stadium – five sites, says Darragh", Peterborough Evening Telegraph, Peterborough, 30 November 2007.
- "Posh stadium plans progressing", BBC Sport, Peterborough, 31 July 2009.
- "Council unveil new London Road plans", BBC Sport, Peterborough, 6 September 2010.
- "Work starts on Peterborough United’s Moy’s End re-vamp - video". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 7 December 2013.