New Meadow

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Greenhous Meadow
New Meadow • Oteley Road
New Meadow
Full name Greenhous Meadow
Location Oteley Road
Shrewsbury
Shropshire
SY2 6ST
Owner Shrewsbury Town F.C.
Capacity 9,875
Record attendance 9,510
Field size 110 metres (120 yd) x 75 metres (82 yd)
Surface Grass
Construction
Built 2006–2007
Opened July 2007

The New Meadow, also known as the Greenhous Meadow for sponsorship purposes, is the home ground of English football club Shrewsbury Town.

The stadium is situated on the southern outskirts of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, between the districts of Meole Brace and Sutton Farm, and close to the A5. It was completed in the summer of 2007, in time for the 2007–08 English football season, and was built to replace the Gay Meadow stadium, home of Shrewsbury Town since 1910.

The stadium[edit]

Naming[edit]

"The New Meadow" was an unofficial name, used as the working title for ground during planning/construction, and along with other descriptive titles such as "Oteley Road Stadium" (pronounced Ot-Lee), was used during the first year of the ground's existence. However, on 21 July 2008, along with launching their new team-wear range, the stadium was named after sports kit manufacturer Prostar, a sponsor that the club had spent a year looking for. The naming rights deal was supposed to last for four years,[1] but only lasted two seasons. In April 2010, a public vote was held amongst supporters by club sponsor Greenhous on the name of the stadium, which was to include "Greenhous". A majority voted for Greenhous Meadow, with reference to their previous stadium Gay Meadow.

Design and construction[edit]

The stadium was constructed by Hall Construction, a construction company who have built several Football League stadia and grandstands. It currently has a capacity of 9,875 seated spectators, accommodated in four stands.

In addition, there are several corporate and hospitality suites, which the club uses both on match days and for general community use, therefore assisting the club in gaining revenue.

Following consultation with supporters groups, the stadium consists of blue seating, with the club's initials (STFC) spelt out in amber on each side of the ground. This is following considerable outcry when the club initially stated that seating would consist of the club's original blue and white colour scheme. Despite originally being blue and white, the club has adopted a distinctive blue and amber colour scheme since the 1970s, which many supporters feel is a unique and distinctive part of the club.

The North Stand.

Like many modern football grounds, the ground has 'cashless turnstiles', meaning that no payments are accepted on the turnstile itself. To obtain access to the ground, non season ticket holding spectators must purchase a ticket from the club in advance of the game, or on the day from ticket booths situated at the ground (away fans have their own designated ticket booth).

Shrewsbury Town F.C. own the New Meadow, using the money raised selling the Gay Meadow to property developers to finance the purchase of the land and construction of the new stadium.

Stands[edit]

The West Stand.

The East and West stands face the length of the pitch; the South and North stands face onto the ends of the pitch. All stands are fully seated and covered; each stand also has its own catering (licensed) and toilets. At present the stands are detached from one another.

  • "Roland Wycherley Stand" - the East stand, named after the present chairman; includes the club's hospitality facilities, the changing rooms, club offices, club shop, etc. - seating blocks 1-7
  • "Salop Leisure Stand" - the South stand, named after a local business sponsor - seating blocks 8-12
  • "Pro-Vision CCTV Stand" - the North Stand - the away supporters' stand; also has the media box, resulting in fewer seats than the South stand - seating blocks 20-24

Expansion[edit]

There has been speculation that the club will build corner stands, thereby joining the currently detached stands into one continuous seating around the pitch. This would boost the seating capacity at the stadium by approximately 1600 seats, and cost around £1 million, according to chairman Roland Wycherley in an interview in April 2012. However, current match attendances do not merit ground expansion — the average attendance in the 2011-12 season was 5769 and there have only ever been two sell-outs of seats (for a Shrewsbury Town match). Should the club become established at a higher level within the Football League, it is more likely the ground would be expanded. More significant stadium expansion is possible and the existing stands are designed to accommodate such expansion.

Notable fixtures[edit]

The first match at the new ground was an 'All-Stars' friendly game as part of Shrewsbury Town's new sponsorship deal with Italian sportswear manufacturer A-Line, who made Shrewsbury's kit for the 2007-08 season. Heading the list of All-Stars players was Gianfranco Zola, with the team being managed by Ron Atkinson. The match took place on Saturday 14 July 2007, and Shrewsbury Town ran out 4–0 winners, Shrewsbury striker Dave Hibbert taking the honour of being the first ever goalscorer at the new ground.

The first competitive match at what was then called 'The New Meadow' was a League Cup match against Colchester United, of The Championship, then two divisions above Shrewsbury. It took place on Tuesday 14 August 2007, Shrewsbury winning 1–0 thanks to a header from Darran Kempson in extra time. The first league fixture, in League Two, was against Bradford City on Saturday 18 August, with Shrewsbury winning 1–0 from a first half penalty scored by Dave Hibbert.

In November 2007 the England women's national football team played Spain at New Meadow. England won 1–0 with a Karen Carney goal and the attendance of 8,753 set a new record for the stadium.[2]

The first game to achieve a home sell out was Shrewsbury Town's match against Oxford United in League Two on 7 May 2011, which held a new record attendance until April 2012 with 8,817 attending.

On 18 October 2010 it was announced that New Meadow has been selected as part of England's bid to host the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship in 2013.[3] On 28 January 2011, however, it was ruled Israel will host the Under 21's Finals.

An England under-20 international against France took place there on 9 February 2011.

On 27 March 2012, the generator room in the East Stand caught fire which caused the League Two match against Port Vale to be abandoned in the second half with the score 1–0 to Shrewsbury Town.[4] Shrewsbury then won the replayed match 1–0.

Record attendance[edit]

The record attendance was set on Saturday 21 September 2013, at 9,510, when Shrewsbury hosted Wolverhampton Wanderers in a 2013-14 season League One match, the home side losing 1-0.[5] The game was a sell out, with 7,917 Shrewsbury fans and 1,593 away fans.

The previous record was set on Saturday 28 April 2012, at 9,441, when Shrewsbury beat Dagenham and Redbridge 1–0 in the final League Two home game of the 2011-12 season. The game saw Shrewsbury promoted to League One.[6] Blocks 20, 21, 22 and 23 of the North Stand were given over to home fans, with only block 24 given to the away following. The game was a home sell out, with 9,294 Shrewsbury fans and 147 from the London club,[7] and this remains the record home attendance.

Commercial and hospitality[edit]

The Club now also has a plush hospitality suite, offering services day and night, on a full week basis; this consists of one major restaurant and over ten corporate boxes, these are held for an array of occasions varying from businesses holding meetings or for clients to entertain business colleagues, private functions such as group meals and parties, and for other events for the public to attend such as Slimming World, football programme fairs and company meetings.

The restaurant itself has earned rave reviews from local and far flung visitors, and is generating a constant flow of income for the club, coupled with this, many events such as charity balls, and sportsmans' dinners have been held at the club, enabling after-dinner speakers such as Ron Atkinson, Neil Ruddock and others to come to the club. Other events the stadium has held include an amateur boxing event in order to raise money for local charities. Greenhous Meadow now also has a fully operational clubshop open throughout the week; the club shop is now purpose-built, as opposed to being a stand-alone cabin, as they once had.

The ground has good access to the A5 road/A49 road (at the Shrewsbury by-pass), and also sits adjacent to the Shrewsbury to Hereford railway line (plans for a small halt for football supporters have been mentioned but there have been no firm plans for this.)

The ground is adjacent to the large Meole Brace Retail Park and the Bannatyne's Health Club/Meole Brace Municipal Golf Course complex, however neither site allows football supporter car-parking on match days. Although parking is limited, there is more car parking and far better vehicular access than at the club's old Gay Meadow.

In February 2008 work was completed on a 7-pitch artificial turf complex by the company Powerleague. The complex is located within the grounds of the stadium, between the North Stand and Oteley Road. The company organises 5-a-side football tournaments as well as offering a 7-a-side pitch and bar facilities.

Moving to the new ground, enabled the club for the first time, to win the award of 'League 2 Pitch of the Year' in 2007/08. The award had previously evaded the club owing to the situation of the previous pitch at Gay Meadow which was prone to flooding because of its proximity to the River Severn.

The Club are also shortlisted for 'Family Club of the Year 2009' an award made on the criteria of the club's family facilities, along with the general operation of the club and stadium.

Reasons for moving from Gay Meadow[edit]

Shrewsbury Town chairman Roland Wycherley has been the driving force behind the move, as he first submitted planning application for the new ground as early as 1999 (considerable local opposition amongst other things meant building did not commence until mid-2006). Local media at the time cited Nene Park, home of Rushden and Diamonds as an influence behind the designs, in terms of the high level of build quality and attention to detail evident at the ground. A local property development company, Alaska Properties was the key to the success of the project. The company secured the land for the New Meadow and masterminded and funded (to almost £1m) the planning strategy, planning applications and even High Court Proceedings which eventually secured the permission. Then in a deal with Jennings Estates, Alaska eventually secured funding for the new stadium by gaining permission for redevelopment of the Gay Meadow as apartments. At present, where the Gay Meadow once stood, lies deserted as the company that owns the land to develop it into housing, has insufficient funds to do this.

Gay Meadow[edit]

Main article: Gay Meadow

Whilst the old Gay Meadow ground was the home of Shrewsbury Town since 1910, access to the ground was very poor, via a small back-street known as 'The Narrows'. This difficult access meant that the capacity at Gay Meadow was slashed from 14,500 to 8,000 following the Taylor Report. The official record attendance at Gay Meadow, 18,917 for the league match against Walsall on 26 April 1961. Local legend says over 22,000 were estimated to be inside the stadium in the league match against Wrexham on 21 August 1950, despite the official figure given as 16,000.

Redevelopment of the old ground was cited as a possibility, however it had been stated that if the ground was accessible on all sides of the stadium with exit through the neighbouring Abbey Gardens, the stadium capacity could still only rise to no more than 10,000, the current capacity for the New Meadow.

The Gay Meadow's location on the banks of the River Severn meant the club suffered with flooding. Severe floods in 1998, 2000 and frequently since had affected the club, with several matches postponed, a flooded pitch and flooded offices and changing rooms.

Supporters of the move claimed that the risk of flooding along with the Gay Meadow's cramped location, meant that a move to a new ground was essential in order for the club to remain as a Football League club.

Controversy[edit]

The proposed move to the new ground was controversial, with some fans feeling the club was disregarding its history and should remain at Gay Meadow. However, others were keen to move to the new ground, and saw it as an essential move if the club were to remain as a Football League club. The former Shrewsbury manager Gary Peters, in charge of the club during the move from Gay Meadow, often claimed that the prospect of playing at the new ground helped entice many of his players to the club.

Opposition to the move has also come from outside of the football club, in particular from local residents who are concerned about disruption and extra traffic on match days. Many residents of the neighbouring Sutton Farm housing estate are against the move, and formed a protest group known as the Sutton Area Residents Association (SARA), protesting against the move due to the overcrowding. Since the initial planning applications were drawn up in 1999, SARA members have fought a campaign against the move, gathering petitions from the local residents, attending local council meetings and writing many letters to the local papers. Recently, SARA has criticised the football club after it controversially asked for permission to scrap plans to build community football pitches on the site, offering instead to donate £350,871 towards building them elsewhere in the town, where it is stated by the club they will be more widely used, the local council later admitted that this was a council officer suggestion after letters were leaked to the local press.

Transport systems[edit]

With the ground not being centrally located like Gay Meadow, concerns have been raised about travel arrangements. In response, the club has consulted with local authorities and produced a comprehensive brochure for fans, detailing travel arrangements for the new ground.

Many local pubs will use shuttle buses, and the club will be operating a park and ride system for fans, using car parks near to the ground. In addition, special supporter buses will be running in Shrewsbury town centre and from across Shropshire.

Strong talk of a railway halt being constructed behind the West Stand at the New Meadow have been circulating for a while; however, nothing has come to fruition yet.

Unbeaten Record[edit]

Shrewsbury Town went 34 games unbeaten at the Greenhous Meadow between March 2011 and September 2012, a record stretching over 3 different seasons.

League Two 2010-11[edit]

League Two 2011-12[edit]

League One 2012-13[edit]

FA Cup[edit]

League Cup[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Shrewsbury announce stadium name". BBC Sport. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  2. ^ Carney angles in for narrow win
  3. ^ Shrewsbury stadium selected in England's bid for Euro Under-21 finals
  4. ^ Shrewsbury A-A Port Vale: Stadium Fire in East Stand
  5. ^ BBC Sport Shrewsbury 0 – 1 Wolves (21 September 2013)
  6. ^ BBC Sport Shrewsbury 1 – 0 Dagenham & Redbridge (28 April 2012)
  7. ^ Shrewsbury Town F.C. Match report (28 April 2012)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°41′19″N 2°44′58″W / 52.68863°N 2.74933°W / 52.68863; -2.74933