|Wembley of the North|
|Full name||Provident Stadium|
|Former names||Odsal Stadium (1933–2006, 2010–2012),
Grattan plc Stadium-Odsal (2006–10)
|Location||Provident Stadium, Odsal, Bradford, BD6 1BS|
|Owner||Rugby Football League|
|Field size||67.79m x 111.74m|
|Renovated||1964, 1985, 2001–02.|
|Bradford Northern/Bulls (1934–2001, 2003–present),
Bradford City A.F.C (1985–86),
Bradford Dukes (1945–1960, 1986–1997)
Odsal Stadium, also known as Provident Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is a sports stadium in Odsal, Bradford, West Yorkshire. It has been home to BradfordRugby League club since opening in 1934 and was previously home to the speedway team Bradford Dukes, as well the football team Bradford City following the Valley Parade fire. Odsal has also been a venue for baseball, basketball, kabbadi, show jumping, tennis, live music and international Rugby League.
The stadium holds the British attendance records for a Rugby League match, 102,569 in 1954 at the Warrington-Halifax Challenge Cup final replay, and for a domestic, non-final Rugby League match, 69,429 at the third round Challenge Cup tie between Bradford Northern and Huddersfield in 1953. While its capacity has reduced significantly, it remains the largest stadium in the Super League. The stadium is currently owned by the Rugby Football League who purchased it in 2012.
The stadium is used primarily as the home of Bradford Bulls Rugby League team. The current official capacity of the stadium is 26,019, with the highest recorded attendance of the Super League era being 24,020 against neighbouring rivals Leeds Rhinos on 3 September 1999.
Formed in 1907, the Bradford Northern club had played at a number of venues including the Greenfield Athletic Ground in Dudley Hill and Bowling Old Lane Cricket Club's ground in Birch Lane. By the early 1920's, however, Birch Lane's limitations were clear and Northern began to seek another home. Precarious finances prevented the club being able to take up an offer to develop land off Rooley Lane or to upgrade and move back to Greenfield, but in 1933, Bradford City Council gave them the opportunity to transform land at Odsal Top into their home ground. On 20 June 1933 the club therefore signed a ten-year deal on the site, which was to become the biggest stadium in England outside Wembley.
The site was a former quarry which was then being used as a landfill tip. Ernest Call M.B.E., the Director of Cleansing for Bradford City Council devised a system of controlled tipping that saw 140,000 cart loads of household waste deposited to form the characteristic banking at Odsal. The club were to be responsible for boundary fencing, dressing rooms and seated accommodation.
To be able to turf the pitch, and other areas, a turf fund was put into place which raised a total of £900 to cover the work. A stand was erected at the cost of £2,000, which was paid by the Rugby Football League. It held 1,500 on a mixture of benches and tip-up seats.
The ground was officially opened by Sir Joseph Taylor, President of Huddersfield on 1 September 1934. His club went on to beat the hosts 31–16, Australian winger Ray Markham scoring four tries in front of an estimated 20,000. The clubhouse and dressing rooms were officially opened before a match against Hull on 2 February 1935. Contemporary pictures show that as late as August 1935 the banking on the Rooley Avenue side was still being created.
During the Second World War, the lower floor of the clubhouse was also used as an Air Raid Precautions centre, and one of the dressing rooms was the map room. On 20 December 1947, the largest ever attendance for an international test at Odsal was set when 42,685 saw England defeated New Zealand 25–9. The first floodlit rugby match in the North of England was held at Odsal in 1951. In September 1951, Council Engineer Ernest Wardley drew up a plan for a 92,000 capacity 'European' style stadium, at a cost of £250,000. Eventually £50,000 was spent on terracing the Rooley Avenue end in 1964, before the Wardley plan was officially dropped the following year.
The second test of the 1978 Ashes series was played at Odsal, with Great Britain defeating Australia before a crowd of 26,761. The Lions team that day featured what was called a "Dad's Army" front row with Jim Mills, Tony Fisher and Brian Lockwood all being over the age of 30.
The ground's clubhouse had to be refurbished when it was condemned in the mid-1980s. The social facilities were also upgraded at the same time.
Following the Valley Parade fire disaster of 1985, Bradford City played a handful of games at Leeds Road, Huddersfield and Elland Road, Leeds, even though Odsal was the obvious venue for the Bantams whilst the future of Valley Parade was decided.[not specific enough to verify] On 23 September 1985, a Football League delegation visited Odsal to view the stadium to pass it fit to host City's home games. Segregation fences were erected on the old Main Stand side and 1,000 uncovered seats were bolted onto the terracing – it was planned to install 7,000 in the future. Meanwhile a further £1 million was spent to conform with new safety standards – bringing the total spent on Odsal to £3.5 million. New boundary walls, turnstiles, exit gates, a bus layby in Rooley Avenue and access road were added. Odsal played host to Bradford City's Division Two home games until December 1986. Odsal Stadium also held a modern day attendance record for almost six years.[clarification needed]
Structure and facilities
The pitch as Odsal has a distinctive concave contour, with the corners of the pitch behind the try-line noticeably sloping up towards the stands. This was due to the stadium being used to host speedway events and so the corners of the pitch were removable to allow full use of the track. With the end of speedway at Odsal, the upturned corners are no longer as pronounced as they once were.
Average attendances since 1996
- 1996 – 10,346
- 1997 – 15,159
- 1998 – 13,022
- 1999 – 13,212
- 2000 – 14,520
- 2001 – under redevelopment
- 2002 – under redevelopment
- 2003 – 14,939
- 2004 – 13,495
- 2005 – 12,786
- 2006 – 11,406
- 2007 – 12,084
- 2008 – 10,435
- 2009 – 9,676
- 2010 – 8,891
- 2011 – 13,351
Overall home advantages 1996–2000, 2003–present
Rugby League Test matches
List of rugby league test matches played at Odsal Stadium.
|1||23 December 1939||Wales def. England 7–6||8,637|
|1||23 December 1939||Wales def. England 16–3||15,257|
|2||18 October 1941||England drew with Wales 9–9||4,339|
|3||20 December 1947||England def. New Zealand 25–9||42,685|
|4||29 January 1949||Great Britain def. Australia 23–9||36,294|
|5||6 October 1951||Great Britain def. New Zealand 21–15||37,475|
|6||7 December 1951||New Zealand def. Wales 15–3||8,568|
|7||13 December 1952||Australia def. Great Britain 27–7||30,509|
|8||7 November 1953||England def. France 7–5||10,659|
|9||12 November 1955||Great Britain def. New Zealand 27–12||24,443|
|10||11 April 1956||Great Britain def. France 18–10||10,453|
|11||1 December 1956||Australia def. Great Britain 22–9||23,634|
|12||21 October 1961||Great Britain def. New Zealand 23–10||19,980|
|13||23 October 1965||Great Britain def. New Zealand 15–9||15,849|
|14||2 March 1968||Great Britain def. France 19–8||14,196|
|15||2 March 1972||Great Britain def. France 45–10||7,313|
|16||5 November 1978||Great Britain def. Australia 18–14||26,761|
|17||2 November 1980||New Zealand def. Great Britain 12–8||10,946|
|18||2 November 2003||England def. Russia 102–0||1,376|
Rugby League World Cup
|1||24 September 1960||Great Britain def. New Zealand 23–8||20,577|
|2||8 October 1960||Great Britain def. Australia 10–3||32,773|
|3||1 November 1970||France def. Australia 17–15||6,654|
|4||25 November 1975||England def. New Zealand 27–12||5,507|
- 102,569 – 1954 Challenge Cup Final replay – Halifax vs. Warrington, 5 May 1954.
- World record attendance, stood until 6 March 1999
Super League record
Test match record
World Cup record
- 32,773 – Great Britain vs. Australia, 8 October 1960
- Gibbons, Trevor (25 January 2012). "Bradford Bulls' Odsal Stadium 'takes breath away'". BBC. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- "Ground Guide – The Provident Stadium'". Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Delaney 1991, p. 48.
- Laybourn, Ian (27 January 2012). "Stobart Super League 2012 club-by-club guide". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- Delaney 1991, pp. 44–45.
- Delaney 1991, p. 45.
- Delaney 1991, p. 45-46.
- Delaney 1991, pp. 46.
- "Odsal". bantamspast. The Bradford City Football Club Museum. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- Odsal Stadium @ Rugby League Project
- Delaney, Trevor (1991). The Grounds Of Rugby League. Keighley: Trevor R. Delaney. ISBN 0-9509-9822-2.
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