Twickenham Stoop

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Not to be confused with Twickenham Stadium.
This article is about the British stadium. For the 2008 album by Little Jackie, see The Stoop (album).
Twickenham Stoop
Aerial view of the Stoop.jpg
Full name Twickenham Stoop Stadium
Location Chertsey Road
Twickenham
London,TW2 7SX, United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°27′1″N 0°20′39″W / 51.45028°N 0.34417°W / 51.45028; -0.34417Coordinates: 51°27′1″N 0°20′39″W / 51.45028°N 0.34417°W / 51.45028; -0.34417
Capacity 14,816[1]
Construction
Built 1963
Opened 1963
Tenants
Harlequin F.C. (Aviva Premiership) (1963–present)
London Broncos (Super League) (1997–1999, 2006–2013)

Twickenham Stoop (informally referred to as The Stoop) is a sports stadium located in the western suburbs of London, England. The stadium is home to Harlequins rugby union team, who play in the Aviva Premiership. The stadium has a capacity of 14,816. It was the venue for the 2011–12 Amlin Challenge Cup Final which took place on Friday 18 May 2012 as part of the European cup final double header of "2 finals, 1 city" with Twickenham Stadium hosting the Heineken Cup Final the following day on 19 May 2012.

History[edit]

Harlequins before the Stoop[edit]

In 1906, Harlequins were invited by the Rugby Football Union to use the new national stadium in Twickenham. In those early days, only one or two internationals were played there during the season, and it wasn't long before the RFU ground became the headquarters of the Harlequin Football Club.

Early days[edit]

In 1963, the Quins acquired an athletics ground with 14 acres (57,000 m²) just across the road from the RFU ground, which became the Harlequin training pitch. The ground was named Stoop Memorial Ground after Adrian Stoop, a former England international and longtime Harlequins player and president but is generally known as "The Stoop" with even the Harlequins' official website frequently using the informal name.

The stadium today[edit]

LV= Stand[edit]

The LV= Stand. Pre-match at the Four Nations game between the Kangaroos and the Kiwis

The main stand is the LV= Stand (West Stand). This stand has the changing rooms, a row of executive boxes across the top of the stand, a members bar, the club's offices, toilets and a club shop. At the top of the stand under the roof there is also a scoreboard and a gantry where the television cameras populate. The stand was built for the start of the 2005–06 season and has a capacity of approximately 4,000.

North Stand[edit]

The North Stand

The North Stand is a temporary structure with an estimated life of 10 years. It houses approximately 2,000 and is the only stand with supporting pillars. There is a time clock to the top left of the stand. If further expansion is going to happen then the speculation is that the North Stand would be the one to be redeveloped. There is a concern about Langhorn Drive which runs directly behind it and if it needs to be moved before expansion could take place.

Both corners of the north stand house various drinks bars and sfcgroup.co.uk food outlets which serve burgers, chips, hot beverages such as coffee and a bar for alcohol.

Behind the North Stand is a car park

The corner of the North and LV= Stand has a memorial for Nick Duncombe who was a promising scrum half for Harlequins and won two caps for England. He also played for the England Sevens team in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. He died of meningitis in 2003.

There is a car park in use for home games down the road from the Stoop on the A316 called the Rosebine Car Park.

Etihad Stand[edit]

The Etihad Stand

The Etihad Stand (East Stand) has a capacity of approximately 4,000 and has a row of corporate boxes across the top. A score board also hangs under the roof. The stand has toilets, the main public bar, debenture lounge and players bar which also house the Mighty Quins Village which is an area for children which consists of bouncy castle, face painting, a type of bucking bronco in the shape of a rugby ball and other various activities. The main public bar also has a stage where a live band performs after the match. There is also a reception area in the stand for visitors.

South Stand[edit]

The new South Stand pre-match at the Four Nations game between Australia and New Zealand

The South Stand has most recently been developed and was opened in the 2010–11 season. It has new toilets, a real ale bar which sells Green King IPA and guest ales and a new club shop. The back of the stand also has a clock for the match. There is a school room in the stand for the Try Learning Initiative [1]. The stand holds approximately 4,000 and is the tallest stand in the stadium.

In the 2011–12 season, food and drinks stalls were moved from the corner of the Etihad and South Stand to the corner of the South Stand and LV= Stand to reduce congestion with people getting to their seats and coming into the stadium through the turnstiles. New benches and tables have now been added to the corner of the South and LV= Stand to complement the food and drinks stalls which have now been placed there. The corner of the LV= and South Stand has a media centre and an ambulance on standby in case of serious injuries to the players or if a supporter is taken ill.

Redevelopment[edit]

The ground's official name changed in July 2005 to Twickenham Stoop Stadium from "Stoop Memorial Ground".

The club owns the ground freehold through its subsidiary Harlequin Estates (Twickenham) Ltd. According to the 2012 annual report submitted by the club's operating company to Companies House, in 2010 external valuers placed the combined value of the land and buildings at £27.19 million on a depreciated replacement cost basis.

In an interview with the fans website on 23 April 2012, the Chief Executive, David Ellis confirmed that an architect has visited the club and given ideas on possible improvement and further expansion of The Stoop which will be further considered if Harlequins can sell out nine or ten games a season in comparison with the six games sold out in the 2011–12 season. David Ellis also said there are some immediate concerns for development such as increasing the size of the debenture lounge and the members bar. He also mentioned the queues for drinks at the bars are too long so that will be looked into as well [2]

On 5 September 2012 Harlequins announced that they had begun a programme of significant investment in upgrading Twickenham Stoop Stadium. All four of the stands have been deep cleaned, this has included the installation of anti-roosting netting that features an unobtrusive fine mesh, secured high in the stands that will prevent damage to the seats and decking caused by the local pigeon population. Replacement of the broken or sun-bleached seating has also commenced and eventually all seating will be replaced block by block in a rolling programme over the coming seasons. The public areas of the stands, including the toilets, are also in the process of being decorated and upgraded. Four new turnstiles have been constructed at Gate 3 by the corner of the South and Etihad Stand to improve access and a new PA system to improve sound quality throughout the stadium. The hospitality facilities in the Etihad and LV= Stands have also undergone renovations and redecorations. Among the major improvements about to begin is the resurfacing of the North car park. Work on this project which includes improvements to access to the river, will start on 5 September and be completed within a month. [3]

LV Stand with the South Stand (left) and North Stand (right)

Rugby league[edit]

Harlequins RL vs St Helens in 2006

In 2006, the rugby league club formerly known as London Broncos joined Harlequins at The Stoop, becoming Harlequins Rugby League. In 2006 the stadium held a Harlequins rugby union match and a Harlequins rugby league game on the same day. The rugby union match was played first, and in just a few hours the stadium was switched over for the Super League match. This involved changing field markings, advertising boardings and such.

Since 2006, The Stoop has also been home to the annual Rugby League Varsity Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University.

On 24 October 2009 the ground hosted the second match of the 2009 Rugby League Four Nations between world champions New Zealand and defending tournament champions (in Tri-Nations mode), Australia which resulted in a 20-all draw, 12,360 people attended the game making it the largest rugby league crowd at the venue beating the 1997 World Club Championship match between the London Broncos and Canberra Raiders where 7,819 people attended.

International rugby union[edit]

The ground played host to the final of the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Club-by-club guide - Harlequins". BBC. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 

External links[edit]