Underhill Stadium

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Underhill Stadium
Panoramic view from North East Terrace
Full name Underhill Stadium
Location Westcombe Drive, Barnet, London EN5 2DN
Owner Barnet F.C.
Capacity 6,023
Field size 115 x 75 yards
Tenants
Barnet F.C. (1907–2013)
Arsenal Reserves (–2012)
London Broncos (training) (2014–)
London Broncos U19s (2014–)
Edgware Town F.C. (2014)
Construction
Built 1907
Opened 1907

Underhill Stadium is a stadium in Barnet that was the home of Barnet F.C. between 1907 and 2013. It has been the training ground of the London Broncos rugby league club since 2014; the clubs under-19 team also play their fixtures there. It is situated in Barnet in the London Borough of Barnet and has a capacity of 6,023. The stadium is famous for its slope from the North to South end. It was also used for Arsenal reserve games until 2012.

Barnet F.C. played their final game at the stadium on 20 April 2013 with a 1-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers, with Jake Hyde scoring the winner in the 81st minute, and Graham Stack saving a 94th minute penalty to secure the victory in front of a sell-out crowd of 6,001,[1][2] with the club moving to The Hive Stadium for the 2013/14 season onwards.

Stands[edit]

Underhill has seven stands. On the bottom end of the ground is the South Stand which was opened recently. The East Terrace is split into three sections, with the home fans allocated the two southernmost parts and the remaining section allocated to away supporters. Adjacent to the East Terrace stands the North East Family Stand with covered seating for away supporters. The tiny North Terrace backs onto Westcombe Drive, where residents can watch the action. The Main Stand is flanked by two smaller stands, the North West Terrace and Family Stand.

After a matchday incident on the East Terrace, the club acted to increase the distance between home and away supporters. Away fans have been segregated further towards the north of the terrace. When away support is expected to number over 500, the whole of the North-East section is opened, and the Central section is closed to enforce the new segregation arrangements. The situation further highlights the inadequacy of Underhill as a Football League stadium, even though it now meets league criteria, and the club continues to search for a new home.[3]

In the South West Corner of the ground stands the Durham Suite, named after Bees midfielder Kevin Durham who died in 1991. Although not part of the ground, the Pavilion behind the South Stand is owned by the club and acts as the social club for many fans. Away fans are not allowed into the Pavilion.

Underhill Stadium, South Stand At Night

Current Developments[edit]

Barnet opened the 1,016 seater South Stand in 2008 to replace the temporary structure which had stood in its place for over ten years. The stand was first used for the FA Cup victory over Swindon Town in January 2008, just a matter of weeks after work had started.

The Bees have also erected a temporary covered structure in the North East corner of the ground with seated capacity of 240. This was built so away supporters could have the choice between sitting or standing as the stand is adjacent to the away terraced section.

These improvements finally brought Underhill to Football League standards and the capacity was increased to 5,568.

The club have announced that work is underway in order to erect four new corner floodlights, which will be 25 metres high and have a 500 Lux value as opposed to the current 350. The eight old pylons dating from 1962 have been removed. Work was completed prior to the opening pre-season game of the 2010-2011 season against Arsenal and the stadium capacity was again increased to 6,023 as a result.

It has now been announced that from the 2013-14 season Barnet will play their home games at The Hive Stadium.

From 2014 onwards, the Super League rugby league team, London Broncos, will be training at Underhill and their gym and offices will be based there. Also the Broncos announced on the 6th May 2014 that their Under-19s side will be playing at the stadium.

Edgware Town F.C. will play their opening games of the 2014-15 Spartan South Midlands League season at Underhill, while their Silver Jubilee Park ground is refurbished.[4]

History[edit]

The ground was opened in September 1907 with a match against Crystal Palace F.C. which the home side won 1-0. To celebrate the 100th year of football at the stadium, the two sides met again in the 2007/2008 Pre-Season. Palace won this match 3-2. At the time, there were a number of amateur clubs playing in Barnet. When opened, the ground was home to Barnet Alston. Alston merged with Avenue FC (who were known as Barnet FC) in 1912 to become Barnet & Alston FC. After the First World War, the club reverted to the name Barnet FC, which continues today.[5]

Barnet vs. Arsenal playing at the Underhill Stadium

The South Stand was once known as The West Bank, a partially covered terraced stand. It was home to Barnet's more vocal support until it was demolished in the mid-1990s. Vocal support is now generally located in the East Terrace towards the halfway line.

Record Attendance[edit]

The record attendance at Underhill was 11,026 against Wycombe Wanderers F.C. on 23 February 1952 for an Amateur cup tie.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°38′46.17″N 0°11′30.24″W / 51.6461583°N 0.1917333°W / 51.6461583; -0.1917333