Welford Road Stadium

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Welford Road Stadium
Welford Road Stadium.jpg
Location Aylestone Road
Leicester
LE2 7TR
Coordinates 52°37′27″N 1°07′59″W / 52.62417°N 1.13306°W / 52.62417; -1.13306Coordinates: 52°37′27″N 1°07′59″W / 52.62417°N 1.13306°W / 52.62417; -1.13306
Owner Leicester Tigers
Operator Leicester Tigers
Capacity 24,000

Welford Road is a rugby union stadium in Leicester, England and is the home ground for Leicester Tigers. It is located between Aylestone Road and Welford Road on the edge of the city centre. The stadium has a capacity of 24,000, making it the largest purpose-built club rugby union ground in England.

History[edit]

The Leicester Tigers moved there in 1892 and the first stands accommodated 1,100 spectators. The club house is located on Aylestone Road, where a small temporary stand is erected, with the other sides having permanent stands built on them.

The Crumbie Stand was built in the 1920s with the terrace being added later. The stand is named after the club's secretary who built the stand, Tom Crumbie. The members' stand – now replaced by the Caterpillar stand – was built on the side of the ground adjoining the former Granby Halls site; this stand was also built in the twenties. This expansion almost bankrupted the club but it helped attract top players and laid the foundations for Leicester first glory years in the 1920s and 1930s as well as their subsequent success. The stand is now sponsored by Holland and Barratt and is also commonly known by the same name. The stand allows for standing and seating capacity at the stadium.

The Alliance and Leicester Stand was opened at the Welford Road end in 1995. In 2010 this was renamed the Goldsmiths stand.

In 2004, the Tigers announced a plan to abandon Welford Road in favour of a groundshare at Walkers Stadium with the city's main football club, Leicester City F.C. However, the two clubs could not agree on which one would have priority at Walkers Stadium, and formally shelved the plan in 2005.

The new stand

Leicester purchased the freehold to land adjacent to the ground in 2006. Plans have now been approved for the ground to be radically altered.[1] It will eventually see capacity expanded from 16,815 to 30,000.[2] In 2008, phase I of the redevelopment started with the construction of the Caterpillar Stand on the north side that increased capacity to 24,000. The stand opened on 19 September 2009 with a capacity crowd watching a match between Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons.[3]

An official opening ceremony took place on 6 November 2009 when Tigers played South Africa.[4]

International matches[edit]

As of 2008, the stadium has hosted seven full cap international games. It hosted pool matches during both the 1991[5] and 1999[6] Rugby World Cups and it was expected that it would also be a venue for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.[7] However Welford Road was omitted from the long list of potential venues submitted by England Rugby 2015 to the International Rugby Board in October 2012. The shortlist did include the King Power Stadium in Leicester as a potential venue for the tournament.[8] The stadium has also occasionally hosted England Saxons (previously England A and before that England B) and England U20 matches, and non-cap matches between international touring sides and Leicester or a Midlands or East Midlands XV.

Date Competition Home team Away team
8 February 1902 1902 Home Nations Championship England 6 Ireland Ireland 3
9 January 1904 1904 Home Nations Championship England 14 Wales Wales 14
10 February 1906 1906 Home Nations Championship England 6 Ireland Ireland 16
30 January 1909 Friendly England 22 France France 0
10 February 1923 1923 Five Nations Championship England 23 Ireland Ireland 5
13 October 1991 1991 Rugby World Cup New Zealand 31 Italy Italy 21
10 October 1999 1999 Rugby World Cup Italy 25 Tonga Tonga 28

Other use[edit]

Since 2002 for men, and 2004 for women, the annual Varsity Match between De Montfort University and Leicester University has been held at Welford Road.[9]

In rugby league's Super League IX, London Broncos as the nominal home side took on Hull 20 June 2004, with Hull winning 42–26.[10]

Welford Road has also played host to American Football, with a charity match in aid of Matt Hampson taking place on 28 May 2007 between the Loughborough University Aces and reunited 90s team Leicester Panthers.[11] National League team Leicester Falcons also played a league match at the stadium as part of a fundraiser for local charity LOROS, beating the Birmingham Bulls 22–15 on 12 June 2010.[12]

On 15 July 2010, Welford Road held its first pop concert with James Morrison playing followed on the 16th by Will Young.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FWP project page". Fwpgroup.co.uk. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "LEICESTER | Welford Road Redevelopment | 30,000 | Approved – SkyscraperCity". Skyscrapercity.com. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Mann, Andy (19 September 2009). "Cat Stand will add to Welford Road atmosphere – Ellis". Leicestertigers.com. Retrieved 20 September 2009. 
  4. ^ Sherrard, Gary (6 November 2009). "Caterpillar C.E.O. officially opens new stand". Leicestertigers.com. Retrieved 9 November 2009. 
  5. ^ 1991 world cup at news.bbc.co.uk
  6. ^ 1999 world cup at news.bbc.co.uk
  7. ^ "England will host 2015 World Cup". BBC News. 28 July 2009. 
  8. ^ "Long list of potential venues for RWC 2015". Rugby World Cup. 8 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Community: Tigers Rugby : Varsity Match". Leicester Tigers. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Super League IX 2004 – Round 15". Rugbyleagueproject.org. 20 June 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "Leicester – Sport – The Matt Hampson Bowl". BBC. 28 May 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "Gridiron: Leicester Falcons land first win of season". This is Leicestershire. 12 June 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Welford Road : Concerts". Leicestertigers.com. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 

External links[edit]