Ashton Gate Stadium

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Ashton Gate
'The Gate'
Ashton Gate Stadium (daytime).jpg
Full name Ashton Gate Stadium
Location Ashton Road, Bristol BS3 2EJ
Coordinates 51°26′24″N 2°37′13″W / 51.44000°N 2.62028°W / 51.44000; -2.62028Coordinates: 51°26′24″N 2°37′13″W / 51.44000°N 2.62028°W / 51.44000; -2.62028
Owner Bristol City Football Club
Capacity 16,600
Field size 115 x 75 yards
Opened 1887
Tenants
Bedminster F.C. (until 1900)
Bristol City F.C. (1904–present)
Bristol Rugby (2014-present)

Ashton Gate Stadium is a stadium in Ashton Gate, Bristol, England, and is the home of Bristol City F.C. and Bristol Rugby. Located in the south-west of the city, just south of the River Avon, it currently has an all-seated capacity of 16,600, due to redevelopment, which should increase to a capacity of 27,000 by the start of the 2016-17 season of English football.

History and arrangement[edit]

Ashton Gate was the home of Bedminster F.C. until their 1900 merger with Bristol South End who played at St John's Lane, and the merged club played at St John's Lane until the end of the 1903–04 season, when they moved to Ashton Gate.[1]

The Dolman Stand at a Bristol City home game vs fierce rivals Bristol Rovers

The ground has also played a part in the history of rugby in the city. Bristol Rugby have played there on a number of occasions since the 1920s, the most recent being on 27 December 2006 when they defeated local rivals Bath Rugby 16–6 whilst selling out the stadium for an all-time record Premiership crowd outside of Twickenham. Several rugby internationals have been held, starting with England versus Wales in 1899. One hundred years later, the All Blacks took on Tonga in a 1999 Rugby World Cup pool match.

Former stands[edit]

Wedlock "East End" Stand

View from the home section of the Wedlock Stand

The old East End was demolished during the summer of 2014 and has been completely rebuilt to modern standards. It was built as a covered terrace in 1928, converted to seats in the 1990s and was the traditional home fans' end until 1994. It was known as the East End to City fans.

Williams Stand

The Williams Stand was on the south-west side, which included the directors' box and press box, and was built in 1958. The lower part of the stand was a terrace known as the Grand Enclosure until it was converted to seating in the 1990s. This stand was also named after a former chairman Des Williams. Demolition of this stand occurred in June 2015 in preparation for rebuilding to modern standards over the course of the next year.

Current stands[edit]

Dolman Stand

The Dolman Stand', which lies opposite what was the Williams Stand, was built in 1970. At that time it was built it had a small, flat Family Enclosure in front of it, which was later built up and converted to seating. In the summer of 2007, the original wooden seats in the upper area were replaced by modern plastic seats. It is named after the former club chairman and president Harry Dolman. This stand was redeveloped over the summer of 2015 as part of the redevelopment of Ashton Gate.

Atyeo Stand

The most recent addition to the stadium is the Atyeo Stand, which was built in 1994 to replace an open terrace, and contains new dressing rooms and a large gymnasium. It is named after Bristol City legend John Atyeo, who played 645 times for City and scored 351 goals, making him the club's top goalscorer ever. He died in 1993, a year before the new stand opened. After the demolition of the Wedlock Stand, the north-east section of this stand is used to house the away fans. It is anticipated that once the construction of the new West Stand is completed, away fans will be situated in the entirety of the Atyeo Stand.

Ashton Gate with Clifton Suspension Bridge in the background

South Stand

The South Stand was completed just after the end of the 2014-15 season as part of the redevelopment of Ashton Gate. It has a capacity of 6,071 and is all-seater. Unlike the other two stands at Ashton Gate, it is not named after a person who had strong ties with the club. The stand is linked to the neighbouring Dolman Stand via a concourse, and will eventually also be linked with the new West Stand.

Redevelopment of Ashton Gate[edit]

Following extensive planning and the failed bid to develop a new ground at Ashton Vale, and criticism of the failure of so many major leisure and sporting projects in Bristol,[2] Bristol City finally decided to press ahead with a major redevelopment of the current site at Ashton Gate.[3] This was approved in late 2013, with final clearance given in spring 2014, and work started in May 2014, following the final home fixture of the 2013-14 season.

The plans for redevelopment were as follows:

  • Demolition of the existing Williams and Wedlock (East End) stands, to be replaced by new, larger stands, with executive boxes.
  • Extension of the existing Dolman stand
  • Shifting of the current pitch by 5 metres to enable the Dolman extension, and a new pitch laid to enable shared use with the rugby club
  • Other works to the ground to bring it in line with modern stadia, with capacity of around 27,000

The works are planned to be completed by the start of the 2016-17 season.

So far, the phases completed are the demolition of the Wedlock Stand, the building of the new South Stand in place of the old Wedlock Stand, the extension of the existing Dolman stand, a newly-laid pitch and the demolition of the former Williams Stand. The only phase that is yet to be completed it the construction of a new stand in place of where the old Williams Stand once stood, which will be completed over the course of the 2015-16 season. It is anticipated that once the construction of the new West Stand is completed, away fans will be situated in the entirety of the Atyeo Stand.

Other uses[edit]

Rugby matches[edit]

Ashton Gate is now the home of not only Bristol City but Bristol Rugby as well, after moving in, in August 2014.

Ashton Gate has also held two international rugby union matches, as follows:

Date Competition Home team Away team
18 January 1908 1908 Home Nations Championship England 18 Wales 28
3 October 1999 1999 Rugby World Cup, Pool 2 New Zealand 45 Tonga 9

Ashton Gate has held one rugby league tour match[4] , as follows:

Date Competition Home team Away team
20 December 1911 1911/12 Kangaroo Tour Wales & West 3 Australia 23

Music[edit]

Ashton Gate has played host to music concerts, including those of The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi and Elton John.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul Smith & Shirley Smith (2005) The Ultimate Directory of English & Scottish Football League Grounds Second Edition 1888–2005, Yore Publications, p16, ISBN 0954783042
  2. ^ "Why does Bristol never build anything?". BBC News. 16 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "It's all kicking off as work starts on £40m makeover for Bristol City stadium". Bristol Post. 28 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Shawn Dollin and Andrew Ferguson (1 February 2015). "Kangaroos Tour 1911/12". rugbyleagueproject.org. 
  5. ^ "Sir Elton comes to Bristol". BBC Bristol. BBC. 10 December 2003. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 

External links[edit]