Belle Vue (Wakefield)

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Belle Vue
Phone pix 181.jpg
Full name Belle Vue
Location Doncaster Road, Wakefield, WF1 5EY, England
Coordinates 53°40′11″N 1°28′46″W / 53.66972°N 1.47944°W / 53.66972; -1.47944Coordinates: 53°40′11″N 1°28′46″W / 53.66972°N 1.47944°W / 53.66972; -1.47944
Public transit National Rail Wakefield Kirkgate
Owner 88m Group
Operator Wakefield Trinity
Capacity 9,333 [1]
Record attendance 29,335 (1923)
Field size 120 by 74 yards (110 m × 68 m)
Surface Grass
Scoreboard Philips Vidiwall
Construction
Opened [2]
Renovated 2011
Tenants
Rugby League
Wakefield Trinity –present)
Sheffield Eagles (2017)
Football
Wakefield F.C. (2000–2006, 2012–2014)[3]

Belle Vue (known as the Mobile Rocket Stadium under sponsorship agreement) in Wakefield, England, is the home of Wakefield Trinity rugby league team. It is beside the A638 Doncaster Road, approximately one mile south of Wakefield city centre.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Wakefield Trinity originally played on Heath Common. In 1875/76 they moved to a ground near the Borough Market (near the current Trinity shopping centre.) They returned to the Belle Vue area of Wakefield played on a ground behind the Alexandra Hotel near Elm Street. This is on the opposite side of the road from the present ground.

It is remains unconfirmed when Wakefield Trinity moved to the present ground. The confusion appears to come from the fact that Belle Vue is both an area of Wakefield and the name of the ground and people can confuse a mention of one for another.

Reverend Marshall in "Football - the Rugby Union Game" (first published 1892) wrote, "the club migrated to Belle Vue on the opposite side of the road to the present field, and where the first cup ties were played. In the following year a move was made to the present field."

The Cup referred to is the Yorkshire Cup which was first played during the 1877/78 season. Wakefield Trinity's first Yorkshire Cup game was played on the 8th December 1877 during the 1877/78 season. If Trinity played the "first cup ties" on the Elm Street ground in 1877, the "following year" would have been 1878.

However in, "The Grounds of Rugby League" by Trevor R. Delaney [4]gives the opening of the present ground as Easter Monday, 14th April 1879. This is based on the evidence of former Wakefield Trinity treasurer Ernest Parker, who remembered that Trinity debuted their new (and now traditional) colours of blue and red on the same day and he was present at the match (He would have been approx. 10 years old). There is no mention of the ground move in the local newspapers and Parker's recollection was many years later.

D.W Armitage writing in J.C Lindley's "100 years of Rugby - the history of Wakefield Trinity 1873-1973" [5]said "From minutes of the committee it is evident that by the time the club was about ten years old [this would have been around 1883] the field on which Trinity still play had been occupied and was looked upon as the permanent home."

In J.C Lindley's "100 years of Rugby - the history of Wakefield Trinity 1873-1973"[6] states "Their move to the arena which still forms their home did not come until late in 1892. In December of that year the club agreed to lease a field adjacent to the St Catherine's School and there they made their headquarters which have remained so throughout the rest of their history."

Lindley goes onto explain, "But that move of playing area, obviously caused by their inability to continue the lease on two grounds on which they had progressed, bought severe problems. Here was a "field" - an area of grass which needed fencing and developing, in direct contrast to their previous home, enclosed with two stands, on which athletics, cycling, and lacrosse as well as rugby football, were given adequate facilities. In 1892 a completely fresh start had to be made, and until such developments, athletics (including the popular annual sports) had to be staged on Wakefield Cricket club's ground."

In 1892 newspaper reports [7] that Trinity may "have to quit their present ground at Belle Vue at Belle Vue as it is required for building purposes." Delaney comments "Fortunately, the only development was the building of St Catherine's Road which stopped at the present turnstiles." This however may be incorrect and the reference to the "present ground" was actually a reference to the Elm Street ground and the redevelopment was a reference to the building of houses on Elm Street. Lindley explains that in January 1895 "some three years after taking the lease for this Belle Vue field", the club planned ground developments and to finance these, a Limited liability company "Wakefield Trinity Athletic Company Limited", controlled by but separate from the rugby club, was formed to both by out the lease and raise finance to develop the ground. On 24th September 1898 Lord Milton, Wakefield's MP official opened the re-constituted ground, which now included a cycle track around the perimeter of the rugby field, with a game between Wakefield Trinity and Halifax. [8]

Finals played at the ground[edit]

Belle Vue was the venue of the 1922–23 Challenge Cup final, in which Leeds beat Hull F.C. 28–3 in front of a crowd of 29,335, the only occasion that Belle Vue was the venue for the Challenge Cup final.

The 1937–38 Rugby Football League Championship Final was due to have taken place at Belle Vue, but as both finalists Hunslet and Leeds were from Leeds, the authorities switched the match to Elland Road.[9]

1960-1995[edit]

Scenes from This Sporting Life were filmed at the Belle Vue Stadium during Wakefield Trinity's third round Challenge Cup match against Wigan in 1962. In 1967, floodlights were erected for the first time, allowing games to be held on an evening.

in 1986 the old wooden West Stand that had stood their since the construction of the ground in 1895 was dempolished. It was however never fully replaced and now houses the TV gantry.

In 1992 the old floodlights the were installed in 1967 were upgraded. New changing rooms were also added for the 1984/85 season in the South-East corner of the ground

1996-2009: Summer rugby[edit]

With Super League being founded in 1996, Wakefield Trinity, who then played in the Second Division, released plans for hospitality suites to be built at the South End of the ground to meet with Super League regulations. In the early 2000s a four storey building was completed.

The capacity of the stadium was increased to 12,600 in 2008, to help with the application for a 2009 Super League licence, which was granted in July 2008. A roof was subsequently erected over the North Stand and a smaller roof was constructed in the South-West corner of the ground.

2010-present: Redevelopment[edit]

Wakefield Trinity have long been in negotiation with the local council to find an alternative site, as the present Belle Vue stadium does not comply with the proposed standards required by the Super League. However, there have been difficulties in agreeing with the council on a suitable alternative site.

Originally plans for a 12,000 seater stadium in Stanley were unveiled on 17 April 2009, with the development proposed by Yorkcourt Properties and a community trust, chaired by former Rugby Football League chairman Sir Rodney Walker.[10] However the club, community trust and Wakefield Council could never find enough money to start the project.

In 2016, Belle Vue was purchased by 88m Group, who chairman wanted to redevelop the stadium. The following year, plans were released for a new 12,000 capacity stadium to be built on the current site of Belle Vue with the view for it to be completed by 2020.

Layout[edit]

North Stand[edit]

Belle Vue, Doncaster Road End

Capacity: ? (standing)
The North Stand is terracing located behind the goal posts and houses the big screen. A roof was erected over the stand in 2012 to meet Super League regulations.

East Stand[edit]

Belle Vue, East Stand

Capacity: 5,333 (seating)
The East stand is the only stand in the ground to contain seating which is covered. There is a small amount of uncovered terracing in front of the seats.

South End[edit]

Belle Vue, Trinity Street End

Capacity: ? (standing)
The South End of the ground has a four storey building that houses the hospitality and supporters bar. In the South East corner is the tunnel and players' changing rooms.

West Stand[edit]

Belle Vue, Arthur Street side

Capacity: ? (standing)
The West Stand is mostly uncovered terracing and is where the TV gantry and dugout is. It mostly houses away fans and has toilets and food outlets.

Sponsors[edit]

Years Sponsor Name
2005 Atlantic Solutions Atlantic Solutions Stadium
2009-2010 Hearwell Hearwell Stadium
2011-2014 Rapid Solicitors Rapid Solicitors Stadium
2017 Beaumont Legal Beaumont Legal Stadium
2018 Mobile Rocket Mobile Rocket Stadium

Usage[edit]

Rugby[edit]

The ground is primarily used for Rugby. It was originally a rugby union venue before the schism of 1895, although the occasional rugby union has been played on the ground after 1895. For example in January 1899 it hosted the Yorkshire v Australia game.

Belle Vue was the venue of the 1922–23 Challenge Cup final, in which Leeds beat Hull F.C. 28–3 in front of a crowd of 29,335, the only occasion that Belle Vue was the venue for the Challenge Cup final.

The 1937–38 Rugby Football League Championship Final was due to have taken place at Belle Vue, but as both finalists Hunslet and Leeds were from Leeds, the authorities switched the match to Elland Road.[9]

On Saturday 16 September 2006 the stadium played host to the 'Battle of Belle Vue' when 11,000 fans from Wakefield Trinity and Castleford watched the match which would decide who was relegated from Super League. Wakefield Trinity won the match 29–17 sending their nearest rivals Castleford down to the National League.

Sheffield Eagles made Belle Vue their temporary home in 2017 after they were forced out of their home ground Don Valley Stadium two years earlier. The previous season they had played at Doncasters Keepmoat Stadium.

Football[edit]

After Emley A.F.C. were relocated to Wakefield in 2000, they chose to play their home games at Belle Vue as it was the only sporting venue in the city big enough to accommodate them and the facilities were much better than their ground in Emley. The clubs name changed three times after they moved to Wakefield, from Emley AFC to Wakefield & Emley FC to Wakefield-Emley and then just to Wakefield FC. They remained at Belle Vue until 2006 when they moved out to play at College Grove.

After five years away the club returned to Belle Vue in 2012 but their return was short lived as they were wound up in 2014 after a move back to Emley failed and the club resigned from the Northern Counties League.

Leeds United reserves also played at the ground [11]

Other sports[edit]

After the redevelopment of the late 1890s the venue included a cycling track.

Lacrosse has also been played at the ground.

International fixtures[edit]

Rugby League Test matches[edit]

The list of international rugby league matches played at Belle Vue is.[12]

Date Winner Score Runners up Attendance
4 December 1909 England  19-13  Wales 4,000
21 October 2016 Wales  16-16  Jamaica 1,378

Rugby League Tour matches[edit]

In addition, Belle Vue has also played host to numerous Australian and New Zealand touring teams.

Date Winner Result Runners up Competition Attendance
23 October 1907 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 5-5 New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 1907–08 All Golds tour 5,000
18 December 1907 New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 23-4 Yorkshire Yorkshire
20 December 1908 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 20-13 Australian colours.svg Australia 1908–09 Kangaroo Tour 3,000
18 November 1911 Australian colours.svg Australasia 24-10 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 1911–12 Kangaroo Tour 5,000
22 October 1921 Australian colours.svg Australasia 29-3 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 1921–22 Kangaroo Tour 6,000
7 December 1921 Australian colours.svg Australasia 24-8 Yorkshire Yorkshire 6,000
28 September 1929 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 14-3 Australian colours.svg Australasia 1929–30 Kangaroo Tour 9,786
20 November 1929 Australian colours.svg Australasia 25-12 Yorkshire Yorkshire 7,011
28 October 1933 Australian colours.svg Australia 17-6 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 1933–34 Kangaroo Tour 5,596
9 October 1937 Australian colours.svg Australia 17-10 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 1937–38 Kangaroo Tour 8,696
25 September 1948 Australian colours.svg Australia 26-19 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 1948–49 Kangaroo Tour 20,040
12 November 1952 Australian colours.svg Australia 58-8 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 1952–53 Kangaroo Tour 7,239
10 December 1956 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 17-12 Australian colours.svg Australia 1956–57 Kangaroo Tour 3,381
28 November 1959 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 20-10 Australian colours.svg Australia 1959–60 Kangaroo Tour 17,615
26 October 1963 Australian colours.svg Australia 29-14 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 1963–64 Kangaroo Tour 15,821
4 October 1967 Yorkshire Yorkshire 15-14 Australian colours.svg Australia 1967–68 Kangaroo Tour 19,370
28 October 1967 Australian colours.svg Australia 33-7 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 10,056
3 October 1973 Australian colours.svg Australia 13-9 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 1973 Kangaroo Tour 5,836
10 October 1990 Australian colours.svg Australia 36-18 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 1990 Kangaroo Tour 7,724

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Berry, Mark (30 January 2014). "Stadium capacity at Wakefield Wildcats slashed for start of new season". Wakefield Express. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Elland Road – Information". wafll.com. Retrieved 3 April 2008. 
  3. ^ Mike Williams & Tony Williams (2012) Non-League Club Directory 2013, p412 ISBN 978-1-869833-77-0
  4. ^ The Grounds of Rugby League, ISBN 0950998222
  5. ^ 100 years of Rugby - the history of Wakefield Trinity 1873-1973
  6. ^ 100 years of Rugby - the history of Wakefield Trinity 1873-1973
  7. ^ Athletics News and Cyclist Journal 10/10/1892
  8. ^ 100 years of Rugby - the history of Wakefield Trinity 1873-1973
  9. ^ a b "Club History, Facts and Figures". Yorkshire Evening Post. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Wakefield announce stadium plans". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 April 2009. 
  11. ^ https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/sport/football/leeds-united/reserves-set-for-a-south-leeds-switch-1-2102246
  12. ^ Belle Vue at Rugby League Project

External links[edit]