View from the South Stand
|Full name||Lamex Stadium|
Stevenage Athletic F.C. (1968–1976)
Stevenage F.C. (1980–present)
Broadhall Way, known as the Lamex Stadium for sponsorship purposes, is a small association football stadium in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. It has been the home ground of Stevenage (formerly Stevenage Borough and Stevenage Town) since the early 1960s, and has a capacity of 6,722 people, including 3,142 seats.
The club plays at Broadhall Way, previously home to Stevenage Town and Stevenage Athletic. Following the bankruptcy of the town's former club, the stadium was not used for three years. The newly formed Stevenage Borough had planned on playing Hitchin Town Youth at Broadhall Way in November 1976 as a "curtain-raiser" for the new venture. Volunteers prepared the pitch in anticipation, but their plans were scuppered when the ex-chairman of Stevenage Athletic — and stadium lease-holder — desecrated the playing surface at Broadhall Way by digging a trench across the full length of the pitch. The club eventually moved into Broadhall Way in 1980 as a result of the council re-purchasing the stadium, and allowed the football club to become its tenant.
Following Stevenage's successful 1995–96 Conference National campaign, the Hertfordshire side were denied promotion to the Football League because of insufficient ground capacity and facilities. Consequently, in the early 2000s, the ground was upgraded, with a new £600,000 stand opening, and work on a £5million training facility was announced for nearby Shephalbury Park — which subsequently opened in Autumn 2002. In June 2011, the club secured a 40-acre former sports ground in Bragbury End — with the intention of developing the site into a new training complex. Work began on the development in the summer of 2011, and the staff began to use the complex towards the latter stages of the 2012–13 season.
In January 2009, Stevenage announced that they had signed a seven-figure sponsorship deal with the Lamex Food Group, resulting in the renaming of Broadhall Way to the Lamex Stadium. As a result of the club securing promotion as league champions during the club's 2009–10 campaign, Broadhall Way hosted League football for the first ever time during the 2010–11 season. The stadium now has a capacity of 6,722 people, including 3,142 seats. The capacity was reduced from 7,100 following the club's promotion to the Football League.
Structure and facilities
The ground's pitch includes four stands – the East Terrace, the North Terrace, the West Stand and South Stand. The West Stand (also known as the Main Stand) is all-seated and covered, and covers the length of the pitch, although it has open corners to either side of the stand. At the back of the stand there are a number of glass-fronted areas to various club offices and executive boxes. The club shop and ticket office is situated next to the West Stand, opposite to the club's official car-park. Parts of the West Stand were refurbished after the 2011–12 season, with the club widening the car park behind the stand, as well as extending the entrance into the executive boxes in the stand. Opposite to the West Stand is the East Terrace, which is a covered terrace for home supporters. The terrace has a gable with a clock sitting on its roof above the half-way line, as well as holding a television gantry on its roof.
North Terrace is situated behind the goal at the north end of the ground and is just seven steps deep. Three-quarters of the terrace is covered, whilst one-quarter is open and without cover. The stand can hold a capacity of 700 people, and also offers facilities for disabled fans. Opposite the North Terrace is the South Stand, which is a single tiered, all-seated covered stand. The stand was built in 2001, costing £600,000 and includes an executive suite underneath. The South Stand is reserved for away supporters and can hold a capacity of 1,400. From 2001 until 2011, the stand was known for sponsorships reasons as the Buildbase Stand. The stand also has an electronic scoreboard in the centre of the roof, making it visible to home supporters. The scoreboard was replaced in October 2011. Behind the stand is the supporters' club. A new set of floodlights were installed before the start of the club's 2007–08 campaign.
The stadium hosted the England C team, who represent England at non-League level, in January 2003, for a friendly against an Italy XI outfit. The stadium was also used for an England U20 match against Czech Republic U20 in October 2003. The game ended 2–0 to England. In July 2012, the stadium hosted a warm-up friendly between Senegal U23 and South Korea U23, ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympics, with South Korea winning the match 3–0. Additionally, for five years, the ground played host to the Tottenham Hotspur reserve side, with the North London club opting to use Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road for the start of the 2007–08 season due to its more convenient geographical location. Since September 2014, the stadium has once again hosted a number of Tottenham U21 league and cup fixtures each season.
At the end of the 2005–06 season, Broadhall Way also hosted the Conference South play-off final between St Albans City and Histon; a match that St Albans won 2–0 in front of 3,284 spectators. The following year, the stadium played host to the play-off final once again, where 3,167 were in attendance to watch Salisbury City beat Braintree Town 1–0 to gain promotion to the Conference National. It hosted the final for the third, and last time, in May 2008 when Eastbourne Borough beat Hampton & Richmond Borough 2–0. Moreover, various charity based matches have also taken place at the ground in recent years.
The highest attendance recorded at the stadium was 8,040 for a match against Newcastle United in the FA Cup fourth-round on 25 January 1998. A temporary stand was erected behind the away end to increase the stadium capacity to 8,100, enough to satisfy the FA. The highest attendance recorded for a competitive league match at Broadhall Way is 7,024, when Stevenage played Luton Town in the Conference National in April 2010, previously beating the 6,520 attendance when Stevenage played Hereford United in the Conference National play-offs in May 2005. The club's lowest attendance whilst playing in the highest tier of non-league football is 879 for a match against Stalybridge Celtic in March 1995. The lowest attendance recorded at the ground for a first-team match is 152 for an Isthmian League match against Billericay Town in August 1987.
The highest seasonal average for Stevenage at Broadhall Way since the club was promoted to the Football Conference in 1994 is 2,748, during the club's 1996–97 campaign. This seasonal average was beaten when the club were promoted into the Football League for the 2010–11 season, averaging 2,960 fans during their first ever season as a Football League team. Attendances continued to improve the following season, in the club's first League One campaign, with the seasonal average sitting at 3,559, the first time the club had averaged over 3,000 spectators. The season was also the first time that over 100,000 fans attended games at Broadhall Way. This figure showed a significant rise in the club's attendances, as it was over double the number of fans who attended games at the stadium during the 2008–09 season. The lowest overall average attendance while the club has been in the top fiver tiers of English football was in the side's first year in the Conference, in 1994–95, averaging 1,415.
In April 2011, Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace confirmed that the club were looking for investment to re-develop the North Stand, which can only currently hold a capacity of 700 people. The new plans involved a 2,000 all-seater stand that Wallace "wants to signify Boro's transition from a former non-league outfit to that of an ambitious, forward-thinking Football League club". It was stated that the new build would look similar to the South Stand from within the stadium — except for being "a few rows deeper". In January 2013, it was announced that the club were due to present plans to replace the existing North Terrace with a new £1.2 million 1,700 seat stand, although these did not materialise due to "numerous obstacles put in the way".
In July 2017, the club asked fans to contribute towards a mini-bond investment scheme in an attempt to fund the remaining £500,000 needed to go towards developing the new North Stand. The mini-bond would earn investors interest on a six-month basis, and is "effectively a loan to the football club which will attract interest at the rate of 4% per year, or fans can opt to double that rate and take an 8% credit". The club stated its desire to open the new stand for the start of the 2018–19 season if the bond scheme is successful. Five weeks after the campaign started, the £500,000 target was met after investment from over 200 fans. A further £100,000 was raised in the following days, meaning a total of £600,000 would be invested in the new North Stand development. The North Terrace was demolished in January 2018, with the club's FA Cup tie against Reading on 6 January 2018 the last fixture the stand could be used by supporters.
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