|Exsel Group Stadium|
Location in North Lanarkshire
|Owner||Albion Rovers Football Club|
|Capacity||1572 (489 seated)|
|Field size||110 yd × 72 yd (101 m × 66 m)|
|Albion Rovers F.C. (1919 – Present)
Coatbridge Monarchs (1968 – 1969)
Coatbridge Tigers (1973 – 1977)
Hamilton Academical (1997 – 1999)
Dumbarton F.C. (2001)
Cliftonhill Stadium, currently also known as the Exsel Group Stadium for sponsorship purposes, is the home ground of the Scottish Professional Football League team Albion Rovers. The ground is situated in the town of Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.
Albion moved from Meadow Park to Cliftonhill in 1919, with the new ground opening on 25 December. The Main Stand sits high on a rise above Main Street and was built in the same season as their only Scottish Cup Final appearance. A roof extension over the paddock (a standing area in front of the stand) was added in 1994. The Main Stand and paddock are the only parts of the stadium normally used nowadays and the current capacity is listed as 1,238. In its heyday, Cliftonhill housed many thousand more people and its record attendance was set on 8 February 1936 when 27,381 watched the visit of Rangers. Floodlighting was installed at the ground in October 1968 and since then, Cliftonhill has at various times staged speedway, greyhound racing and stock car racing as well as football. Unusually and owing to the ground's small capacity, there are no stands or open space behind either goals for spectators. The sizeable partly covered terrace on the opposite side of the main stand is currently closed to all fans.
During the 1990s it looked likely that Albion Rovers would leave Cliftonhill to share a stadium with local rivals Airdrieonians. However opposition from Rovers fans, the local population and others, saw that move fall through and the club are currently working on plans to sell the ground and build a new stadium elsewhere in the town. The floodlighting system comes from Cardiff Arms Park, when it was demolished to make way for the Millennium Stadium. In 2006 the front entrance and main stand featured in a UK television advert for Flash. Currently, it contains a club shop which opens one hour prior to home first team matches.
The dimensions of the pitch are 110 by 72 yards (101 m × 66 m).
In 2007, Cliftonhill was subject to repeated vandalism.
In 2015, the capacity of the stadium rose to 1,572 when the club upgraded the "Airdrie End" of the stadium. At the start of the 2016–17 season, Rovers announced a deal with local IT and communications firm Exsel Group that would see the stadium re-branded as the 'Exsel Group Stadium' for at least one season.
The stadium, which had been identified as a potential venue in the 1950s, became the home of Edinburgh Monarchs speedway team in 1968. The renamed Coatbridge Monarchs raced in 1969 but closed when the track licence was sold to Wembley Lions. The stadium hosted Glasgow Tigers from 1973 to mid season 1977 when the promotion moved to Blantyre Greyhound Stadium. The move prompted by a desire to replace the speedway track with a greyhound track.
The original speedway track was unusual as the bends were laid out on the terracing at either end giving the track extremely banked bends.
Cliftonhill was first used for greyhound racing on 11 December 1931. The racing was independent (unlicensed) and a greyhound called Song Of Love was the first ever winner over 380 yards. The track closed in the mid-fifties before opening again twenty years later during September 1977. The new circumference was 400 metres and race distances were 300, 500 and 700 yards, the main race was the Coatbridge Derby. Greyhound racing ceased for good during 1988.
- "Cliftonhill ready to Exsel". Albion Rovers FC. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- "Albion Rovers Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "Albion Rovers". Duncan Adams. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
- Paisley, Jonathan (19 June 2007). "Vandals threat to Albion Rovers' future". Evening Times. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- Furby, R (1968). Independent Greyhound Racing. New Dominion House. p. 88.
- Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. p. 283. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.