Panorama of Goldsands Stadium (Dean Court) from East Stand
|Former names||Goldsands Stadium, Seward Stadium, Fitness First Stadium|
|Record attendance||28,799 (A.F.C. Bournemouth v Manchester United, 2 March 1957)|
|Field size||105 x 78 m (114.82 x 85.30 yds)|
|A.F.C. Bournemouth (1910–present)|
In 1910 Boscombe F.C. was given a piece of land by the town's Cooper-Dean family, after whom the ground was named. The land was the site of an old gravel pit, and the ground was not built in time for the start of the 1910–11 season. As a result, the club played at the adjacent King's Park until moving into Dean Court in December 1910. However, the club facilities were still not ready, and players initially had to change in a nearby hotel. Early developments at the ground included a 300-seat stand.
In 1923 the club were elected to Division Three South of the Football League, at which point they changed their name to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic. The first Football League match was played at Dean Court on 1 September 1923, with 7,000 watching a 0–0 draw with Swindon Town. Subsequent ground improvements were made following the purchase of fittings from the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, which allowed the construction of a 3,700-seat stand. A covered terrace was added at the southern end of the ground in 1936.
The club's record League attendance was set on 14 April 1948, when 25,495 watched a 1–0 defeat to QPR. The overall record attendance was set on 2 March 1957, when 28,799 spectators watched an FA Cup match against Manchester United. Shortly afterwards, a roof was added to the western stand. The club also purchased more land behind the northern end of the ground, with the intention of enlarging the stand and building a leisure centre. However, the club ran out of money during its construction and abandoned the scheme in 1984. As a result, the half-built structure was demolished and housing was built on that part of the site. The club's lowest Football League attendance was set on 4 March 1986, when only 1,873 saw a 2–2 drawn with Lincoln City.
The ground was completely rebuilt in 2001, with the pitch rotated ninety degrees from its original position and the ground moved away from adjacent housing. Because the work was not finished in time for the start of the 2001–02 season, Bournemouth played their first eight games at the Avenue Stadium in nearby Dorchester. When Dean Court reopened with a game against Wrexham on 10 November, it gained its first sponsored name, becoming the Fitness First Stadium. Although it was rebuilt as a three sided stadium with a capacity of 9,600, seats were placed on the undeveloped south end in the autumn of 2005. On 24 February 2004 Bournemouth's James Hayter scored the Football League's fastest-ever hat-trick at Dean Court, scoring three goals in 2 minutes and 20 seconds during a 6–0 against Wrexham. The club sold the stadium in December 2005 in a sale-and-leaseback deal with London property company Structadene.
In the 2010–11 a temporary south stand was built, but was removed during the 2011–12 season after attendances fell. In July 2011 the stadium was renamed the Seward Stadium after the naming rights were sold to the Seward Motor Group. Following Seward entering administration in February 2012, the ground was subsequently renamed the Goldsands Stadium in a two-year deal. During the summer of 2013 a 2,400 seat stand was built on the undeveloped end of the ground as a result of the club's promotion to the Championship. In July 2013 it was named after former club striker Ted MacDougall.
In August 2014, chairman Jeff Mostyn revealed that the club were looking at the possibility of redeveloping the stadium rather than moving to Matchams. With a limited capacity of 11,464, the club were exploring the option of building a new, permanent stand and filling-in the stadium's corners should they continue to be successful in the Premier League. The naming rights changed once more in July 2015 when the stadium became the Vitality Stadium.
In May 2016, AFC Bournemouth announced that it will not be adding new capacity to its ground in time for the next Premier League season. The club has taken the decision to delay redevelopment plans following a meeting of its board. A statement from the Cherries blamed "ongoing negotiations with the club's landlord to purchase the stadium". The club had previously said improving the stadium's size was needed as "demand for tickets far outweighs our current capacity". Dean Court remains the smallest ground in the Premier League.
In December 2016 the club announced plans to find a new site due to the ongoing issues regarding ownership of the ground.
In July 2017 the club confirmed it was looking to build a new stadium near the current site in Kings Park.
In 2013 both England Ladies and Under 16 sides played games at the ground. The stadium has also been used for music concerts, hosting Elton John in 2006. It is the only Premier League stadium never to have been in a Labour constituency.
- "2017/18 Premier League Handbook". premierleague.com.
- "AFC Bournemouth announce naming rights deal for Vitality Stadium". afcb.co.uk. 9 July 2015. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- Paul Smith & Shirley Smith (2005) The Ultimate Directory of English & Scottish Football League Grounds Second Edition 1888–2005, Yore Publications, p41, ISBN 0954783042
- "AFC Bournemouth Club Information". A.F.C. Bournemouth. 2008. Archived from the original on 29 September 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
- The hat-trick Hall of Fame BBC Sport, 25 February 2004
- "New stadium deal could be required". Bournemouth Daily Echo. 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
- "Bournemouth sell naming rights deal of Dean Court". BBC News. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "AFC Bournemouth announce new Dean Court stadium sponsor". BBC News. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "Fletch: Stand is fitting for MacDougall". www.afcb.co.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- "Bournemouth consider Dean Court stadium expansion". Stadia Directory. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- "AFC Bournemouth: Premier League club searching for suitable site for new stadium". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
- "AFC Bournemouth: New stadium earmarked for Kings Park site". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
- "AFC Bournemouth: Dean Court to host England match". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- afcb.co.uk. "Cherries to host England womens' game". Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- "Elton to play show at AFC Bournemouth". Dorset Echo. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2013.