Hall Green Stadium

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Hall Green Stadium
Hall Green Stadium, York Road, Birmingham - geograph.org.uk - 95829.jpg
Location York Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, England
Coordinates 52°26′17″N 1°50′25″W / 52.4380°N 1.8403°W / 52.4380; -1.8403Coordinates: 52°26′17″N 1°50′25″W / 52.4380°N 1.8403°W / 52.4380; -1.8403
Owner Euro Property Investments Ltd
(leased by Greyhound Racing Association)
Opened August 1927
Closed 2018 (expected)
Tenants
Greyhound racing

Hall Green Stadium is a greyhound racing stadium located in the Birmingham suburb of Hall Green.[1]

It is one of four stadiums operated by the Greyhound Racing Association[2] and one of the 25 remaining licensed stadiums in the UK; however planning applications submitted by the stadium's current owner have been approved, and consequently the stadium is now due to close in the near future.

The track itself is a 412-metre long oval track with a sand covered surface. The capacity of the stadium seems to be somewhat in question with estimates ranging from 2,500[3] to 3,000.[4]

Facilities[edit]

The stadium's main stand facilities include outside terracing along the main straight, fast food outlets and a bar on the first floor and an indoor seated area with glass frontage overlooking the track on second floor. Also on the second floor is the a la carte restaurant.[5] Executive suites that can hold between 18 and 100 people are located on the first bend of the track.

Related facilities include a hotel situated on bends 3 and 4 which opened in 1990,[6] some rooms of which offer views of the track and a purpose built snooker hall along the back straight with 21 full sized tables.[7] Conference facilities are also provided and managed by the stadium.[8]


Renovations[edit]

Investment in 1970 resulted in the track becoming one of the major provincials in the country and the GRA spent over £750,000 renovating the club house into a four tier restaurant and a new electronic display tote board was built. The track kennels were demolished during the renovation resulting in a contract trainer system.[9]

In 1981 the track changed to an all-sand surface which replaced the former grass straights, an 'Outside McKee Scott' hare and undersoil heating were also installed. Further stadium improvements in 1987 including a large snooker club to the tune of £400,000 and another face lift in 1989 to the tune of £1 million saw an extension to the restaurant and construction of a 48 bedroom hotel called ‘The Lodge’. A new track surface was also installed during this latest investment.[10]

Achievements[edit]

  • 1973 Hall Green lost a closely fought battle with Wembley in the Duke of Edinburgh Cup Grand Final by 64 points to 56.
  • 1974 & 1979 Geoff DeMulder won two English Greyhound Derby triumphs in 1974 & 1979 with Jimsun and Sarahs Bunny respectively.
  • 1992 Kildare Slippy trained by Paddy Hancox set some unbelievable track records. He recorded 28.52 winning a 474-metre hurdle race which was a sensation because it was four spots quicker than the 474 metre flat track record. This incredible run must go down as one of the greatest performances in racing history.

History[edit]

Origins & Opening[edit]

The Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) bought the land that was known as the Olympia Sports Ground in the Birmingham suburb of Hall Green and constructed a greyhound track. Opened on 24 August 1927 it was the first greyhound track to be built in the city.[11] A crowd of 20,000 turned up to experience racing for the first time despite the fact that another Birmingham track Kings Heath Stadium had just opened three months previous. The first race on that Wednesday evening was won by Lock Latham owned by Lady Lock and Mr P.Latham and was over 500 yards in a winning time of 29.66. Appearing that same night was Bonzo who duly won his race and would go on to win the first ever running of the Champion Hurdle race at White City Stadium, London, and this event would soon be called the Grand National.[12]

Early history[edit]

In the late 1920s a 440-yard circumference track was a decent size circuit with long straights and fairly easy turns. Handicaps and an 'Inside Sumner' hare were features of the track and the main distances were 500 and 700 yards. Facilities at the time included the main stand which offered the Hall Green Sports Club and Enclosure Club with stands on the opposite side of the track to accommodate the large patronage. A small annual subscription allowed patron’s admittance to the clubs and it was not long before a restaurant service was introduced. Similar to other larger tracks of the time there was a resting kennel located away from the track and the Hall Green resting kennels were found nearby at Bogay Hall Farm in Solihull.[13] The stadium hosted speedway races between 1928 and 1938.[14]

After the war the track introduced a major event for the first time and it was called the Midland Flat Championship and the centre green was home to the Hall Green Amateurs football team between 1951 until 1965.

Later history[edit]

After the completion of the new facilities in 1970 the stadium recruited one of the country’s finest trainers at the time in Geoffrey DeMulder. In 1973 another trainer Sid Mann retired ending a 43-year association with the GRA, Mann had originally taken out a licence in 1930. Sometime later Racing Manager Jeff Jefcoate joined Northern Sports at Ramsgate Stadium and his assistant Horace Peplow retired after 50 years leaving Sidney Wood the deputy chief Racing Manager for the GRA in charge and he was joined by Simon Harris. As 1984 came to an end the great Scurlogue Champ set two track records, one in December 1984 and another the following year.[15]

In 1993 the British Breeders Forum Produce was switched from Wembley to Hall Green and Simon Harris was replaced by Gary Woodward.[16] The Television Trophy was hosted at the track for the third time in 1997 following the previous staging in 1979 & 1988 and in 1999 the Blue Riband competition was brought to the track following the demise of Wembley with the Grand National switching to sister track Wimbledon Stadium. Under General Manager Stephen Rea two new races were inaugurated by the track, they were the Gymcrack in 2000 and the Prestige in 2003 but the Midland Flat was discontinued, it had been the tracks oldest race.[17]

Impending Closure[edit]

In 2014 the GRA sold Hall Green to Euro Property Investments for £3 million but retain a tenuous lease.[18]

It was revealed on 23 February 2016 that the stadium is to be closed down and demolished in the near future due to a housing planning application made by Euro Property Investments.[19] The planning submission to the local council was originally declined in June 2016;[20][21] but this was subsequently overturned during the following month, and consequently a decision to allow demolition of the stadium has been ratified by the council;[22][23][24][25] and the stadium is due to be demolished following the end of the current lease, sometime in 2018.[26]

Competitions[edit]

Current events held
Former events held

Track records[edit]

[27]

Distance Greyhound Time Date
258m Ballymac Denis 15.12 18.04.2012
259m Fearless Action 15.46 30.11.1985
474m Westmead Chick 28.20 19.11.1994
480m Eye Onthe Storm 28.02 13.04.2010
606m Glideaway Ted 38.78 27.03.1982
645m Palace Issue 39.01 22.09.2000
663m Roseville Jackie 41.37 09.04.1988
670m Fearless Lynx 40.44 02.1995
683m GaisceDubh 41.29 04.10.1991
815m Minnies Siren 52.50 27.04.1988
820m Kilpipe Bib 51.71 24.06.1993
892m Head Iton Jordan 55.24 27.03.2007
480mH Kildare Slippy 28.52 08.04.1992
645mH Go Dutch 40.70 25.02.2003


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Track Search". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  2. ^ https://www.lovethedogs.co.uk/track-selector.aspx
  3. ^ "Hall Green Stadium". Dog Track.com. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Information on the stadium from Betting Kingdom". Archived from the original on 2009-07-21. 
  5. ^ "Birmingham Hall Green". Love the Dogs.co.uk. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Love the Dogs - Hall Green Greyhound Stadium". Choose Your Venue.com. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "(Untitled)". Love the Dogs.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  8. ^ "(untitled)". Find me a Conference.com. Archived from the original on 2010-10-19. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  9. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing, pages 19-21. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1. 
  10. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File, page 97. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5. 
  11. ^ "Chronology of Birmingham". Birmingham.gov.uk. 26 October 1907. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  12. ^ Genders, Roy (1975). The Greyhound and Racing Greyhound, pages 51-52. Page Brothers (Norwich). ISBN 0-85020-0474. 
  13. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing, pages 19-21. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1. 
  14. ^ http://www.defunctspeedway.co.uk/Birmingham%20Hall%20Green.htm
  15. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File, pages 97-101. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5. 
  16. ^ Fry, Paul (1995). The Official NGRC Greyhound Racing Yearbook, pages 209-212. Ringpress Books. ISBN 186054-010-4. 
  17. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2007). Greyhound Annual 2008, page 186. Raceform. ISBN 978-1-905153-53-4. 
  18. ^ http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/fears-birmingham-hall-green-greyhound-6900074
  19. ^ http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/crying-shame-hall-green-stadium-10936461
  20. ^ http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/hall-green-greyhound-racing-stadium-11516058
  21. ^ http://www.peta.org.uk/blog/hall-green-birmingham-unethical-greyhound-stadium/
  22. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-36857621
  23. ^ http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/hall-green-stadium-demolished-after-11646098
  24. ^ https://www.insidermedia.com/insider/midlands/hall-green-stadium-housing-to-go-ahead
  25. ^ http://solihullobserver.co.uk/news/hundreds-jobs-lost-residents-reduced-tears-following-decision-bulldoze-hall-green-stadium/
  26. ^ http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/commercial-property/hall-green-stadium-demolished-after-11646098
  27. ^ "Track records". Greyhound Data. 

External links[edit]