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|Full name||Withdean Stadium|
|Field size||110 x 75 yards|
|Brighton & Hove Athletics Club|
Brighton & Hove Albion (1999–2011)
Brighton Electricity (2014–)
AFC Varndeanians (2015–)
Withdean Stadium is an athletics stadium in Withdean, a suburb of Brighton. It was constructed in 1930. It was the home track of Olympic athlete Steve Ovett. Between 1999 and 2011 it was the home ground of football team Brighton & Hove Albion F.C..
Use by Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.
The capacity of the ground was 8,850 people, all seated. Primarily a local athletics track, the stadium provided a temporary home for Brighton whilst a new stadium was built in nearby Falmer. The club's original stadium, the Goldstone Ground, had been sold for commercial redevelopment in 1997. This resulted in the team playing their home matches for two seasons at Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium, over 70 miles (110 km) from Brighton, before moving to Withdean Stadium. The only other local option for Albion had been to play at Sussex CCC's County Cricket Ground, Hove.
Withdean Stadium was voted the fourth worst football stadium in the UK by The Observer in 2004. The temporary nature of the stadium was obvious - the stadium was primarily used for athletics; there was a single permanent stand along the north side, while the other stands were assembled from scaffolding, some of which also served as temporary seating at the Open Championship golf tournament. The largest was the South Stand, running the entire length of the pitch. The east end of the pitch contained two medium-sized and one small stand. One of the larger stands here was designated as the family stand. The West Stand was the designated away stand. Changing and hospitality facilities were provided with portable cabins placed haphazardly around the site, and there was very limited on-site car parking.
There was considerable opposition in the local neighbourhood to allowing the football club to use the stadium. After some unique concessions were made, the club was allowed to move into Withdean in 1999. Amplified music was banned during football matches (except for the traditional "Sussex by the Sea"), and matchday parking restrictions were imposed within a one-mile radius of the ground. After a year, the music restrictions were eased, but the parking limitations continued in force. The price of each match ticket also included a public transport voucher allowing free bus or rail travel throughout the Brighton and Hove area on match day.
For Albion's match against Sheffield United on 2 October 2004 the stadium was temporarily renamed Palookaville as it hosted the launch party for Fatboy Slim's album of the same name. The album was released on Skint Records, then the club's shirt sponsor, and for that match the team wore shirts bearing the name Palookaville instead of Skint. The name Palookaville was also considered humorously appropriate by fans because it reflected the inadequacy of the club's temporary home.
The stadium was managed and maintained under contract from Brighton and Hove city council by D C Leisure Management. The staff responsible for the preparation and maintenance of the stadium on match days used to be employed and managed by D C Leisure (when the company was called Ecovert Management Limited) until the 2003–2004 football season when responsibility of match day stadium staff was handed over to Brighton and Hove Albion F.C..
The staff responsible for the leisure facilities of the stadium complex including the gym, squash and tennis courts, spa and the stadium on non-match days are still employed and managed by D C Leisure.
- "Simply the worst" Archived 30 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Gemma Clarke, The Observer, 10 October 2004
- "Fatboy calls the tune". The Argus. Archived from the original on 9 March 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- "Police praise Albion fans after last game at Withdean". The Argus. Archived from the original on 9 March 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
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