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Top Facts about St Andrew's Stadium, Birmingham City's home

Sun 06 February 2022 | 17:30

Stadiums are where we can root for our beloved teams and this makes them important in our relationship with football. Today we are going to talk about one of these stadiums in our Top Facts about St Andrew's Stadium.

Welcome to Sportmob's Top Facts about St Andrew's Stadium. St Andrew's is a football stadium in Birmingham, England, located in the Bordesley neighborhood. Birmingham City Football Club has called it home for more than a century. For sponsorship purposes, it was named St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium from 2018 until 2021.

The original St Andrew's, which was built and inaugurated in 1906 to replace the Muntz Street pitch, which had become too small for the club's needs, could handle an estimated 75,000 spectators in one grandstand and a wide uncovered terrace.

A 1939 FA Cup tie versus Everton set the attendance record, which was variously listed as 66,844 or 67,341. St Andrew's was bombed during WWII, and the grandstand, which housed a makeshift fire station, burned destroyed in an unintentional fire. The club replaced the stand and installed floodlights in the 1950s, and later built a second modest stand and covered the open terraces with a roof, although there were few other improvements.

The earth deteriorated: during disturbances in the 1980s, a youngster was murdered when a wall collapsed. When the club was bought out of administration in 1993, it embarked on a six-year renovation plan that saw the stadium turned into an all-seater stadium in order to comply with the Taylor Report on sports ground safety, and all portions save the Main Stand was fully reconstructed.

The modern stadium has a seating capacity of 29,409. It contains meeting rooms that may be used for business or social gatherings, as well as a club store that sells Birmingham City products. A 2004 suggestion that the team sell the stadium and relocate to the multi-purpose City of Birmingham Stadium failed. Under the Localism Act 2011, the ground was designated as an Asset of Community Value in 2013. Now let's start the Top Facts about St Andrew's Stadium.

Here we go! Top Facts about St Andrew's Stadium

St Andrew's has hosted England international football matches at all levels below the senior national team, as well as FA Cup semifinals and finals, and other smaller events. For the 2019–20 and 2020–21 seasons, it also served as Coventry City's home ground. It has hosted events in other sports, such as rugby union and professional boxing, as well as music concerts in recent years. Before we start to read the Top Facts about St Andrew's Stadium, we will dig into some quick facts about this stadium.

St Andrew's Stadium Info

  • Full name:

    St Andrew's Stadium

  • Location:

    Bordesley, Birmingham, England

  • Public transit:

    National Rail Bordesley 17, 60, and 97 bus routes

  • Owner:

    Birmingham City Stadium Ltd

  • Capacity:

    29,409

  • Field size:

    100 by 66 meters, 109 yds × 72 yds

  • Surface:

    SISGrass hybrid

St Andrew's Stadium History

Let's start our Top Facts about St Andrew's Stadium with some background and history. Small Heath Alliance,

Birmingham City

Football Club's original name, played their first home games on waste ground off Arthur Street in Birmingham's Bordesley Green neighborhood, very close to the site where St Andrew's would be erected.

In 1876, they relocated to a fenced-in field in Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook, with a capacity of 3,000 spectators; entrance could be charged because the field was enclosed. The team's popularity grew, and they relocated a year later to a rented field in Small Heath, on the eastern outskirts of Birmingham's built-up area, just north of the main road to Coventry.

Muntz Street was a football pitch with four sides of open terracing, a tiny covered wooden stand, and a change room for the players. When it first opened, it could house up to 10,000 people. The terracing was expanded in height over time, increasing the capacity to roughly 30,000 people, although this was insufficient to meet demand.

The official attendance at a match versus local rivals Aston Villa in 1905 was 28,000, but several thousand more climbed walls or pushed their way through turnstiles. The landlords refused to sell the freehold of the land, and they also refused to allow large extensions.

The club's board of directors calculated that staying at Muntz Street was costing them £2,000 per year (£220,000 in today's money), so they began looking for a new location. Ok! now we can talk about its construction in the next part of Sportmob's

Top Facts about St Andrew's Stadium

.

St Andrew's Stadium Construction

Director Harry Morris found a location for a new stadium in Bordesley, about a quarter-mile (1 km) from Muntz Street in the city center. The property, which was previously a brickworks and was bounded by Cattell Road, Coventry Road, Tilton Road, Garrison Lane, and the railway, and located near St Andrew's church, covered an area of 7.5 acres (3 ha).

Despite the fact that Morris described the land as "a wilderness of stagnant water and muddy slopes," the Sporting Mail thought it was "very favorably situated for obtaining easy communication with the city and many of the suburbs, and will be served by an excellent service of electric cars, while the provision of a railway station close at hand is also considered as within the bounds of possibility."

The club leased the site for 21 years and entrusted surveying and engineering to a local carpenter, Harry Pumfrey, who produced plans "that would have done honor to the most costly professional architect" despite his lack of qualifications.

Club director and builder Thomas Turley served as clerk of works, and it is estimated that the club saved over £2,000 in professional expenses by doing the work in-house. Gypsies were ejected from the site before work could begin, according to legend, and a 100-year curse was placed on the club. Although gypsies are known to have slept nearby, there is no contemporary evidence for the club's eviction, and construction began in February 1906.

Before dirt could be poured on top, artesian springs that kept the ground inundated had to be drained and walled off with tons of rubble. To raise the terracing on the Coventry Road side of the pitch, the club offered the site as a tip, with locals paying £800 (£88,000 today) for dumping an estimated 100,000 loads of garbage.

The Spion Kop, which stood 110 terraces high at its highest point and had an estimated capacity of 48,000 spectators paying 6d (£2.75 today), was known from the start as the Spion Kop. On the Garrison Lane side of the ground, the Grandstand was 123 yards (112 m) long.

It had 6,000 seats separated into six sections, with prices ranging from 1s to 2s (£5.50 to £11.00 now), and all entrances were illuminated with electricity. There was enough room in front of the stand for 5,000 people to stand undercover.

Refreshment rooms, changing rooms, a training facility with plunge bath, a billiard room donated by brewery mogul Sir John Holder, and the club's boardroom and offices, which had previously been housed in Birmingham city center, were all located beneath the stadium.

There was room for another 4,000 standing fans behind the goal at the railway end of the pitch, and access to the ground was gained via turnstiles on three sides. The total capacity was anticipated to be 75,000 people, and the building cost was estimated to be £10,000 (£1,100,000 now). The 115 by 75 yard (105 x 69 m) playing area was one of the country's largest, with a four-yard (3.7 m) grassed boundary and a cinder running track surrounding it.

 St Andrew's Stadium Birth and war story

This part is an interesting part of Sportmob's

Top Facts about St Andrew's Stadium

. Early years Sir John Holder officially opened St Andrew's on December 26, 1906, during a First Division match between Birmingham and

Middlesbrough

.

Heavy snowfall had fallen overnight, and hundreds of volunteers, including club board members, labored all morning to clear the surface. The game began one hour late and ended in a scoreless draw in front of 32,000 spectators.

The following day, the Birmingham Daily Post editorial stated that "the fact that so many spectators attended under such adverse conditions augurs well for the step that the directors have taken," and that the directors were "to be congratulated in providing their supporters with a ground second to none in the country."

The FA Cup semifinal between The Wednesday and Woolwich

Arsenal

was held at St Andrew's in 1907; Wednesday triumphed 3–1 and went on to win the championship. Birmingham having lost their first match away from home, hence this was the first FA Cup tie to be played at the stadium.

Before the Second World War, three additional semifinals were held at St Andrew's, in 1911, 1924, and 1934. In 1921, the club purchased the freehold of the ground for less than £7,000 (about £770,000 today). Roofs were added to the Kop and Railway End terraces in the 1930s, and the fifth-round FA Cup tie against

Everton

in February 1939 set a new ground attendance record of 66,844 or 67,341.

The club helped the war effort by permitting the ground to be used as a rifle range for military training during WWI. When the Second World War broke out, the government outlawed all outdoor sports until the dangers could be assessed.

When football resumed a few weeks later, the Chief Constable of Birmingham ordered the ground's closure due to its proximity to air-raid objectives such as the BSA munitions facilities. The issue was discussed in Parliament for the first time in November 1939, but the Home Secretary felt powerless to interfere.

When the Chief Constable yielded to popular pressure in March 1940, when St Andrew's had been the only football venue in England remaining closed for some time, a crowd of 13,241 attended Birmingham's first home game in more than six months.

St Andrew's was bombed 20 times by the Luftwaffe in 1941, destroying the roof of the Kop and severely damaging the Railway End, forcing the team to relocate. As a result, it was an unexpected choice of location for a wartime international match between England and Wales; fans were compelled to purchase tickets in advance, and attendance was limited to 25,000.

When a fireman mistook a bucket of petrol for water when attempting to dampen a brazier, the Main Stand, which was being used as a temporary National Fire Service station, burned down, destroying the club's records and equipment – "not so much as a lead pencil was saved from the wreckage"– three months later. In 1943, the team returned to earth.

Stepping into future

The substitute The Main Stand, which was constructed in the early 1950s, had a supported cantilever roof, which meant there were fewer pillars blocking spectators' view of the pitch. In October 1956, floodlights were erected and turned on for a friendly match versus Borussia Dortmund.

By the early 1960s, the Railway End had a stand built to the same design as the Main Stand, the Kop got a new roof, and the Tilton Road end had been covered for the first time. In honor of Birmingham and England star Jeff Hall, who died of polio during the 1958–59 season, a scoreboard and clock were constructed at the City end of the stadium.

In the 1970s, the Asda supermarket chain intended to share the cost of a new stand as part of a store development on land behind the Kop that had been left vacant by slum clearance; however, the project fell through due to resistance from commercial rivals.

The final home game of the 1984–85 promotion season, against Leeds United, was marred by rioting, which culminated in the death of a boy when a wall collapsed on him; this occurred on the same day as the Bradford City stadium fire, and the events at St Andrew's were included in the Popplewell inquiry into sports ground safety.

The capacity of St Andrew's was reduced to 26,000 as a result of this and the subsequent Taylor Report, however, it was acknowledged that the stadium needed to be brought up to modern standards.

 David Gold, the club's chairman, recalls his first visit in March 1993: It was a rude awakening. I had a mental image of what I was expecting, but it was in such disarray that it was difficult to fathom... Only two-thirds of the bulbs on the floodlights were operating, and the Football League threatened to take action if we didn't fix the problem.

It was pouring outside. It was a depressing match. It was pitch black. It was tedious. There were folks standing in the rain who appeared to be quite uneasy and sad. This First Division team was bankrupt and on the verge of extinction. The pitch was surrounded by corrugated-iron fencing and looked as if it hadn't been painted since Birmingham reached the FA Cup Final in 1956.

Despite the fact that the club's relegation to the Third Division meant it was no longer constrained by the Taylor Report's 1994 deadline for all-seater conversion, new owner David Sullivan proceeded with the £4.5 million projects as planned.

The Kop and Tilton Road terraces were demolished after the final home game of the 1993–94 season, with the help of fans who took home a significant portion as souvenirs, the land was cleared – the rubbish tip beneath the Kop, which had earned the club £800 in 1906 (£43,300 in 1994 prices) cost £250,000 to decontaminate – and 7,000 seats in the Tilton Road Stand were ready for use by the start of the new season.

Following the completion of the Kop Stand, the stadium was formally re-opened in November 1994 by Baroness Trumpington, representing the Department of National Heritage, who unveiled a commemorative plaque and presented the Football Trust with a cheque for £2.5 million; the ceremony was followed by a friendly match against Aston Villa, which drew a crowd of 20,000.

Planning clearance for an all-seater Railway Stand was obtained in March 1995, but construction was delayed due to a disagreement over Railtrack-owned land, and the stand did not open until 1999.

 St Andrew's Stadium Other uses

At St Andrew's, teams representing England have competed in international matches, although not at the senior level. In front of approximately 40,000 spectators, England B defeated Scotland B under floodlights in 1957.

England's

junior teams have visited on multiple occasions, at under-23, under-21, and youth levels — the 4–0 defeat to Spain in 2001 was the under-21 team's worst home defeat – A Scottish Football League XI trounced their English counterparts, including Birmingham players Frank Womack and Billy Morgan, 3–1 at St Andrew's before competitive football returned following the First World War.

Since 2009, St Andrew's has hosted four FA Cup semifinals, as well as five semifinal replays, the most recent of which was in 1961. It hosted the FA Vase finals in 2004 and 2006, as well as the 1987 play-off final replay, in which Charlton Athletic beat Leeds United to stay in the Football League First Division.

Other sports have also been played on the field. Until the 1920s, the Heath Harriers athletic club, which had its headquarters at the Muntz Street ground, trained at St Andrew's. On a muddy St Andrew's pitch in front of a 17,000-strong crowd, the 1960 South African touring rugby union team defeated a Midland Counties XV by 16 points to 5

. Dick Turpin retained his British and Empire middleweight boxing title by defeating Albert Finch on points in 1949; Turpin's brothers Jack and future world champion Randolph competed on the undercard. In 1965, Henry Cooper overcame Johnny Prescott at St Andrew's to defend his British and Empire heavyweight titles; the fight was postponed at the last minute due to rain, prompting controversy about the viability of outdoor boxing promotions in light of the unpredictable British weather.

The rally sequence in Peter Watkins' 1967 film Privilege was filmed at St Andrew's. It has held a number of music performances, including UB40 in 1989 with support from The Pogues, Duran Duran in .2005, and Party in the Park in 2002 with Westlife and Sugababes, among others. Thanks for reading our

Top Facts about St Andrew's Stadium

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source: SportMob

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