Tue 15 February 2022 | 20:29

Top facts about Home Park, Plymouth Argyle's home

Today we are going to read about history, fun facts and so much more in Sportmob's Top facts about Home Park.

Welcome to our

Top facts about Home Park

! Plymouth's Home Park is a football stadium in the English city of Plymouth. Since 1901, the ground has served as the home of Football League One club Plymouth Argyle. Following significant expansion in the 1920s and 1930s, the ground was severely damaged during World War II.

It reopened in time for the Football League's return in 1945, and received significant renovations in the 1950s, including floodlights and a new double-decker grandstand. Until 2001, when three new all-seater stands were built, the ground remained substantially untouched. The stadium became an all-seater in the summer of 2007 after additional work was completed in 2002.

The record attendance at the stadium was 43,596 for a Second Division match between the club and

Aston Villa

in 1936. The 1946–47 season set a new record for single-season attendance with 23,290. The stadium was chosen by the FA in December 2009 as part of England's bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The stadium has hosted England youth international matches as well as a 1977 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup match between Saint-Étienne and

Manchester United.

Home Park has also held rugby union and athletics, as well as live music in the summer, with acts such as Elton John, George Michael, and Rod Stewart performing there. That's not all though! So, without further ado, let's dive into Sportmob's Top facts about Home Park!

Here we start! Top facts about Home Park

Before we start the real story and discover every interesting fact, we will read some quick facts about the stadium and learn the basic information needed to start the Top facts about Home Park, Plymouth Argyle's home.

  • Location:

    Plymouth, PL2 3DQ Devon, England

  • Owner:

    Plymouth Argyle

  • Operator:

    Plymouth Argyle

  • Capacity:


  • Record attendance:


  • Field size:

    105 x 70 m, 114 x 78 yds

  • Surface:

    Fibroelastic Rootzone

  • Scoreboard:


  • Built:


  • Opened:


  • Renovated:

    2001 & 2019

  • Construction cost:

    £11m 2001 & £10m 2019

  • Architect:

    Barr Construction (2001) & GL Events (2019)

Home Park History

Let's start the Top facts about Home Park with a little bit of history! From 1893 to 1894, Home Park was home to the now-defunct Devonport Albion rugby side. Albion left after a rent disagreement with the ground's proprietors, and the newly established Plymouth Rugby moved in, eventually leaving in 1899.

The ground, formerly an oval-shaped bowl and cinder track bordered by allotments and farms, was leased to the Argyle Athletic Club in 1901. On Whit Monday in 1901, the new owners held their inaugural event, an athletics meeting; however, leaseholder Clarence Spooner wanted it to host football.

Spooner decided to focus on founding the first professional football team in Devon after a series of successful trial matches with Argyle Football Club that drew large crowds. The club was founded in 1886 and changed its name to Plymouth Argyle in 1903, the same year it became professional.

On September 5, 1903, in front of a crowd of 4,438 people, Home Park hosted its first competitive encounter, against

Northampton Town

. The stadium had one wooden grandstand that could seat 2,000 people at the time, while the other three sides were bordered by slag heap banking and a waist-high fence. When Argyle entered the Football League in 1920, they had to make a number of changes to meet the league's safety regulations.

At a cost of £12,000, the wooden grandstand was removed and replaced with a considerably larger and more modern building, while concrete terracing with crush barriers was installed along the other three sides of the ground.

To offer shelter for supporters utilizing that terrace, a pitched roof was installed along the main entrance at the Devonport End of the ground. Players' locker rooms and club offices were included in the new grandstand.

The official supporters club funded the construction of many of these amenities. By the 1930s, the stadium was frequently holding crowds of over 20,000, and on October 10, 1936, a new attendance record was achieved. A crowd of 43,596 turned out to watch the club draw 2–2 with Aston Villa in the Football League Second Division. The stadium hosted Second Division football until the onset of World War II in 1939; a story we are going to tell in next part of Sportmob's 

Top facts about Home Park.

Home Park The scars of war

HMNB Devonport was the largest naval facility in Western Europe during WWII, and the city of Plymouth was heavily damaged as a result of its strength as a military base. It was improbable that the ground would escape undamaged because it was so close to the city center and Plymouth Sound.

The Football League folded three games into the 1939–40 season, although Home Park hosted matches in the hastily organized South West Regional League until summer 1940. The Plymouth Blitz, which took place in April 1941, was a series of Luftwaffe bombing strikes on the city; Home Park was not spared.

After repeated hits, the Grandstand was nearly demolished, and the pitch was filled with impact craters, leaving the club with a large repair project when the war ended in 1945. To be ready for the return of a regionalized Football League in 1945, several extreme steps were required.

Disused army huts served as locker rooms, while buses and trams served as offices and railway sleepers served as terracing. The Football League was remained divided into North and South divisions, as it had been four years before to allow the League to continue while reducing team travel during the war.

It only had one full season, in 1945–46. Records from this period are rarely found in official records. On August 31, 1946, Plymouth Argyle played their first official match at the facility in six years. A 3–1 victory over

West Ham United

in the Second Division drew 25,659 spectators.

In 1952, a new double-decker Grandstand was built, one of the last to be based on the template popularized by successful football stadium architect Archibald Leitch throughout the 1920s and 1930s, with floodlights introduced in October 1953.

The Mayflower Terrace, which ran the length of the pitch, had standing room in the first tier and wooden seating in the second. Three-quarters of the ground was covered when a roof was installed on the Lyndhurst side in 1964, with all but the second tier of the Grandstand having standing room.

Seats were erected to the back of the Mayflower Terrace in the 1969–70 season, bringing the seating capacity to 4,100 and the overall capacity to 40,000. The sloped roof at the Devonport End of the ground had to be demolished for safety reasons in the late 1970s. In 1984, it was replaced with a non-pitched building, leaving only the Barn Park End exposed.

With the exception of the Lyndhurst Stand becoming an all-seater in the 1990s, the ground remains largely untouched. When the club announced intentions to relocate to a new location in Central Park in 1996, however, its future seemed uncertain.

The Alfred McAlpine-designed Plymouth Stadium would have held 25,000 people and included communal sports and recreation amenities. These ideas were quickly canceled in favor of a Home Park makeover. Finally, the stadium was born again! So, let's dive into its rebirth story in the next part of the Top facts about Home Park.

Home Park Rebirth

In 2000, a new concept based on the comprehensive reconstruction of the current ground was announced, with a cost estimate of £9 million at the time. The stadium would be reconstructed in two phases, with the Devonport End, Lyndhurst Stand, and Barn Park End being completely redeveloped in the first.

The Mayflower Grandstand would be replaced by a new three-tiered building in the second phase, resulting in an 18,500-seater bowl. In June 2001, the club and Plymouth City Council reached an agreement on a new long-term lease for the stadium. Barr Construction, a construction company, took over the site two months later.

Before the first phase was completed in February 2002, spectators watched the club's matches from one touchline throughout the first six months of the 2001–2002 season. On April 20, 2002, one of the largest crowds since the refurbishment occurred when 18,517 fans witnessed Plymouth Argyle beat Cheltenham Town 2–0 in Division Three, shortly after gaining promotion as champions of that division.

A record that was broken in 2004, and then again in 2007. In the 2004–05 season of the Championship, the first season after it was rebranded from its previous moniker of Division One, Home Park received its highest average league attendance since the early 1960s. Despite this, there would be no start date for the second phase of reconstruction. The failure to complete the project was the biggest disappointment of Paul Stapleton's tenure as chairman of Plymouth Argyle.

The new purchase of Home Park

In December 2006, the club paid £2.7 million to Plymouth City Council for the freehold of the stadium, making them the sole owners. Work on a new Grandstand was expected to begin the following year. It drew its largest audience since the refurbishment in March 2007, when 20,652 people watched Argyle face Watford in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

The club was obliged to convert the Mayflower Terrace into seating by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that summer, and the stadium became all-seated. Following the Hillsborough catastrophe in 1989, laws were enacted, as recommended by the Taylor report, mandating that all stadiums in England's top two divisions be all-seated unless there are exceptional circumstances. After winning the promotion back to the Football League Championship in 2004, the club was awarded three years' grace.

Just over a week later, the club unveiled three significant summer initiatives, which were implemented over the next month. The Mayflower Terrace was replaced by 3,500 seats of temporary, unreserved seating.

A new state-of-the-art public speaker system was built, and the famous floodlight towers were demolished after 54 years of service and replaced with a new system. As a result of these alterations, the ground's capacity was lowered by almost two thousand people to 19,500.

Home Park 2018-2019 redevelopment

The Mayflower Grandstand, which included the ancient terrace, was the club's biggest stand, with seating for around 7,000 fans. It was built in 1952 and is the oldest component of the ground. The club's main offices, boardroom, team changing facilities, and press rooms are all located here, as well as executive boxes. The player tunnel, which runs beneath the Mayflower and up to the changing facilities, is somewhat off center.

For some years, there had been plans to replace this stand. The Mayflower Grandstand was approved for demolition and reconstruction in 2013, but the plans were never carried through. In 2018, the club's Head of Operations, Jonathan Back, a retired police Chief Inspector and lifetime Plymouth Argyle fan, won approval for a new set of plans, and work on the Grandstand and the surrounding area began.

The major redevelopment would comprise removing the outdated wooden chairs in the top tier, installing new seats on the terrace, and repairing the roof. In the corner of the Grandstand and the Barn Park End, there would be a new changing room block and a new tunnel for players on the East side of the ground.

Following that, the Grandstand was closed to spectators for the entire 2018-19 season, substantially limiting Home Park's capacity. Two different structures used to exist on either side of the stand; to the east was the Chisholm Lounge, which served as a hospitality room, a press space, and was home to the Argyle disc jockey until it was demolished in August 2018.

The 'Far Post Club,' which was located behind the Chisholm Lounge, was a supporters' pub. This was dismantled to make way for a new supporter's bar, which will be funded by the fan group 'The Green Tavernier's.' A disabled enclosure was built to the west of the Grandstand, but it was removed to make space for additional facilities, this time for a new club shop.

Marcus Rees, a graphic design student at Plymouth College of Art, and local business Eagle Signs revamped the club store façade in October 2019. The signage was created to "give tribute to the original design, which was constructed out of bronze," according to Rees.

Other uses of Home Park

At various levels, the stadium has also hosted matches involving the England national team. The England Amateur squad played four matches against foreign national teams, winning 9–1 and 2–0 against their Welsh counterparts in 1914 and 1925, 4–0 against


in 1972, and 3–0 against Finland in 1973.

The Amateurs also played Plymouth Argyle on November 13, 1972, and won 2–1 in front of an attendance of 830. In 1954, an FA Amateur XI defeated a South Western Football League XI 7–3. In the 1960s and 1970s, Home Park hosted three England Under-23 matches.

In 1962, they won 6–1 against Belgium, 4–1 against


in 1970, and drew 0–0 with Poland in 1973. More than 11,000 spectators watched the England U-20s beat the USA U-20s 2-1 in a friendly match in March 2015. Exeter City defeated Torquay United 1–0 in the final of the Football League Third Division South Cup in 1933–34.

In 1966, the ground hosted a match between Football League and Irish Football League representative teams. The Football League, which included seven players of the 1966 FIFA World Cup-winning squad, won 12–0 in front of a crowd of 35,458.

Manchester United's European Cup Winners' Cup first-round second leg encounter against AS Saint-Etienne of France was played at Home Park on October 5, 1977. United won the game 2–0 on the road and 3–1 on the road.

United had played their "home" tie at Home Park despite being based nearly 300 miles away at Old Trafford in Manchester, as UEFA had ordered them to play at least 120 miles from Old Trafford due to hooliganism incidents at the first leg in France, for which they had been initially expelled from the competition and only readmitted on appeal.

Home Park has been utilized for a variety of reasons aside from football. The location was used for rugby union matches before Argyle moved in, and it also hosted an athletics meet in the early twentieth century.

South Africa

defeated the South West Counties 17–8 in 1951, bringing rugby back to the country.

Because of a long-standing leasing agreement with the City Council, Plymouth Argyle was constrained in what it could accomplish with the stadium throughout the 1900s. That changed in 2006 when the club paid £2.7 million to acquire the freehold of the stadium.

Soon after, the club announced that beginning in 2007, it would have live music throughout the summer months, with Elton John being the first act to appear. Other prominent acts such as George Michael, Meat Loaf, Westlife, and Rod Stewart have followed suit.

In conjunction with the Plymouth branch of Christian organization Faith and Football, the stadium also conducts an annual free-admission carol service in December to commemorate Christmas. The Westlife "Stadiums in the Summer Tour" was supposed to return to the stadium on July 4, 2020, however, it was canceled because of the COVID-19 epidemic.

The ground was utilized to screen England's World Cup semi-final defeat to


at no cost to spectators in July 2018, thanks to the help of Plymouth City Council. During the COVID-19 epidemic, the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust was given parts of the Mayflower Grandstand, as well as the players' changing facilities, to offer routine prenatal and phlebotomy services, in an attempt to reduce the load on Derriford Hospital and local GP surgeries. "With personnel working from home and no football in the near future, we believe it is our civic obligation to offer up Home Park for the benefit of the NHS," said club CEO Andrew Parkinson.

The World Cup Bid

The team announced plans to completely renovate the stadium and regenerate the surrounding region in August 2009. The club announced that the city of Plymouth would make a proposal to the Football Association (FA) to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup bid for England.

The eye-catching plans were made public on the 14th of December 2009, just two days before the FA announced which applicants they had chosen for the bid. At a cost of at least £50 million, Populous' ideas include converting the stadium into a 46,000-seat all-seater area with a 5,000-seat indoor facility and hotel constructed into the complex.

The construction would be completed in three parts. Regardless of the winning offer, the first phase, a new Mayflower Stand, will be built, bringing the total capacity to 27,000. Should Plymouth's proposal and England's bid be successful, the Second Phase, consisting of an additional 8,000 seats, and the Third Phase, consisting of an additional 11,000 seats, would be finished by the 2014–15 season, giving the stadium a total capacity of 46,000 all-seated.

"If one were to rank Britain's'sleeping giants' in terms of self-destruction, Cardiff may be at the top, but Plymouth, obviously, has the ground location that most teams would kill for." According to Simon Inglis.

In November 2009, the city presented its candidacy at Wembley Stadium, with the support of various businesses and sporting groups from Devon and Cornwall. The city's rugby union and basketball clubs, Plymouth Albion and Plymouth Raiders, as well as local football clubs Exeter City and Torquay United, were among them.

On December 16, 2009, Plymouth was chosen as part of


bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, along with 11 other cities.

Paul Stapleton, director of Plymouth Argyle, described himself as "overwhelmed," adding that clearing the first hurdle "gives our fans hope that we can do things," while bids chairman Douglas Fletcher hailed the bid as "for the people of Devon and Cornwall." A day later, the club said that the stadium may be renamed for sponsorship purposes as part of the project's finance, which will commence in the summer of 2010.

However, on December 2, 2010, England's World Cup candidacy was rejected in favor of Russia. Following the failure of the World Cup bid, the consortium that had assumed control of the club in 2009 swiftly lost interest, as property speculation was no longer an option, and the club went into administration a few months later. Thanks for reading Sportmob's

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