Hillsborough Stadium

Hillsborough Stadium

infobox stadium
stadium_name = Hillsborough

fullname = Hillsborough Stadium
location = Owlerton, Sheffield, England
broke_ground = Spring 1899
opened = 2 September 1899
owner = Sheffield Wednesday F.C. Ltd
surface = Grass
former_names = Owlerton Stadium (until 1914)
tenants = Sheffield Wednesday F.C.
seating_capacity = 39,814 (all seated)
dimensions = 116 x 71 yards (pitch)
(approx 106 x 65 m)

Hillsborough Stadium is the home of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club in Sheffield, England. Football has been played at the ground since it was opened on 2 September 1899, when Wednesday moved from their original ground at Olive Grove. Today it is a 39,814 capacity all-seater stadium,cite web|title=Hillsborough – About The Stadium|url=http://www.swfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Hillsborough/0,,10304~1024984,00.html|publisher=SWFC.co.uk|accessdate=2006-09-12] making it the largest stadium in the city. The vast majority of the seats are covered. It is located in the Sheffield suburb of Owlerton, but takes its name from the parliamentary constituency in which it lies.

On 15 April 1989, the ground was the scene of one of the worst sporting tragedies of all time when 94 Liverpool fans were crushed to death in an FA Cup semi-final in the infamous Hillsborough disaster. The final death toll was 96. This prompted a series of improvements to safety at the ground.

Although the ground has received little investment since Euro 1996, it is still regarded as "a beautiful ground oozing character." [ [http://www.footballgroundguide.co.uk/ Internet Football Ground Guide] ] It has two large separate two tiered stands and two large single tiered stands, all of which are covered. All four stands are of a similar size in terms of capacity, but with the South stand being the largest and the West stand (used for away fans) the smallest. Only one corner of the ground is filled, between the West and North Stands. This area, known as the North West terrace, is uncovered and is only used for visiting supporters when the West stand upper and lower tiers are full. On the other corner of the West stand is an electronic scoreboard.


During the 1898-99 season Sheffield Wednesday were told that the land rented at Olive Grove would be needed for railway expansions.cite book|first=Keith|last=Farnsworth|title=Wednesday!|publisher=Sheffield City Libraries|date=1983|id=ISBN 0-900660-87-2] They were allowed to remain there for the rest of that season but had to find a new ground for the next season. Several locations were considered but fell through for various reasons. An alternative was offered by the Midland Railway Company but it did not meet the requirements of the club.

Finally James Willis Dixon of Hillsborough House, owner of the Silversmiths James Dixon & Sons, offered a 10 acre site at Owlerton, a sparsely populated area of land to the northwest of the city. The land was part of the Hillsborough House estate which was being sold off by the Dixon's. It was successfully bought for £5,000 GBP plus costs. Rubbish was dumped at both ends of the ground to level out the ground which was initially meadowland covered with dandelions. The 2,000 capacity stand at Olive Ground was then transported to the new site and was joined by a newly constructed 3,000 capacity stand for the start of the next season.cite book|last=Young|first=Percy|title=Football in Sheffield|publisher=S. Paul|date=1962] The first match to be played was on 2 September 1899 against Chesterfield. The match was kicked off by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield William Clegg, himself a former Wednesday player. It was a Chesterfield player, Herbert Munday, who scored the first goal at the new stadium but Wednesday came back to win the game 5-1. Despite the location of the ground several miles outside the city boundaries and a poor public transport service the new ground averaged 3,000 supporters for the first three months..cite book|last=Pybus|first=Sylvia|title=Old Ordnance Survey Maps, Sheffield (Hillsborough) 1902 (Notes)|publisher=Ordnance Survey|date=1905|id=ISBN 1-84151-939-1]

Early years

The ground was known as the "Owlerton Stadium" until 1914, when it was renamed "Hillsborough" to coincide with a series of ground improvements. The ground took its new name from the newly created parliamentary constituency.cite web|title=Hillsborough – About The Stadium|url=http://www.swfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Hillsborough/0,,10304~1024984,00.html|publisher=SWFC.co.uk|accessdate=2006-09-12] The ground proved to be lucky for Wednesday with the first 8 years proving to be their most successful so far. They included their first league wins in the 1902-03 and
1903-04. This was followed by a second FA Cup in 1907.

The first FA Cup semi-final to be held at the stadium was a replay between West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers on 3 April 1912.cite book|first=Keith|last=Farnsworth|title=Sheffield Football A History:Volume 1 1857-1861|publisher=Hallamshire Press|date=1995|id=ISBN 1-874718-13-X] A crowd of 20,050 saw an extra time goal give West Brom the win. This was followed by its first international on 10 April 1920. [cite book|last=Farnsworth|first=Keith|year=1982|title=Wednesday!|publisher=Sheffield City Libraries|pages=280|isbn=0 900660 87 2] A match between England and Scotland was watched by 25,536. The game ended with England winning 5-4. The following two seasons saw Hillsborough host two more FA Cup semi-finals, both between Preston North End and Tottenham Hotspur. [cite book|last=Farnsworth|first=Keith|year=1982|title=Wednesday!|publisher=Sheffield City Libraries|pages=282|isbn=0 900660 87 2] The crowds for these matches were 43,320 and 49,282 respectively. The highest ever attendance was 72,841 on February 17 1934 for an FA Cup 5th round game against Manchester City.

After the end of the 1912-13 season a record profit was announced by the club.cite book|last=Farnsworth|first=Keith|year=1982|title=Wednesday!|publisher=Sheffield City Libraries|pages=85-87|isbn=0 900660 87 2] The money was invested in a replacement for the Olive Grove stand on the south side of the stadium. The banking on the Spion Kop was also increased in size. The new south stand was completed in time for the first round of the FA Cup on 1 October 1913 against Notts County. It cost £18,000 and included 5,600 seats plus terracing at the front. New offices, dressing rooms, refreshment rooms and a billiard room were also part of the new stand. The second round tie went to a replay on 4 February 1914, which was held in front of a record home crowd of 43,000. However the match was remembered for the collapse of the new retaining wall at the Penistone Road end. It caused 70 injuries and caused the match to be suspended while the casualties were taken to the infirmary.

Post war

During the post war era Hillsborough rose to be one of the top stadiums in the country. It hosted a total of 27 FA Cup semi-finals. In 1966, the stadium was selected as one of the venues for the Football World Cup, hosting first round matches involving West Germany, Argentina, Switzerland, and Spain, as well as a quarterfinal in which West Germany beat Uruguay 4-0.

Demolition of the North Stand began in 1960 and work began on a new £150,000 stand. [cite book|last=Farnsworth|first=Keith|year=1982|title=Wednesday!|publisher=Sheffield City Libraries|pages=203-204, 211|isbn=0 900660 87 2] The new stand, designed by local firm Husband & Co, was convert|360|ft|m in length. It was only the second stand in the country, after one at Scunthorpe United's Old Showground, to be build with a cantilever roof and the first to run the full length of the pitch.cite web|title=The 'My Sheffield Jobs' North Stand|url=http://www.swfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Hillsborough/0,,10304~1032659,00.html|publisher=FL Interactive|accessdate=2008-02-14] It was opened on 23 August 1961 by Stanley Rous, secretary of the Football Association. The 10,008 capacity all-seater stand almost doubled the seating capacity of Hillsborough from 9,000 to 16,000.

The ground held its first national cup final in 1977 when it played host to Everton and Aston Villa for a Football League Cup final replay. A crowd of 52,135 watched a 1-1 draw leading to another replay. At the end of the 1980s the ground held three successive FA Cup semis ending with the tragic events that changed the nature of football grounds throughout the country.

Hillsborough disaster

On 15 April 1989, the ground was the scene of one of the worst sporting tragedies of all time when 94 Liverpool fans were crushed to death in an FA Cup semi-final in the infamous Hillsborough disaster. The final death toll was 96.

This prompted a series of improvements to safety at the ground; the terraced stands were converted to all seated accommodation over the following four years, and the fences around the pitch were replaced with low safety-barricades to allow incursion onto the playing surface in case of emergency.

Outside the ground, near the main entrance on Parkside Road, is a memorial to the 96 fans that lost their lives at Hillsborough in 1989, during the FA Cup Semi Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

All-seater era

In 1996, Hillsborough was host to several fixtures at the Euro 96 competition and in particular was host to the Danish squad. The Danish fans endeared themselves to the local population with their fanatical support and exemplary behaviour, and were particularly popular amongst local landlords - a number of Sheffield public houses had to order emergency supplies of beer and cigarettes

In 1997 Hillsborough hosted its first major domestic match since the disaster. The League Cup final replay between Leicester City and Middlesbrough was played at the ground. It was won by Leicester by one goal to nil. Later the same year Middlesbrough returned to Hillsborough for an FA Cup semi-final replay in which they beat Chesterfield by three goals to nil.

The record attendance since the ground was made all-seated was on February 2 2000 in a Premier League game against Manchester United and was watched by 39,640 fans. In recent years average attendances at Hillsborough have remained high despite Wednesday's relatively poor league position:

*2006-07: 23,638 (Football League Championship)
*2005-06: 24,853 (Football League Championship)
*2004-05: 23,100 (Football League One)
*2003-04: 22,336 (Division Two)

The 25 June 2007 Floods

On 25 June 2007, the River Don burst its bank during a period of severe weather in the area, and the whole ground was flooded with several feet of water. The changing rooms, restaurants and kitchens and boardroom were all flooded, as well as the ticket office and superstore; many local houses were also affected.


North Stand

Constructed: 1899-1903

Capacity: 9,255 (seated)

Sponsored by www.MySheffieldJobs.co.ukcite web|title='My Sheffield Jobs: My Sheffield Jobs sponsors Sheffield Wednesday FC|url=http://www.mysheffieldjobs.co.uk/Pages/sheffield-wednesday-jobs|accessdate=2007-04-12]

The original North Stand was built between 1899 and 1903. In the early sixties this was replaced by the current North Stand which runs along the long north edge of the pitch, and was the second football stand in Britain to have a cantilever roof (thus amongst some fans, it is known as "the cantilever"). It was however the first in the country to run the entire length of the pitch; the first cantilever stand in English football at Scunthorpe United's Old Show Ground only covered the centre of the pitch. When opened, the stand held 10,000 but the capacity has been reduced more recently to make room for disabled spectators and also to widen the exit aisles for safety reasons. The stand was part funded by the issue of £100 preference shares in 1961, 'debentures' paying 6.25% interest over a 30 year period. Hillsborough is the only football ground to be mentioned in Nikolaus Pevsner's Buildings of England due to this stand.

At the time of opening the stand was the best new stand to be built since Arsenal's East Stand at Highbury in the thirties.

:"There is not a misplaced line in this remarkable stand. From any angle (it) is quite breathtaking. It is like an architect’s model of the dream stand of the future, a space age stand." Simon Inglis [Inglis, Simon. (1996). The Football Grounds of Britain. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-218426-5]

West Stand

Constructed: "c." 1900

Capacity: 7,995 (seated)

Sponsored by Carlsberg Lager

Situated at the Leppings Lane end of the ground, the West Stand seats the away supporters on Wednesday home games.

The original stand built at the turn of the century was a covered terrace housing up to 3,000 fans. In the 1920s this was joined by the North West terrace before the Leppings Lane stand was replaced by a 12,000 capacity partially covered terrace.Before the 1966 World Cup the West Stand was demolished again and replaced by a two-tiered structure with 4,471 seats in the upper tier and retaining a in front of the stand. After the infamous Hillsborough disaster in 1989 the lower tier terrace was closed for two years and replaced by 2,294 seats. The North West terrace was the last section of the stand to be made all seated, adding another 1,382 seats to the structure.

North West Terrace

Constructed: "c." 1920

Affectionately known to some supporters as the 'Crows Nest', The North West terrace (still referred to as a terrace despite now being all seated) is the only section of the stadium to remain uncovered.

The original North-West terrace was built on the 1920s to adjoin both the North stand and Leppings Lane stand, but was demolished and replaced in 1967, following the 1966 World Cup.

It is not currently in use, as the terrace failed to gain a safety certificate for the 2007-08 season,Fact|date=July 2008 although in recent years it had only been used as overspill for away fans when both the upper and lower tiers of the West Stand have been filled. Whilst not being used for seating, the terrace has recently been used as extra advertising space, with advertising boards on the back wall, and more recently a large 'My Sheffield Jobs' seat covering appearing alongside their sponsorship of the North Stand.

South Stand

Constructed: 1913-1914

Capacity: 11,354 (seated)

Sponsored by L&D Interiors. (Until 2010). [http://www.swfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/0,,10304~1346176,00.html Sheffield Wednesday official site.] Names L&D Interiors as south stand sponsors until 2010..]

The first South Stand was originally constructed at Olive Grove, but moved with the club in the summer of 1899 to the new site at Owlerton where it was reconstructed brick-by-brick.

The modern stand, the oldest remaining stand at the ground, was constructed in 1913 for a fee exceeding £17,000 to a design by Archibald Leitch. The stand had 5,600 seats as well as room for 11,000 standing fans. The modern stand has seen a series of improvements, the first being a conversion to an all-seated stand in 1965 ahead of the 1966 FIFA World Cup and latest being a major £7m re-development for the Euro 1996 international competition when an upper tier of 3,000 extra seats, a new roof, 30 executive boxes, two conference suites, a bar, a restaurant and a range of office space were added.

The South Stand is the most recognisable of the four stands and still bears the original clock face and finial from the 1913 design, although the remainder of the stand is unrecognisable from Leitch's original. It houses the main reception, media and hospitality boxes, as well as the ground's family enclosure, five modern refreshment kiosks and four bars. It also features concourse television sets relaying live coverage of the match as well as highlights at half-time.

Spion Kop

Constructed: 1914

Capacity: 11,210 (seated)

Sponsored by ASD Lighting

Named after a hill that was the scene of a famous battle in the Second Boer War, the Spion Kop is built into a natural hill at the east end of the ground and houses the most vocal of Wednesday supporters. It is usually simply referred to by fans as The Kop.

The stand remained open to the elements until a roof was added in 1986 after fans raised money to contribute to the cost. The Kop's huge capacity of 22,000 made it the largest covered standing area in Europe at the time.

The Kop was the last part of the Wednesday ground to be converted to all-seater accommodation, the change finally coming in 1993 to comply with new FA Premier League regulations following the Taylor Report. The capacity was hence halved, but the Kop remains one of the largest single tier stands in Britain and is very intimidating for opposition players.

A large concourse area was added in 2004, partially funded by the Owls Trust.


Location map|Sheffield
caption=Hillsborough Stadium shown in Sheffield
The stadium is located in the north west of the city roughly three miles from the city centre.cite web|title=Directions To Hillsborough|url=http://www.swfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Hillsborough/0,,10304~1032964,00.html|publisher=SWFC.co.uk|accessdate=2006-09-12] The area is mainly residential with a number of shops and a shopping centre located at nearby Hillsborough Corner. Views of the area can be enjoyed from hills located to the west.

The stadium is sandwiched between Hillsborough Park to the south and terrace housing to the north. The River Don also runs alongside the stadium to the south. The Spion Kop backs straight onto Penistone Road, a major dual carriageway leading to the city centre, while there is some space between the West Stand and Leppings Lane.


The highest attendance recorded at Hillsborough was in the FA Cup fifth round on 17 February 1934. A total of 72,841 turned up to see a 2–2 draw with Manchester City.citeweb
url = http://www.swfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/HistoricalStatistics/0,,10304~390127,00.html
title = Club Records
publisher = SWFC.co.uk
accessdate = 2008-02-05
] The highest attendance recorded since work to convert the stadium to an all-seater venue was completed in 1993 was for a Premier League match against Manchester United on 2 February 2000. The game was watched by 39,640 fans.Fact|date=February 2008

The highest seasonal average attendance at Hillsborough was 42,520 in the 1952-53 season in Division 1.Fact|date=February 2008 The highest average attendance in the second tier of English football was 41,682 in the 1951-52 season,Fact|date=February 2008 which saw the club gain promotion from Division 2 and Derek Dooley score a record 46 league goals.Fact|date=February 2008 The highest average attandance in the third tier of English football was achieved in the 2004-05 season when an average of 23,107 fans watched each League One game at Hillsborough.Fact|date=February 2008

The lowest average attendance at Hillsborough came in the first season after its opening (1899-00) when each game was attended by an average crowd of just 6,800 fans, mainly due to the fact that the new stadium, then called "Owlerton Stadium", was a fraction of the size it is today.Fact|date=February 2008

The largest gate receipts taken from a match at Hillsborough was for the Euro 96 game between Turkey and Denmark on 19 June 1996. A crowd of 28,671 watched the match, paying a total of £1,012,150.citeweb
url = http://www.swfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/HistoricalStatistics/0,,10304~390127,00.html
title = Club Records
publisher = SWFC.co.uk
accessdate = 2008-02-05

The largest receipts for a club game at Hillsborough were for the FA Cup semi-final replay between Chesterfield and Middlesbrough on 22 April 1997 and totalled £680,965.citeweb
url = http://www.swfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/HistoricalStatistics/0,,10304~390127,00.html
title = Club Records
publisher = SWFC.co.uk
accessdate = 2008-02-05
] The game was watched by 30,339 fans. [citeweb
url = http://www.soccerbase.com/results3.sd?gameid=298482
title = Match report at Soccerbase
publisher = www.soccerbase.com
accessdate = 2008-02-05
] The highest receipts for a game at Hillsborough involving Sheffield Wednesday was for the Premier League match against Manchester United on 7 March 1998, which was watched by 39,427 fans [citeweb
url = http://www.soccerbase.com/results3.sd?gameid=249427
title = Match report at Soccerbase
publisher = www.soccerbase.com
accessdate = 2008-02-05
] and earned the club £386,426.citeweb
url = http://www.swfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/HistoricalStatistics/0,,10304~390127,00.html
title = Club Records
publisher = SWFC.co.uk
accessdate = 2008-02-05


External links

* [http://www.swfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/HillsboroughIndex/0,,10304,00.html Hillsborough Stadium Information] at Sheffield Wednesday official website
* [http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=S6+1SW&ll=53.412116,-1.502187&spn=0.005269,0.021458&t=k Hillsborough] at Google Maps

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