The oldest stadium in the world – Bramall Lane

Sheffield - Bramall LaneSheffield - Bramall Lane 18.08.2017: Although Bramall Lane is the oldest stadium in the world, it still hosts professional matches. It is the home ground of Sheffield United, and was opened on 30th April 1855! However, in the first seven years following its construction it served only as a cricket ground. The first football match was played at Bramall Lane on 29th December 1862 – Sheffield F.C. tied 0-0 with Hallam F.C. In the following years, local clubs from Sheffield played their matches regularly at the stadium.

In 1889 the stadium became permanent home of Sheffield United. In 1878 Bramall Lane hosted the first floodlit match in history. In 1890s the stadium was considerably expanded – two new stands were built. In the following decades the stadium was further improved – for example, roofs were added to the stands. A record attendance at Bramall Lane was set in 1936, when 68,287 spectators came to watch a FA match between Sheffield United and Leeds.
Cricket stadium Bramall Lane (1955). Photo: Author uncnown

In 1966 a two-tier stand was built. Owing to the fact that the stadium was still being used for cricket matches as well, it had an unusual shape – the pitch was twice as wide as a standard football pitch. This meant that one side of the pitch was empty, with only the cricket pavilion in the back. This finally changed in 1975, when a new South stand was built on the cricket pitch. From then on Bramall Lane has been a football only stadium.

Building new stand for football (1966). Photo: Author uncnown
Bramall Lane (1989). Photo: Lewisskinner (CC BY-SA 3.0)

In the early 1990s a renovation project was launched at Bramall Lane, aimed at turning the stadium into an all-seater. The Kop Stand was rebuilt first and a new John Street Stand was built. And finally, at the beginning of the new millennium the renovation was completed with the construction of new corner stands in two of the four corners.

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