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History (from Wikipedia)
In 1906, the local Press were pleading with the club to provide a decent Press box, as they found themselves watching the games from the touchline. The following year, a paddock was built in front of the stand to up the capacity. A decade later, however, a serious fire all but destroyed it, necessitating a complete rebuild. Two years later, the Spion Kop, the former South Stand, was built, holding about a thousand standing spectators. Along the east side of the ground, the concreted East Paddock was built, costing roughly £3,000, which nearly broke the club but raised the ground to have a capacity of 18,000.
Also in 1906, a 2,000-capacity stand was constructed on the north side of the ground. Named the Motor Stand and made Bloomfield Road one of the only grounds in England to have stands on all four sides of the ground. Partly erected, it was opened for the first time on 10 November for the visit of West Bromwich Albion. The club organist a whist drive at the Conservative Club to help defray the expense. The stand was borrowed from the Blackpool Corporation and practically filled the north side of the ground. It was purchased from the council in June 1908 at a cost of £100.
On 13 January 1917, a fire in the West Stand, likely caused by the dressing-room heating system, badly damaged the structure. When the fire brigade arrived, the stand was a blazing inferno with a northerly wind causing the flames to completely destroy the entire southern end, including both the original secretary's office, the boardroom – including club records – many silver cups and a collection of historical photographs that adorned the office. It resulted in a rebuilding programme that eventually saw the ground constructed along the lines that remained for the rest of the century.
In 1925, a new South Stand was built to provide a new boardroom, offices, dressing rooms, baths and refreshment bars. It cost just over £13,000 and held 4,000 people, bringing the total ground capacity to well over 20,000. Also this year, a new directors' box was built in the North-West Corner of the ground. It was used for the first time for the visit of Southampton on 29 August 1925. Ernest Lawson commented in the Gazette & Herald: "It's a nice box they have placed themselves in; it must be for safety, for it is far enough out of the way! But of what are they frightened?" He offered an answer at a later date: "The Let Me Smoke railway stokers are a choking nuisance. Now we know from what the directors are protecting themselves." He was referring to the smoke that regularly drifted in at the north-west corner of the ground, caused by steam trains passing by. Lawson added: "The crowd do, however, have the last laugh when the wind comes in from the east!"
An England v. Ireland amateur international was staged at the ground on 12 November 1927.
For the opening game of the 1929–30 campaign, a visit of Millwall Athletic on 31 August, the new West Stand was opened for the first time. Eventually, the playing surface was extended by twenty yards to the north to make room for a paddock in front of the South Stand.
Also in 1929, Eli Percival, a general dealer whose business was based on Elizabeth Street, gifted the club the oak panelling that lined the walls of the Bloomfield Road boardroom until 2003. The wood had been salvaged from the wreckage of Horatio Nelson's one-time flagship HMS Foudroyant, which was wrecked near the Metropole Hotel on 16 June 1897.
With promotion to Division One in 1930 the locals raised some money to build a massive terrace at the north (Tower) end of the ground which could hold around 12,000 standing spectators, increasing the ground's total capacity to over 30,000. The original hill was constructed largely out of cinders and sand and packed together with railway sleepers to hold the extra spectators. The stand was opened for the visit of eventual champions Arsenal on 30 August 1930, and a record 28,723 paid £1,896 to watch the proceedings. The Gunners also helped set the record twice in the two seasons that followed: 29,576 in 1930–31 and 30,218 in 1931–32. The stand had the club's name painted on its rear. The Motor Stand, which had previously occupied the spot, was moved into the North-West Corner, where it stayed until 1985. The East Stand (or "Scratching Sheds") was covered once the team's fortunes increased.
On 17 October 1932, the only full international game took place at Bloomfield Road: England v. Ireland. The attendance was 23,000.
FK Austria Wien were the first continental side to visit Bloomfield Road. The friendly, which took place on 9 December 1935, attracted a crowd of over 5,000. The hosts won 4–3.
On 11 January 1936, Blackpool hosted Margate in the FA Cup in what is believed to be the first game captured on film at Bloomfield Road. The tie, which Blackpool won 3–1, was filmed by the Tower Company and was later shown at the Winter Gardens and Grand Theatre.
On 12 May 1937, Bloomfield Road hosted a series of events as part of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The day started at 9.45am with a parade of all the children taking part, followed by a civic ceremony by the mayor. A display of national dances in costume took place before the ensemble Grand Finale Parade. A thousand children from the junior schools of Blackpool formed a living Union Jack on the pitch during the national anthem.
Lancashire rivals Burnley travelled to Bloomfield Road on 2 December 1944 to contest a Football League North fixture during World War II. The programme noted that the ground had been loaned by kind permission of Air Commodore A. Macgregor. The Royal Air Force had requisitioned the ground for the war years, as they had done previously during World War I. 'Pool's considerable debts were virtually cleared by the time the hostilities ended. The visitors won 2–0.
On 18 October 1950, Bloomfield Road hosted a Football League versus Irish League exhibition match. Liverpool's centre-forward Albert Stubbins netted five times in the Football League's 6–3 victory.
With an extension of the East Paddock, the capacity of the ground was raised to 38,000 in 1954. Additional seating in the West Stand was also added around this time.
The record attendance at Bloomfield Road occurred when Wolverhampton Wanderers visited on 17 September 1955. In front of 38,098, the hosts won 2–1.
On 24 May 1957, Barcelona approached Blackpool to play a match at Bloomfield Road. The kick-off was scheduled for 10 o'clock in the evening, but the game actually got underway at 10.40pm. As the hosts entered the stadium, the visiting Spanish support greeted them with firecrackers. Blackpool rested nine players, but managed a 3–3 draw with the visitors, who had beaten Real Madrid 6–1 in their previous match. Blackpool's goals came from Ken Smith, Ernie Taylor and Sandy Harris.
To inaugurate the new floodlighting system at the ground, a friendly was held against Hearts, then the Scottish League champions. The system was one of the most modern in the country, and, because of the town's geographical location, special safeguards had been made so that the 145-feet-high pylons could withstand the coastal weather. The manufacturers guaranteed that the galvanised tubular-steel towers would not only resist corrosion but would also be able to withstand winds of between 90 and 100 miles per hour. In addition, the piles for each pylon had been sunk to a depth of 37 feet to ensure they had a firm base. Each of the pylons at that time carried thirty-six 1,500-watt lamps giving a combined power of 216 kilowatts.
Bloomfield Road hosted its 1,000th Football League game on 10 September 1960, with a visit by Lancashire neighbours Bolton Wanderers. The game was the first to be televised in England. It was broadcast on ITV, billed as The Big Game, and three cameras were sited at the back of the Spion Kop. Coverage was scheduled for the last five minutes of the first half and the whole of the second. The Trotters won by a single goal.
The capacity of the ground was reduced to 30,000 in the late 1960s when new seating was installed. During the following decade, the board introduced seats in the East Paddock, a move that proved so unpopular that it was reversed within twelve months.
A roof was put up over the Spion Kop at the north end of the ground, with BLACKPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB painted on its rear; however, it was taken down in 1981 after only twenty years. The council thought it was dangerous, but the club could not afford to repair the roof, so it was torn off, leaving the visiting fans exposed to the elements for the next two decades. A knock-on effect was the removal of seats that had been put into the East Stand. These seats were supposedly a very poor idea as the first three rows were below pitch level, thus providing a poor vantage point from which to watch games.
The final Christmas Day fixture at Bloomfield Road occurred in 1965, with the visit of Blackburn Rovers. The Football League announced: "Christmas Day matches were dropped from our calendar when it became obvious to all concerned — spectators, players and officials alike — that people preferred to spend the day at home."
Ammonia was thrown on the Spion Kop towards the end of a 7 October 1968 Division Two derby with Blackburn Rovers. Numerous fans were injured by the indiscriminate throwing of the substance. Several were taken to hospital, and four spectators – including a police officer – were detained overnight. The incident made front-page headlines nationally as "alarming and frightening developments" in football hooliganism. "A night of soccer madness and the madness did not end in the ground, for further incidents occurred outside."
The Kop Shop opened for the first time for the visit of Everton on 19 September 1970. Located in a disused ticket office in the north-east corner of the ground, the shop was run by the supporters' club and made available a full range of football souvenirs, including badges, pens, scarves and pennants.
On 24 August 1974, 17-year-old Blackpool fan Kevin Olsson was fatally stabbed behind the Spion Kop after a game against Bolton Wanderers.
On 17 March 1986, the club's directors announced that they were ready to sell the Bloomfield Road ground as a site for a supermarket. A lucrative deal was being discussed with a Manchester development company. Forthcoming safety measures meant that both the West and South stands would likely be condemned the following year, otherwise the club would have to spend £2 million on improvements. With the sale, the directors wanted to clear the football club's debts and move to nearby Blackpool Borough's rugby ground on Princess Street. The scheme was rejected by the town council the following month, at which point the board of directors decided to put the club up for sale.
In the summer of 1989, the club had to spend "thousands" on repairs to the ground, with the South Stand roof being the main concern. Further safety work was necessary in order for the stadium to continue staging League football. Also that year, the North-West Stand was condemned in the wake of stricter safety standards. Demolition began almost immediately, and temporary seating was installed to accommodate visiting support to the ground.
Bloomfield Road became the first ground in England to witness police in full riot gear. Before, during and after the Third Division encounter with Birmingham City there were numerous disturbances and skirmishes around the town and police reinforcements were drafted in from all over the Fylde. At the game, visiting fans began rioting on the open Spion Kop terracing, which was allocated exclusively for away supporters. After some delay, the police finally entered the terraces and restored order.
In the 1990s, with Bloomfield Road defining the word decrepit, new safety measures reduced the capacity from 18,000 to 12,000, and then down to 9,000. The western half of the Kop was closed, with the eastern half open only to visiting support and the East Paddock became segregated. The atmosphere came almost exclusively from the south end, unless there was a large away following.
On 10 August 1991, seven days before the season kicked off with the visit of Walsall, county council inspectors were at the ground to give the club's new police control box the final go-ahead. Chief executive David Hatton commented: "We are working on the match being on at home next week as planned. We had a visit from the county council on Friday and it was very encouraging."
2 November 1991, a draw with Scarborough marked a year's passing since Blackpool were last beaten in the League at Bloomfield Road.
Former chairman Owen Oyston submitted plans, on several occasions, to build a new 40,000 all-seater stadium adjoining a large entertainment complex. Outline planning permission for the new ground, which was to be built at nearby Whyndyke Farm, was granted in June 1992.
The "Golden Gamble" match-day draw scheme was introduced for the first time for the visit of 4 September 1993 visit of Barnet to Bloomfield Road. Fans could purchase lottery tickets for £1 before each home game, and a draw at half-time by the guest of the day gives punters a chance to win 50% of the gross take, up to £2,000. The scheme is still in operation today. This fund-raising scheme followed "Goldbond", a weekly draw that was launched three years earlier.
On 16 October 1993, full plans for the club's proposed new multi-purpose stadium were submitted to the town's mayor by Owen Oyston and Stanley Matthews. The plans included a 20,000 capacity stadium with retractable roof, 92 executive boxes in the North and South stands, and a twelve-storey luxury hotel with 115 rooms with balconies overlooking the pitch. Leisure facilities included and Olympic-sized swimming pool, indoor five-a-side football area, gymnasium and keep-fit area. Every seat would have access to restaurants, bars and fast-food outlets. However, in 1996 Oyston was convicted of rape and jailed for six years, and nothing further was heard about the move to Whyndyke Farm.
A supplement in Blackpool's matchday programme for the visit of Cardiff City on 11 March 2000 revealed the long-awaited plans for the redevelopment of the ground. It confirmed that plans had been submitted to the borough council and both the chief executive and principal planning officer said that the proposals were both "realistic and attractive". The architects TTH and developer Ballast Wiltshire were both involved in the Stadium of Light development in Sunderland. The overall capacity was announced as 15,254.
On 23 May 2000, the club was given the go-ahead for the redevelopment of Bloomfield Road. A unanimous vote by the resort's councillors sealed the fate of plans to replace the existing stadium with an £11 million state-of-the-art structure.
In 2000 and 2001 respectively, the Spion Kop and West Stand were demolished to make way for the new stands. The Kop was closed after the 8 May visit of Colchester United. The pitch was moved slightly north and west to make room for expansion on the south and east sides of the ground in future years.
On 7 August 2001, a pre-season friendly against Spanish side Athletic Bilbao was held at Bloomfield Road. The game ended 2–2.
The West Stand was completed in the summer of 2002 and was officially opened on 6 August, with former Seasiders player Keith Walwyn the guest of honour for a friendly against Blackburn Rovers. Lord Pendry unveiled a plaque above the main entrance celebrating the Football Foundation's contribution to the new stadium. The South Stand, meanwhile, was granted a reprieve which meant it would re-open for visiting supporters for the forthcoming 2002–03 campaign. All matches would be all-ticket for visiting support. If a club requested more than the 1,500 allocation, Blackpool would open the East Paddock north section, thus allowing a further 1,000 away support.
On 25 June 2003, fans were allowed into the ground to take a final look around the South and East stands before their demolition. Former 'Pool player Dave Durie was also in attendance.
In July 2003, Bloomfield Road was granted a licence to hold marriage ceremonies.
The stadium was used for two matches during the 2005 UEFA Women's Championship. Blackpool Rugby League Club used the stadium for their home matches in National League Two in the 2005 and 2006 seasons and since 2005 it has staged the annual National League Cup final.
The stadium hosted a 2004–05 Victory Shield match between England under-16 team and Scotland under-16 team on 26 November 2004.
On 22 September 2005, Bloomfield Road hosted its 2,000th Football League match. Brentford were the visitors for a game that ended goalless.
On 11 October 2007, England under-16s drew 2–2 with Northern Ireland under-16s in a Victory Shield 2007-08 match at Bloomfield Road. The match was televised live on Sky Sports.
In January 2007, Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston reacted angrily to news that the town had lost out to rank outsiders Manchester in the race for the UK's first supercasino. He was concerned that the news could drive potential investors away from purchasing space in the South Stand. Oyston had previously insisted that work would only begin on the long-awaited structure when office space had been sold.
In March 2008, following news that Whyndyke Farm is to be the home for a new psychiatric hospital to replace the Parkwood unit at Victoria Hospital, and that the site is also earmarked for new housing, Karl Oyston confirmed that plans for a move to a new stadium at Whyndyke Farm were unlikely to ever be revived.
On 25 April 2009, after his Nottingham Forest team drew 1–1 with Blackpool at Bloomfield Road, Billy Davies complained about the state of the stadium and its pitch: "It is a disgrace and so are some of the surroundings. It was not rolled and not prepared properly. It was not a pitch on which to play football." After the season ended, the pitch was relaid.
The FA chose the stadium to host England women's opening Group 5 qualifying game for the 2011 World Cup against Malta on 25 October 2009, which England won 8–0 in front of a crowd of 3,681.
On 2 May 2010, Bloomfield Road experienced its highest attendance for thirty years. 12,296 (11,192 home; 1,104 away) people watched Blackpool's 1–1 draw with Bristol City as the hosts secured a final-day play-off spot. This beat the previous high of 10,427, when Rotherham United visited on 20 August 1980.
On 24 May, at the civic reception held in the club's honour after they gained promotion to the Premier League, manager Ian Holloway thanked the fans "for making our ground somewhere to feel safe and express yourself."
On 26 May, Karl Oyston revealed that work would begin on the East Stand, which would complete the Bloomfield Road redevelopment, "as soon as is realistically possible". Work commenced on 14 June. In addition, the seating in the North and West stands will be replaced gradually through the season due to the fading of their tangerine colour, as well as electronic turnstiles, a new pitch sprinkler system, large video screen, new media and medical facilities, new floodlighting, further hospitality areas in the South Stand and enlarged dugouts. The pitch was also relaid.
A webcam was fitted so fans could keep track of the progress of construction in the East Stand.
Wigan Athletic were in line to be the first visitors to Bloomfield Road as a Premier League ground on 14 August, but on 12 July it was announced that the East Stand would not be ready in time; as a result, the fixture was reversed.
The club requested 1,500–2,000 fans to test the temporary East Stand with free entry to the Lancashire Senior Cup game against Morecambe on 25 August in order for the safety certificates to be issued.
The then-current England coach, Fabio Capello, was present at Bloomfield Road for its debut hosting of a Premier League game. Fulham were the visitors on 28 August 2010, and the Italian was reportedly in attendance to watch the Cottagers' Bobby Zamora.
On 20 November 2010, Prince William attended the fixture between Blackpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers while in town for the stag party of one of his friends. Scotland manager Craig Levein was also in attendance.
The ground was chosen to host Carlisle United's home FA Cup third round tie in January 2016 against the famous Yeovil Town, with the Cumbrians' Brunton Park affected by flooding in the city.
In June 2019, the ground came into the control of Simon Sadler, after he acquired a controlling 96.2% stake in Blackpool F.C.