Scunthorpe’s Glanford Park
November 9, 2017
Scunthorpe United originally played at the Old Showground but in the wake of the Bradford fire disaster of 1985, it was determined that substantial improvements would have to be made to the Old Showground in order for it to meet new regulations, improvements which the club could not afford. Ultimately it was decided that the best course of action was to relocate to a new out of town site, with the sale of the land occupied by the Old Showground being used to raise much needed revenue for the club. After the club relocated, the Old Showground was demolished and replaced by a Safway supermarket, which was subsequently sold to Sainsbury’s in 2004.
Construction began during 1987 on a site located on the outskirts of Scunthorpe and the ground was fully completed prior to the commencement of the 1988-89 season and was officially opened at the start of the season by Princess Alexandra. Upon its completion, it was the first new Football League stadium constructed in England for 33 years.
Glanford Park originally opened with a capacity of 11,190, both of the goal-ends being standing terraces, however this capacity was later reduced to its current value of 9,088 in 1991.
The name Glanford Park was derived from its funding by the then Glanford Borough Council, before North Lincolnshire became a unitary authority.
For all but one of its first 17 seasons the stadium staged fourth tier football prior to Scunthorpe’s promotion to League One in 2005, since when they have appeared in either League One or the Championship for all but one season.
The record attendance is 9,077 for a 5–2 loss against Manchester United in the League Cup on 22 September 2010, with the record attendance for a Football League game standing at 8,921 for a 2–1 win over Newcastle United in the Championship.
Glanford Park is a relatively simple affair, consisting of four single-tier stands of equal height, three of which are all seated. Although there is no seating in any of the four corners between stands the ground is still fully enclosed, with the rear wall and roof of each stand simply being extended to meet in the corners. Since February 2011, the south-west corner of the ground has been completely filled-in with the construction of the ‘Legends Lounge’, with the other three simply containing refreshment kiosks.
The SPB stand (formerly the Scunthorpe Telegraph Stand) is the West side stand, and is the ground’s main stand. It runs along the entire length of the pitch and is fully seated.
The two southernmost blocks of seating are marketed as the club’s family area. To the rear of the stand are the club’s various executive suites. These include a restaurant which is open throughout the week, a set of executive boxes, the Sir Ian Botham Executive Lounge and the Legends Lounge, which occupies the south-west corner. Members of the media are allocated a small area of seating at the rear of the stand, and a television gantry is also positioned within the roof space.
The players’ tunnel is located centrally within this stand, with the team dugouts being located on either side of the opening. The dressing rooms are naturally all located within this stand.
Other facilities located within this stand include the club’s main offices, ticket office, club shop and sports injury clinic.
The Britcon Stand is much more commonly known as the “Doncaster Road End” among supporters, or even simpler, the “Donny Road End” or “DRE”. This stand is the only terraced stand at Glanford Park, and typically houses the more vocal supporters. The club’s popular bar, ‘The Iron Bar’ is located below this stand and is open on match days prior to kick-off and during half-time.
The Britcon Stand was due to be fitted with seating after the 2010-11 season due to Football League regulations that all standing areas must be made seating following three seasons in the Championship, however Scunthorpe United were subsequently relegated, reprieving the terrace for the time being.
The Clugston Stand (formerly the Grove Wharf Stand prior to the start of the 2012-13 season) is the East stand of the ground, and houses seated home supporters. Disabled seating is available at the front of the stand in four allocated bays. The Clugston Stand now also features a can bar and a food outlet in the void beneath the seating, which along with additional toilet facilities was installed at a cost of £100,000 in 2006.
The stadium’s match day control room is located at the rear of this stand.
The AMS Stand (also known as the South Stand or “Railway End”) houses away supporters, with a maximum capacity of 1,678. Extra away seating can be made available for away fans if required by sectioning off the corner of the Clugston Stand closest to the AMS Stand, however this is only usually done for games such as local derbies. A bar for visiting fans is positioned below this stand.
The AMS Stand was originally a terrace much the same as the Britcon Stand when the stadium was first built, however it was later decided that in the interests of safety that this end should be converted to seating only.
In December 2006 the Scunthorpe Telegraph reported that the club were looking to expand the Doncaster Road End of the stadium. Potential improvements mentioned included a second tier and expansion of the club’s restaurant. In announcing the plan for expansion, the club’s chairman Steven Wharton acknowledged that they were not currently filling the stadium to capacity on a regular basis, but added that he was preparing for a future situation where a larger capacity could be required. This would have been the first major redevelopment of any stand at Glanford Park since its opening, however these plans were later shelved.
Under government regulations the club would have been required to convert the Doncaster Road End to seating if relegation from the Championship had been avoided in 2010–11. In an effort to overturn this ruling, supporters launched a Keep Scunthorpe Standing campaign. The club revealed revised expansion details in September 2010, with plans to add a three-level building behind the current terrace to include a larger supporters’ bar, club shop and ticket office. The capacity of the ground would not have increased; this is due to the change from a terrace to a seating area. As it so happened, the Iron were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2010–11 season and so these plans never came to fruition.
Scunthorpe United now propose to build a new stadium at Lincolnshire Lakes. It will cost £18 million and will have the capacity of 12,000. The new stadium will include a hotel, an office, training and catering facilities. This was announced early January 2014, with the project planned for commencement during 2015-2016. Due to issues regarding procurement of the land for the new stadium and more recently, issues with one of the developers, the intended site of the new stadium has been moved approximately 500 m to the South, and the construction start date has been pushed back to some point in late 2017.