Old Football Grounds:The Baseball Ground

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Built in 1890 for baseball and the for the Derby County Baseball Club,in 1895 it became the home of the Derby County Football Club which before moving to the Baseball Ground played its matches at the Racecourse Ground.The Baseball Ground was the home of Derby County from 1895 until 1997 when it moved to their current home Pride Park Stadium.The Baseball Ground was originally called Ley’s Baseball Ground by the name of the owner of the Derby County Baseball Club which until 1924 was the owner of the Baseball Ground when Derby County bought the stadium from Ley.The stadium itself was used for only one international match and that was in 1911 when England beat Ireland in the British Home Championship,while after the club bought from Ley the stadium it went to refurbish the stadium.In 1926 the Main Stand was built,while 7 years later the Osmaston End (known among Derby fans as the Ossie End with lower and upper tiers) was built,another 2 years later the Normaton End was built (like the Ossie End it had lower and upper tiers).The last stand known as the Ley stand was built in 1969 when the stadium had a record attendance of 41000 against Tottenham Hotspur in the period when Brian Clough came to the club and led them to the most successful era of the club’s history which included a semifinal in the European Champions Cup against Juventus and a First Division title in the 1971-72 season,while under Dave Mackay they saw another First Division title in the 1974-75 season.However the club went in a period of decline when in 1980 were relegated to the Second Division and in 1984 even to the Third Division and with that attendances fell.But by 1987 Derby County returned to the First Division and attendances went up again.Folowing the Taylor Report in the early 1990s after the Hillsborough Disaster the stadium went into refurbishment and the capacity of the stadium was about 18000 which was ineadequate for the ambitions of the club which in that time chase for the promotion in the Premier League so it was clear that the club needed a new stadium.The original plan was to refurbish it into a stadium for 26000 spectators,but it was decided to build a completely new stadium at Pride Park which opened on the 18th of July 1997.At the final match against Arsenal which Derby County lost 1-3 the attendance was 18000 spectators.In late 2003 the Baseball Ground was demolished in order to make way for housing in which 150 new homes were built,while 7 years later in 2010 a commemorative statue was unveiled on the site which features three footballer dribbling and shooting.

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