Old Football Grounds:The Dell

the_dell-sauthampton

The former home of Southampton known as The Dell was built in 1898 and was their home until 2001 when the Saints moved to St.Mary’s Stadium which since from then became their home.In 1896 the Saints where the tenants of the Hampshire County Cricket Club at the County Ground which served at their as their home as their home from the club’s founding in 1885.However after the rent from the cricket club increased and a planed merger with the local rivals Freemantle FC failed,the club began to plan to build their own stadium and in the September of 1898 The Dell opened with the inaugural match against Brighton United which was dissolved two years later.The Saints won their inauguaral match against Brighton United 4-1 with Scottish striker Watty Keay scoring the first goal in the new stadium.In 1927 the stadium was redeveloped by famous architect Archibald Leich who designed many famous football stadiums across the UK.When it comes to The Dell,Leich designed the new West Stand which was built in 1927,while two years later the East Stand was redeveloped which increased the stadium’s capacity to 30000 which was the biggest capacity the stadium ever had.During WWII thanks to the German blitz the Saints had play their remaining fixtures away since the bombs have damaged the stadium until October 1941 when the stadium was rebuilt.In the post-WWII era,in 1950 The Dell became the first stadium to have permanent floodlighting installed,while the biggest attendance for a football match came on the 31st of October 1969 when 31000 spectators attended the match against Manchester United which featured the likes of Bobby Charlton and George Best.The Saints during their time at The Dell achieved some success by winning the 1976 FA Cup and in 1984 they finished 2nd in the First Division which at that time was the highest level of English football.During the 1980s and the early 1990s The Dell went into further redevelopment and the capacity of the stadium decreased by half to 15000 in 1994 which was the smallest in the Premier League and in that time the Saints were looking to move away from The Dell due to its small capacity and the stadium significantly aged in 2001 after 103 years spending at The Dell,the Saints moved to St.Mary’s Stadium with the final match at The Dell against Brighton & Hove Albion with a 1-0 victory and Uwe Rosler scoring the last goal at The Dell after the stadium being demolished in the summer of 2001.

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