Archibald Leitch:Father of the football stadium


Many football fans across the world know the names of the stadiums of the clubs which they follow,but do they know who designed them?In many ways,a rare number of football fans know who was the architect design the stadiums of their favorite football clubs,one of the most famous architects who designed football stadiums and it is regarded as the father of football stadiums.Born in 1865 in Glasgow which later will host one of the most famous and oldest football rivalries in world which is the Old Firm between Celtic and Rangers,Leitch would in his beginning of the career of an architect design factories in Industrial Britain especially in his native Glasgow.In 1896 at the age of 31 he became a member of the Institution of Englineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland and later a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. But it was three years later in 1899 that Leitch began to design football stadiums beginning with the design of Ibrox whcih was the stadium of his boyhood heroes Glasgow Rangers.Designing football stadiums was a challenge in the beginning of the 1900s since most of them were stand by stand and terrace by terrace and at best design tips would come from music halls,theaters and colloseums,in 1902 when Ibrox was finished and tested for a match between Scotland and England,25 fans have died when a short section of timber terracing has collapsed.Leitch feared after that he would never work on football stadiums,but three years later he bounced back when he built a new form of football terrace at Craven Cottage and Stamford Bridge which to this very day operate.At both stadiums Leitch used banks of earth and in certain areas spoil from coal mines while in order to creat manageable pens vertical and lateral aisles were positioned at regular intervals,in order to add strenght he designed a tubular steel barrier.From point Leitch became one of Britain’s most famous football architect till his death in 1939 he designed Britain’s most famous football and rugby stadiums:from Anfield and Goodison Park in Liverpool to Highbury,White Hart Lane and Twickenham in London and in his native Scotland Hampden Park and Tynecastle and other famous football stadiums across Britain.Today very few of Leitch’s original stadiums have survived,mostly have been demolished and modernized in 1990s and 2000s,some of the stands which survive to this day is the Johnny Haynes Stand at Craven Cottage,South Stand at Ibrox and the main stand at Dens Park which is the stadium of Dundee FC.Archibald Leitch died at the age of 73 on the 25th of April 1939,two days before his 74th birthday but he left a huge legacy in a football world.

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