The Excelsior Stadium, known as the Penny Cars Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is a football stadium in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It is the home ground of Airdrieonians F.C. of the Scottish Professional Football League. It is an all-seater stadium with a capacity of 10,101.
|Capacity||10,101 (all seated)|
|Field size||115 × 75 yds|
|Surface||3G artificial pitch|
|Airdrieonians F.C. (1878) (1998–2002)|
Airdrieonians F.C. (2002–present)
Queen's Park F.C. (2013–2014)
Glasgow City F.C. (2014-2017)
The stadium was opened in 1998 by the original Airdrieonians F.C., who were returning to Airdrie four years after leaving their previous ground, Broomfield Park. The name of the stadium derives from Airdrieonians' original name, the club having been founded as Excelsior F.C. in 1878. Originally known as the Shyberry Excelsior Stadium due to sponsorship, the stadium is also sometimes unofficially referred to New Broomfield, after the former Airdrie ground. Following the liquidation of the original Airdrieonians in 2002, the Excelsior Stadium became home to the new Airdrie United F.C.; they subsequently revived the Airdrieonians name.
In addition to Airdrie, the Excelsior Stadium has hosted a number of other teams. Glasgow City of the Scottish Women's Premier League used it as their main home ground from between 2014 and 2017, and prior to that for matches in European competitions. Queen's Park temporarily shared the ground from 2013 to 2014. Both Queen of the South (in 2008) and Motherwell (in 2009) have used the ground for European fixtures. It has also hosted the final of the Scottish Challenge Cup twice.
Following the sale of Airdrieonians' home ground (Broomfield Park) to large supermarket chain Safeway in 1994, the club searched for several years for a suitable site, and planning permission for, a new home. Guidelines set by the football authorities in the period were for top division clubs in Scotland to have all-seater stadia with a minimum capacity of 10,000, and having only been relegated from the Scottish Premier Division in 1993, the club sought to comply with this. The building work on Excelsior Stadium was eventually completed in 1998, and Airdrieonians played here until the club went out of business due to heavy debts (caused in part by the burden of the construction cost of the new stadium, and made worse by a fall in supporter numbers in the four years based away from their home town) in May 2002.
This left an opening in the Scottish League, which was filled by Northern Premier League side Gretna. To attain a position in the league, Jim Ballantyne bought out the ailing Clydebank, renamed the club Airdrie United, changed the strip and relocated the club to Airdrie and Excelsior Stadium. Airdrie United are now known as 'Airdrieonians', the same name as the club dissolved in 2002.
The ground seats 10,101 and, as well as hosting Airdrieonians first and youth team games, Motherwell Under 20s games and various local amateur sides, it has also played host to Scottish Challenge Cup finals in 1999 and 2005, as well as Scotland under-21 fixtures and Old Firm reserve matches. The stadium has also hosted several charity events.
In 2003 Falkirk enquired about groundsharing at the stadium for a season, as their former home, Brockville did not meet SPL criteria. This was later rejected in a meeting between SPL chairmen, meaning Falkirk were denied a place in the SPL. In August 2008 it played host to Queen of the South's UEFA Cup 2nd qualifying round 1st leg against Nordsjælland. The stadium also hosted all of Motherwell's Europa League qualifying round ties in the 2009–10 season, against Llanelli, Flamurtari and Steaua Bucharest.
In January 2016, East Kilbride of the Scottish Lowland Football League drew Celtic in the Scottish Cup. As their K-Park stadium was inadequate for the crowd expected, the match was held at Excelsior Stadium; 7,767 fans attended.
Records and factsEdit
The record attendance at New Broomfield was 9,612 for the 2005 Scottish Challenge Cup Final, played between Hamilton Academical and St Mirren on 6 November 2005. The highest confirmed attendance for an Airdrieonians match was 9,044 for a Scottish League One fixture against Rangers on 23 August 2013; however, one of the first matches at the stadium, a Scottish League Cup win for Airdrie over cup holders Celtic in August 1998 was reported to have been played "before 10,000 ecstatic fans".
Excelsior Stadium is the highest stadium in Scottish league football.
In addition to the executive match-viewing boxes that look onto the pitch, the stadium boasts conference and banqueting facilities, with six separate spaces and a public bar being situated within the main (Jack Dalziel) stand. Disabled facilities are also provided in the North, East and South stands. A Sports Injury Clinic operates from the main stand.
Nine five-a-side football pitches were installed for community use in early 2010, adjacent to the stadium on the South stand side and to the East stand side. The car parks were resurfaced, and new fencing and gates were erected around the perimeter of the stadium and land.
At the end of the 2009–10 season, a new 3G artificial surface was installed. Although due for completion prior to season 2010–11, in July Airdrie United played their opening Challenge Cup 1st Round game v Ayr United at Alloa Athletic's Recreation Park ground, as the work had been delayed due to heavy rain. The first competitive game played on the new surface was on 14 August 2010, as Airdrie entertained Ayr United.
- "Airdrieonians Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "The 10,000 seat rule – the facts". Dundee United F.C. 7 April 2004. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
- "End of the line for Airdrie". The Scotsman. 2 May 2002. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
- "Queen of South 1-2 Nordsjaelland". BBC Sport. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- Miller, Stevie (5 August 2009). "Steaua's story". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- Godfrey, Mark (November 2013). "Queen's Park on the move from Hampden home". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "Airdrie's Excelsior stadium to host East Kilbride's Scottish Cup clash with Celtic". The Herald. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- "East Kilbride 0-2 Celtic". BBC Sport. 7 February 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- "Excelsior stadium begins huge refurbishment in time for Elton John concert". Daily Record / Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser. 6 June 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- "All the way from Airdrie to Airdrie to see Sir Elton John shine on stage". Daily Record / Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
- Adams, Duncan (2013). "Airdrieonians". www.footballgroundguide.com. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- "Celtic fall to Airdrie". BBC News. 20 August 1998. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- "Airdrie install artificial pitch at Excelsior Stadium". BBC Sport. BBC. 22 May 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2011.