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Gigg Lane is an all-seater football stadium in Bury, Greater Manchester. One of the world's oldest professional football stadiums, it was built for Bury F.C. in 1885 and has been their home ever since. Currently, the ground is officially known for sponsorship reasons as the Energy Check Stadium but it will soon be renamed the Planet-U Energy Stadium following a deal signed by the club with Leeds-based Planet-U Energy on 19 February 2019.

Gigg Lane
Gigg Lane from Above.jpeg
Gigg Lane taken from a drone
Gigg Lane is located in England
Gigg Lane
Gigg Lane
Location of Gigg Lane
Full nameGigg Lane
LocationGigg Lane
Bury, Greater Manchester
OwnerBury F.C.
OperatorBury F.C.
Capacity12,500 (all-seated) (Currently 11,840 due to segregation in the Les Hart Stand)
Record attendance35,000
Field size112 x 73 yards
Construction
Built1885
Opened1885
Tenants
Bury F.C. (1885–present)
Swinton RLFC (1992–2002)
F.C. United of Manchester (2005–2014)

Contents

HistoryEdit

The first match to be played at Gigg Lane was a friendly between Bury and Wigan on 12 September 1885, which Bury won 4–3. The first league game was a 4–2 victory over Manchester City on 8 September 1894 in the 1894–95 Football League Second Division.[1] The stadium has had permanent floodlights since 1953, although the first floodlit match to be played there took place in 1889, before the Football League had authorised the use of floodlights in competitive matches.

The capacity of the ground was once 35,000 and this was achieved when the ground's record crowd attended Bury's FA Cup third round tie against Bolton Wanderers on 9 January 1960. The game ended 1–1 and Bury lost the replay after extra time 4–2.[1] In 1986, Gigg Lane saw its lowest ever crowd of just 461 for a Freight Rover Trophy game against Tranmere Rovers. There has never been a league crowd below 1,000 although the closest to that mark came in 1984 with a crowd of 1,096 against Northampton Town. The highest all-seater attendance at Gigg Lane was recorded when Bury played Manchester City on 12 September 1997, with an attendance of 11,216.

The ground was renamed the JD Stadium in November 2013 after Bury announced a new sponsorship deal with JD Sports.[2] The deal was ended in July 2015.[3] In 2016 it was announced that the club was looking to build a new 15,000–20,000 capacity stadium in the borough of Bury.[4][5] Since then, however, there has been a change of club ownership[6] and a new stadium sponsorship deal (see below).

On 19 February 2019, it was announced that the ground is to be officially renamed the Planet-U Energy Stadium after Bury concluded a five-year sponsorship deal with the Leeds-based renewable energy supplier, Planet-U Energy. The stadium will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.[7][8][9][10]

Structure and facilitiesEdit

The stadium's official capacity is 12,500 (currently 11,840 due to segregation in the Les Hart Stand). The South Stand is the largest stand and it was renamed the "Les Hart Stand" in the summer of 2010.[11] The stand contains a pattern of blue and white seats that spell out "SHAKERS"

After the Taylor Report forced all Football League clubs to switch to all-seater stadiums, the stadium began converting all four sides of the ground in 1993, with the Cemetery End being the final terraced section to be demolished in 1999. The East Stand on the rebuilt Cemetery End has a capacity of 2,500.

The Manchester Road End (capacity 2,100) was home to the club's electronic scoreboard (obtained from Leicester City's Filbert Street ground after it closed in 2002) until 2011. A new scoreboard was placed in the south-east corner of the ground a few months later.[12]

In September 2015 a screen was installed in the right-hand side of the Les Hart Stand. On matchdays the club show advertisements, match highlights and the scoreline.

In November 2015, Bury announced that the Main Stand was to be renamed the Neville Neville Stand in honour of the late English cricketer and friend of the club, Neville Neville.[13]

Towards the end of the 2015–16 season, a fence was constructed between the Cemetery End and the Les Hart Stand in an attempt to stop the rise of hooliganism at the ground. This further separates home and away supporters but it has reduced the stadium's capacity with the consequent loss of 660 seats.

Other usersEdit

Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers have hosted reserve-team matches at the ground.

F.C. United of Manchester shared the ground from the 2005–06 season until 2014. They moved into their own ground for the 2015–16 season. F.C. United set a club record attendance of 6,731 when they played Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup on 8 December 2010.

A couple of teams have moved their "home" games to the stadium, including Preston North End for a League Cup tie in 1994. Non-league sides Rossendale United and Radcliffe Borough moved home F.A. Cup ties to Gigg Lane against Bolton Wanderers (in 1971) and York City respectively.[1]

In 1996, the stadium was used as the filming location for the TV film based on the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, where 96 Liverpool fans died as a result of a crush on the stadium's terraces. Hillsborough was seen as an unsuitable location for the film, partly to avoid causing further distress to survivors and bereaved families, and partly because the appearance of Gigg Lane was more akin to the 1989 Hillsborough than the actual stadium was seven years after the tragedy due to redevelopment.[14]

The stadium has been used for many sports other than football, such as rugby league (Swinton Lions played at Gigg Lane between 1992 and 2002), cricket, baseball and lacrosse.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Gordon Sorfleet (18 June 2012). "Gigg Lane, the home of Bury Football Club". Bury FC. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  2. ^ Paul Handler. "Gigg Lane renamed JD Stadium after Bury FC strike commercial deal". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  3. ^ Ben Collins (7 July 2015). "Bury FC to change name of JD Stadium after bagging new sponsorship deal". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Bury planning new 15-20,000 capacity stadium by 2018-19 season, says chairman Stewart Day". Sky Sports News. 5 October 2016.
  5. ^ Given the change of club ownership in December 2018 and the terms of the February 2019 deal with Planet-U Energy, it would seem that the new ground idea has been shelved although there has been no official confirmation of that intention.
  6. ^ "Steve Dale becomes new Bury owner". BBC Sport. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  7. ^ Brad Marshall (19 February 2019). "Renewable energy firm announce sponsorship deal with Bury FC". Bury Times. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Bury FC in stadium naming rights deal". Sport Industry Group. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Gigg Lane, home of Bury FC, to be renamed the Planet-U Energy Stadium". Brief Report. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Bury's Gigg Lane renamed in renewable energy drive". TheStadiumBusiness. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  11. ^ The Les Hart Stand Archived 4 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine buryfc.co.uk
  12. ^ "New Scoreboard installed". Buryfc.co.uk. 17 May 2011. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  13. ^ "The Neville Neville Stand". www.buryfc.co.uk. Bury Football Club. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  14. ^ Hillsborough on IMDb

External linksEdit