Meadowbank Stadium (officially the Meadowbank Sports Centre) is a multi-purpose sports facility located in the Meadowbank area of Edinburgh, Scotland. Built on the site of the earlier New Meadowbank and Old Meadowbank sports venues, it was originally built to host the 1970 Commonwealth Games. It also hosted the Games in 1986, becoming the first venue to host the Games twice. It is the current home of Scottish League One side Edinburgh City.

Meadowbank Stadium
Redeveloped Meadowbank's pitch, track and small stand in front of indoor sport facility (2023)
Meadowbank Stadium is located in the City of Edinburgh council area
Meadowbank Stadium
Meadowbank Stadium
Location within the City of Edinburgh council area
Former namesNew Meadowbank, Old Meadowbank
LocationMeadowbank, Edinburgh, Scotland
Coordinates55°57′25″N 3°9′31″W / 55.95694°N 3.15861°W / 55.95694; -3.15861
TypeOutdoor Sports / Concert Stadium
Seating typeIndividual backed seats in stand, bench seats all other areas
Capacity1,320 (500 seated)[1]
Opened1970; 54 years ago (1970)
Renovated1994, 1999, 2017–2022
Meadowbank Thistle F.C. (1974–1995)
Edinburgh City (1996–2017; 2022–)
Edinburgh Rugby (2002–2004)
Leith Athletic F.C. (3G pitch, 2013–2017)
Hibernian W.F.C. (2022–)
Edinburgh Leisure

The stadium has also regularly hosted football. It was the home ground of Scottish Football League team Meadowbank Thistle between 1974 and 1995, becoming the first all-seated football ground in the UK in the process, it hosted senior non-league football as the home ground of Edinburgh City. League football returned to Meadowbank in 2016 following City's promotion to the Scottish Professional Football League.[2] The Meadowbank complex also hosted Leith Athletic, which played on the Meadowbank 3G artificial pitch adjacent to the main stadium since 2013.

In the early months of 2019 the stadium was demolished and work begun on construction of its replacement. In 2022, following the completion of construction, Edinburgh City returned to Meadowbank.

Meadowbank Stadium was also used for rugby union as the home venue of Edinburgh Rugby between 2002 and 2004.

Layout edit

The stadium has a single stand with a capacity of 500.[3] Before the stadium was closed for redevelopment work in 2017, the capacity of the stadium was 5,000.[4]

Uses edit

View of football match from Meadowbank's original stand

Commonwealth Games edit

Meadowbank Stadium was built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games, at a cost of £2.8 million.[5] It was opened by Prince Edward, Duke of Kent on 2 May 1970.[5] The 1970 Games was one of the most successful in the history of the event.[6][7] The 1986 Commonwealth Games were also held at Meadowbank, which became the first venue to host the Commonwealth Games twice.[5] The 1986 Games suffered a financial deficit and were widely boycotted due to the support of the British Government for the apartheid regime in South Africa.[6][7]

The stadium once had its own railway station which was built for the 1986 Commonwealth Games.

Football edit

Meadowbank Thistle played at the stadium from 1974.[8] It was often cited as one of the worst grounds used in the Scottish Football League due to the lack of atmosphere, caused by the stadium having a capacity of 5,000 but Meadowbank typically attracting crowds of less than 1,000;[8] most fans were located on one side of the ground, while the running track created a great distance between the fans and the pitch. Meadowbank Thistle announced their intention to leave the stadium and relocate to the new town of Livingston in 1995, when their lease expired.[8] Their last game as Meadowbank Thistle was played in May 1995, although they continued to play at Meadowbank Stadium as Livingston until their new Almondvale Stadium was ready in November of that year.[8]

Edinburgh City moved into the stadium after Meadowbank left[8] – their first fixture there as an SPFL club in July 2016 happened to be against Livingston in the Scottish League Cup[2] – and they were joined there by Leith Athletic (from the East of Scotland League). Hibernian have also played some of their reserve team matches at Meadowbank.[9]

Edinburgh City moved back into Meadowbank in July 2022 after it reopened, along with the Hibernian women's team.[10]

Music edit

Meadowbank Stadium prior to performance by Radiohead at the 2006 T on the Fringe, taken from the main seating area

Meadowbank was used as a 25,000 capacity concert venue during T on the Fringe, an annual music festival. Muse, My Chemical Romance, Snow Patrol, Radiohead, Pixies, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, Kaiser Chiefs and Razorlight all played the venue between 2005 and 2007. In 2008, T on the Fringe was renamed The Edge Festival and the stadium was no longer used as one of the main venues.

In 1989, Simple Minds played Meadowbank on their Street Fighting Years Tour after switching from Murrayfield. The switch was due to the band's passionate anti-apartheid beliefs clashing with the Scottish Rugby Union's decision to play in South Africa at the time.

Rifle edit

Meadowbank housed both a 10-metre airgun range and a 50metre indoor range for smallbore rifle shooting in the 1970s and 1980s. The range was closed in 1990 but refurbished in 2014 ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow for use as a training venue by Scottish Target Shooting's High Performance Squad.[11] The range remained in use until the site's closure in 2017. The new Meadowbank plans do not include facilities for target sports despite Edinburgh athlete Seonaid McIntosh having earned one of TeamGB's first quota places to the 2020 Summer Olympics.[12]

Basketball edit

Meadowbank stadium had basketball facilities in three of its large halls, but they were only rarely available to the public.

Edinburgh Rocks basketball team used one of the large halls until they moved to the Braehead Arena, and were renamed Scottish Rocks.

Track cycling edit

Meadowbank Stadium track

Meadowbank velodrome was home to the East of Scotland regional track cycling academy. The 250-metre track made of African timber was built by Schuermann Architects of Germany for the 1986 Commonwealth Games.[13][14][15] It was the home track of Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean. Proposals published in December 2013 suggested that the velodrome be sold off for housing to fund the redevelopment of the main stadium.[16] Usage of the track declined over the years – mainly due to the construction of the Commonwealth Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, which is a track of a much better standard. A local bicycle club, Edinburgh Road Club, continued to hosted some events on the old track[17] until it was finally closed on Saturday 2 September 2017[18]

Rugby edit

Old Meadowbank Stadium

Professional rugby union club Edinburgh Gunners used the venue from 2002 until they moved to Murrayfield Stadium in 2004.[19][20]

Boxing edit

The Meadowbank Stadium was used for many boxing events, Hall 1 was the location for fighters including Alex Arthur, Ricky Burns etc. It was last used on 14 April 2012 when Arthur staged his self-promoted "Homecoming" fight event for the return of Craig McEwan to Edinburgh.

Taekwondo edit

The stadium was used in November 2014 to host the Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships.

Juggling edit

Meadowbank was the venue for the European Juggling Convention in 1998.

Snooker edit

The sports centre welcomed the professional World Snooker Tour for the 2022 Scottish Open, after the tournament lost its traditional home in nearby Glasgow. The venue will be the tournaments’ open for the next few years.

Redevelopment and renovation edit

Threatened trees outside at Edinburgh's dilapidated Meadowbank Stadium in November 2018

In 2006 the City of Edinburgh Council published plans to demolish Meadowbank Stadium, selling the site for housing.[21] Meadowbank would have been replaced with a smaller community facility on the east side of the city and a stadium for athletics and rugby was to be built to the west of the city, probably in Sighthill.[21] The draft Meadowbank Development Brief was approved by the council on 7 December 2006 for consultation.[22]

The Development Brief stated that "housing is the most appropriate alternative use of the site" and that "high density development is acceptable in principle".[22] The consultation ran until 28 March 2007, after which the council leader Ewan Aitken admitted that the council should have consulted more with the users of Meadowbank.[23] More than 6000 people signed a petition objecting to the proposal, while 600 marched from the stadium to the City Chambers, as part of a Save Meadowbank campaign.[22] The proposal was cast into doubt due to problems with the Sighthill Stadium project, which was scrapped in 2007.[24] On 13 March 2008, Edinburgh Council voted to sell the land that is occupied by Meadowbank stadium and build a smaller sports facility on east of the site.[24][25][26] X-Factor winner Leon Jackson, who was campaigning to save Meadowbank, played at its annual fireworks display on 5 November 2008.[27] The proposals to sell Meadowbank were put on hold in 2009, after a decline in Edinburgh land prices.[28]

In February 2013, the City of Edinburgh Council started a new consultation process about its future.[28] Three options for redeveloping Meadowbank were put forward for consideration by Edinburgh Council in December 2013.[29] A planned design was made public in November 2016.[30] Work was expected to begin after the 2016–17 football season ended.[31] Edinburgh City reached an agreement with Spartans to use their Ainslie Park ground for three seasons while Meadowbank was being redeveloped.[32] A final annual fireworks display was held on 5 November 2017.[33]

The stadium was closed for the redevelopment works in December 2017, and the new facilities were due to open in the spring of 2020.[34][35] Planning applications for detailed approval for the new sports centre and in principle for development of the rest of the site were published in January 2018.[36][37]

In July 2018, the Council approved detailed plans for the new Meadowbank Sports Centre and the redevelopment of land surrounding it for housing, student accommodation, hotel and commercial use.[38] A council consultation opened on 20 August 2018 and closed on 31 October.[39] Work began in 2019 and was completed by 2021, and Edinburgh City announced in March 2021 that they would return to Meadowbank for the 2021–22 football season.[3] This did not happen due to ongoing works at Meadowbank, and Edinburgh City stayed at Ainslie Park for another year.[40]

Gallery edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Edinburgh's new Meadowbank Sports Centre opens: Here's a look inside". Edinburgh News. 18 July 2022. Retrieved 18 May 2023.
  2. ^ a b Livingston return to Meadowbank 'where it all began, The Scotsman, 19 July 2016
  3. ^ a b McGlade, Neil (31 March 2021). "Edinburgh City set for Meadowbank return in 'major step' for club". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Edinburgh City Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Archived from the original on 22 May 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Inglis 1987, p. 341
  6. ^ a b "Glasgow makes final call for 2014 games". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 9 May 2007. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  7. ^ a b Buttle, Cameron (7 March 2013). "The good and bad of Commonwealth Games". BBC News. BBC. Archived from the original on 7 February 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e Inglis 1996, p. 455
  9. ^ "McManus impresses as Smith earns Hibs reserves a draw". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. 14 February 2007. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  10. ^ McPartlin, Patrick (11 July 2022). "Hibs announce formal partnership with FC Edinburgh with Hibs Women set to benefit from tie-up". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  11. ^ "Glasgow 2014: Meadowbank helps Glasgow hit target". The Scotsman. JPIMedia Ltd. 1 February 2014. Archived from the original on 28 April 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Shooting World Championships 2018: Seonaid McIntosh earns 2020 Olympics quota place". BBC Sport. BBC. 8 September 2018. Archived from the original on 11 October 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Bicycle Tracks & Velodromes". Bike Cult. 25 July 2005. Archived from the original on 4 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  14. ^ "A trip to the Calshot track". Archived from the original on 25 March 2005.
  15. ^ "CYCLE TRACKS: List of References no. 50-100". Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  16. ^ "Sir Chris Hoy laments loss of Meadowbank velodrome". BBC Sport. BBC. 12 December 2013. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  17. ^ "Edinburgh Road Club events". August 2015. Archived from the original on 9 September 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  18. ^ Meadowbank Celebration as Velodrome Closes its Doors
  19. ^ "Edinburgh make Meadowbank their home". ESPN Scrum. ESPN Sports Media. 19 July 2002. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  20. ^ "Edinburgh switch home games to Murrayfield". ESPN Scrum. ESPN Sports Media. 22 July 2004. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  21. ^ a b "City sets sights on sports vision". BBC News. BBC. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  22. ^ a b c (Council's Development Brief Archived 24 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine)
  23. ^ McAlinden, Mona (30 March 2007). "'Mistakes made' over Meadowbank". BBC News. BBC. Archived from the original on 19 March 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  24. ^ a b "Call for Meadowbank plan rethink". BBC News. BBC. 8 April 2008. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  25. ^ "New Build Options for Meadowbank". BBC News. BBC. Archived from the original on 19 March 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  26. ^ National and Regional Sports facilities progress report[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "X Factor's Leon to perform at firework display". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. Archived from the original on 29 October 2008. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
  28. ^ a b "Future of Meadowbank Stadium unclear as council opens negotiations". STV. 8 February 2013. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  29. ^ "Three options considered for Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh". BBC News. BBC. 10 December 2013. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  30. ^ "New Meadowbank Stadium design plans unveiled". BBC News. BBC. 10 November 2016. Archived from the original on 25 September 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  31. ^ Temple, Alan (28 April 2017). "Pitch invasions, Manchester United & DIY: Emotional Edinburgh City prepare for Meadowbank farewell". Deadline News. Archived from the original on 30 April 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  32. ^ Pilcher, Ross (29 March 2017). "Edinburgh City and Spartans confirm three-season groundshare". Edinburgh Evening News. Archived from the original on 9 May 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  33. ^ "Final fireworks display held at Meadowbank Stadium". STV News. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  34. ^ "Edinburgh's Meadowbank Stadium to close in December". BBC News. BBC. 14 September 2017. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  35. ^ "Meadowbank to close its doors for the last time". BBC News. BBC. 1 December 2017. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  36. ^ "18/00181/FUL | Re-development of Meadowbank Sports Centre. The detailed proposals include the development of a new sports centre facility, including a new sports centre building with offices for Edinburgh Leisure, the retained athletics track, new spectator stand, sports pitches and floodlighting, with associated access, roads, car parking, landscaping and ancillary works. | 139 London Road Edinburgh EH7 6AE". Archived from the original on 29 November 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  37. ^ "18/00154/PPP | Proposed redevelopment of existing Sports Centre site to provide new Sports Centre facilities and redevelopment of surplus land for mixed uses including residential, student accommodation, hotel and commercial uses, together with car parking, landscaping, drainage and ancillary works. | 139 London Road Edinburgh EH7 6AE". Archived from the original on 29 November 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  38. ^ "Meadowbank move clears its final hurdles but public trust has fallen, Scotsman, 30 June 2018". Archived from the original on 29 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  39. ^ "Meadowbank Masterplan, City of Edinburgh". Archived from the original on 29 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  40. ^ Delaney, James (3 May 2022). "Meadowbank Stadium 'finishing line in sight' as delayed arena to open". STV News. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  • Inglis, Simon (1987). Football Grounds of Britain. Collins Willow. ISBN 0-00-218249-1.
  • Inglis, Simon (1996). Football Grounds of Britain. Collins Willow. ISBN 0-00-218426-5.

External links edit