Turf Moor

Turf Moor is a football stadium in Burnley, Lancashire, England, which has been the home ground of Burnley F.C. since 1883. This unbroken service makes Turf Moor the second-longest continuously used ground in English professional football. The stadium, which is situated on Harry Potts Way, named so after the club's longest serving manager, has an official capacity of 21,944.

Turf Moor
James Hargreaves Stand Burnley.jpg
James Hargreaves Stand in 2001
Turf Moor is located in Burnley
Turf Moor
Turf Moor
Location in Burnley
LocationBurnley, Lancashire, England
Coordinates53°47′21″N 2°13′49″W / 53.78917°N 2.23028°W / 53.78917; -2.23028Coordinates: 53°47′21″N 2°13′49″W / 53.78917°N 2.23028°W / 53.78917; -2.23028
OwnerBurnley F.C.
OperatorBurnley F.C.
Field size105 by 68 metres (114.8 yd × 74.4 yd)
Broke ground1833 (as a cricket ground)
Burnley Cricket Club (1833–1883)
Burnley F.C. (1883–present)
Burnley Belvedere F.C. (1902–1904)

The ground originally consisted of just a pitch and the first grandstand was not built until 1885. Six years after this, the "Stars" Stand was erected and terracing was later added to the ends of the ground. After the Second World War, the stadium was redeveloped with all four stands being rebuilt. Turf Moor underwent further refurbishment during the 1990s when the Longside and the Bee Hole End terraces were replaced by all-seater stands following the recommendations of the Taylor Report. The ground comprises four stands: the Bob Lord Stand, the Cricket Field Stand, the James Hargreaves Stand and the Jimmy McIlroy Stand.

Burnley played their first match at the ground in February 1883 and lost 3–6 to local side Rawtenstall. In 1886, Turf Moor became the first football ground to be visited by a member of the Royal Family, when Prince Albert Victor attended a match between Burnley and Bolton Wanderers. The first Football League match at the ground took place in October 1888, Fred Poland netting the first league goal at the stadium. In 1922, Turf Moor hosted its only FA Cup semi-final, between Huddersfield Town and Notts County. The record attendance at Turf Moor was set in 1924 when 54,755 people attended an FA Cup third round tie between Burnley and Huddersfield Town. The stadium was the venue of an international match between England and Wales in 1927.


Sport was first played at the Turf Moor site in 1833, when Burnley Cricket Club was founded and made an area which encompasses the current football ground their home.[1] In 1878, Burnley Rovers played Bacup under rugby rules on the cricket field in the first ever match under artificial light at the stadium.[2] In February 1883, the cricket club invited association football team Burnley F.C., Rovers' successor which had been formed in 1882,[3] to move from their original home at Calder Vale to a pitch adjacent to the cricket field.[1][4] The club's first football match at its new ground took place on 17 February, when it lost 3–6 against Rawtenstall.[3][5] Attendances at the ground during the early years averaged at around 2,000, although a crowd of 12,000 descended on the stadium in March 1884 to see Burnley lose 2–4 to local rivals Padiham.[6] For the first two years, spectators were forced to congregate around the pitch, so in 1885 the club built an 800-seater wooden grandstand along the Brunshaw Road side (the south side) of the ground and installed terracing for 5,000 people at the ends of the pitch.[1][5] The following year, Turf Moor became the first senior football ground to be visited by a member of the Royal Family when Prince Albert Victor attended a match between Burnley and Bolton Wanderers in October 1886, while visiting the town to open a new hospital.[5][7]

Turf Moor in 1905

Turf Moor hosted its first Football League match on 6 October 1888, when Burnley won 4–1 against Bolton Wanderers. Five minutes into the game, Burnley forward Fred Poland scored the first ever league goal at the ground.[8] In 1891, Burnley Union Star F.C. disbanded, abandoning their ground, which was completed with its own grandstand. Burnley bought the stand and moved it to Turf Moor; it became known as the "Stars" Stand and was erected on the north side of the ground.[1] In March of the same year, Turf Moor hosted its first floodlit football match. Sixteen creosote-fuelled lamps were placed on poles at intervals along the sides of the pitch, and spectators reported that while the edges of the field were sufficiently lit, there was a dark area in the centre. Burnley defeated Nelson 4–2 in front of 3,000 people.[1]

Aerial photograph of Turf Moor in 1929

The "Stars" Stand was demolished in 1898 and replaced by a larger grandstand, although it was still referred to as the "Stars" Stand. Five years later, a second tier was built on the Brunshaw Road Stand to accommodate club offices and in September of that year, Turf Moor was able to host the club's annual general meeting for the first time. In March 1909, the "Stars" Stand was extended, with new turnstiles and barricades erected in preparation for the FA Cup quarter-final against reigning Football League champions Manchester United.[1][5] In the spring of 1911, plans were unveiled for the rebuilding of the Brunshaw Road Stand, with former Burnley forward Arthur Bell the architect for the project.[1] A strike amongst railway workers delayed the deliveries of steelwork for the new roof but spectators were still able to use the stand in time for Burnley's first home league game of the 1911–12 season against Leeds City. However, work on the dressing rooms had not been completed, and players from both teams were forced to change in the adjoining cricket pavilion. The newly erected stand cost the club £5,000 (£513,000 as of 2020) and could accommodate over 5,500 spectators, including 2,200 seated places, increasing the capacity of Turf Moor to just under 41,000.[9]

In 1913, the Burnley directors decided to demolish the "Stars" Stand for a second time, just 15 years after it had been rebuilt. In the same year, the Brunshaw Road Stand was further extended to run the whole length of the pitch and in 1914, a roof was constructed to cover the terracing at the Cricket Field End, thus increasing the capacity of the ground to around 50,000.[5][9] This was done under the auspices of the chairman Harry Windle and was partly funded by the club's 1914 FA Cup win.[10] In 1922, Turf Moor hosted its only FA Cup semi-final; a crowd of over 46,000 turned out to see Huddersfield Town achieve a 3–1 victory over Notts County.[9] In February 1924, a crowd of over 50,000 saw Burnley secure a 1–0 win over Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup third round.[5][11] The attendance was later confirmed to be 54,775, a home record for Burnley. However, one supporter lost his life in a human crush as a result of the large crowd.[5] Three years later, Turf Moor hosted its only full international fixture when England played Wales. England lost the match 2–1, with Burnley captain Jack Hill scoring an own goal to give the visitors the win. In 1932, Burnley's newly-founded supporters' club raised funds to install a hut and a scoreboard at the Bee Hole End. Six years later, plans were announced to build a new covered terrace on the site of the old "Stars" Stand, but these plans were delayed by the outbreak of the Second World War.[9]

The plans came to fruition after the war, and the Longside was completed in 1954. The club spent £20,000 (£552,000 as of 2020) on the roof alone and the terrace was built using help from players of the Burnley youth team.[4] Three years later, the club also installed permanent floodlights and were first used during a friendly against rivals Blackburn Rovers.[5] On 16 November 1960, the stadium was the venue of Burnley's first ever match in the European Cup. Jimmy Robson and Jimmy McIlroy both scored early in the first half as Burnley recorded a 2–0 victory over Stade de Reims.[12][13] In 1969, a new stand was built at a cost of £180,000 (£2.98 million as of 2020) called the Cricket Field End that incorporated changing rooms and a players' tunnel, which had previously been a part of the Brunshaw Road Stand.[4][14] Under-seat heating was installed in the Cricket Field, but it never came into operation as chairman Bob Lord deemed it uneconomical.[15]

The pitch and the Bob Lord Stand

The club also constructed an open terrace in the Bee Hole End, which had a capacity of around 7,000. It had no roof, but the terrace was very popular among supporters.[4] Redevelopment continued and in 1974, Lord hired Cambridge Soil Services to relay the Turf Moor pitch, and the work also incorporated new drainage technology and under-soil heating, but both would never be used.[15] The pitch was raised and the slope that had previously existed was minimised.[4] Lord then replaced the Brunshaw Road Stand with a single-tier stand named after himself, which was opened in 1974 by former prime minister Edward Heath.[5] The stand held 2,500 supporters and cost £450,000 (£4.72 million as of 2020),[4] which was paid for in part by the sale of Martin Dobson to Everton and caused some fans to dub it the "Martin Dobson Stand".[5] The floodlights that had been installed in 1957 were replaced in 1975.[4]

A tragedy occurred in 1992 when 17-year-old apprentice footballer Ben Lee was killed in a fall from the roof of the Longside Stand, when trying to retrieve a football.[16]

The Taylor Report from 1990 had proposed the introduction of all-seater stadiums in the top two divisions by 1994–95.[17] Burnley competed that season in the second tier, but were swiftly relegated back to the third tier.[12] As a result of the team's season in the second level, Burnley were granted a sum of £2.25 million (£4.36 million as of 2020) by the Football Trust in April 1995 to convert Turf Moor into a all-seater stadium, which had to be acted upon within twelve months.[18][19] In September, the club contracted Lincolnshire-based company Linpave to build two new stands in place of the Longside and the Bee Hold End terraces at a total cost of £5.2 million (£10.1 million as of 2020).[20] On 16 September, the last ever match was played in front of the Longside when Burnley won 2–1 against Hull City.[19][21] The stand was subsequently demolished and the two-tiered North Stand was built in its place, which opened in April 1996 for the visit of Bristol Rovers.[20][22] It was later renamed the James Hargreaves Stand due to a six-figure sponsorship deal.[23] A day after the North Stand opened, demolition of the Bee Hole End started, with work on the two stands finally completed in September 1996, taking the capacity of the stadium to 22,619. The new stand was named the Jimmy McIlroy Stand, in honour of the former Burnley player.[4]

The Jimmy McIlroy Stand in 2009

In July 2007, Burnley revealed plans for a £20 million (£28 million as of 2020) redevelopment of Turf Moor and their Gawthorpe training ground, split in six phases and expected to be completed by 2010.[24][25] Among the plans was the demolition of the Cricket Field Stand, and the construction of a new stand that would incorporate a hotel, restaurant, business centre and cricket pavilion.[24][26] Planning permission for the first stage of developments was granted in April 2008,[27] but in October, the project was delayed by the club as a result of the global financial crisis.[28] Further developments were also put on hold due to Burnley's relegation from the Premier League in 2010.[29]

Turf Moor and the club's training complex Gawthorpe returned to Burnley ownership again in 2013, after both were sold to Longside Properties in 2006 to resolve financial problems following the 2002 ITV Digital collapse.[30][31] Following promotion back to the Premier League in 2014,[32] the players' tunnel was relocated to the corner between the James Hargreaves Stand and the away end.[33] In 2019, the wooden seats in the away section of the Cricket Field Stand were replaced with plastic seats.[34] The club also built two new corner stands for disabled home supporters between the Jimmy McIlroy Stand and both the James Hargreaves and Bob Lord Stands in the same year to meet the Accessible Stadium Guide (ASG) regulations.[35][36]

Structure and facilitiesEdit

Panorama of Turf Moor (2011), with the Cricket Field Stand to the left, James Hargreaves Stand opposite and the Jimmy McIlroy Stand to the right

The pitch at Turf Moor is surrounded by four stands: the Bob Lord Stand, the Cricket Field Stand, the James Hargreaves Stand and the Jimmy McIlroy Stand. The two newest stands, the James Hargreaves Stand and the Jimmy McIlroy Stand, both have two tiers, while the Bob Lord and Cricket Field are both single-tiered. Visiting supporters are seated in the Cricket Field Stand.[37] The stadium has a total capacity of 21,944,[38] which is approximately one seat for every three inhabitants of the town—one of the best ratios per capita in English football.[39][40]

The James Hargreaves Stand, constructed in 1996,[4] was originally known as the North Stand.[23] It can accommodate around 8,000 spectators and runs parallel to the length of the pitch.[41][42] The television gantry and the press box are both situated at the back of the stand.[43] Since 2005, both the stand's suite and the home dressing room have been licensed to hold civil wedding services.[44] The James Hargreaves Suite can also be used for banqueting events.[45]

The club shop is situated between the Bob Lord (left) and the Jimmy McIlroy (right) Stands

The Jimmy McIlroy Stand was erected in 1996 and is situated at the eastern side of the pitch with an approximate capacity of 6,500.[41][42] The upper tier of the stand is the designated family area and like the James Hargreaves Stand, it has a number of corporate hospitality boxes.[42][46] A memorial garden is located behind the stand and includes a Turf Moor dugout replica with an image of manager Brian Miller with his hands aloft, which was taken before the match against Orient in 1987.[47][48]

The Bob Lord Stand, constructed in 1974,[5] has a capacity of around 3,000 and runs parallel with the Harry Potts Way (named so after the manager who won the 1959–60 First Division with Burnley).[49][50] It houses the club's trophy room as well as the directors' box and a corporate area.[49] The Burnley club shop is located between the Bob Lord and Jimmy McIlroy Stands.[38][51] The Cricket Field Stand, built in 1969, is the oldest stand at Turf Moor.[4][37] The stand houses the home and away fans and has a capacity of around 4,000.[37][38] It backs onto the pavilion of Burnley Cricket Club and contains both teams' dressing rooms as well as the officials' lounge.[26][49]

In 2011, Burnley opened the world's first higher education institution to deliver university degrees in the football and sports industry at Turf Moor known as the University Campus of Football Business (UCFB).[52][53] Since then, other campus locations were opened at Wembley Stadium, London, and at the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester.[54]

A popular drink served at Turf Moor since the First World War is "Béné & Hot"—the French liqueur Bénédictine topped up with hot water. The East Lancashire Regiment soldiers acquired a taste for the drink while stationed at the birthplace of the beverage in Fécamp, Normandy, during the war. They drank it with hot water to keep warm in the trenches, and the surviving soldiers later returned to the East Lancashire area with the liqueur. In excess of 30 bottles are sold at each home game, which makes the club one of the world's biggest sellers of Bénédictine; Turf Moor is the only British football ground to sell it.[55]

Other usesEdit

The stadium was used for a game between the Football League XI and the Scottish Football League XI in 1914. The Scots beat their English counterparts 3–2, which included Burnley players Teddy Hodgson, Eddie Mosscrop and Tommy Boyle, who scored a penalty kick.[2] In 1922, the ground hosted its only FA Cup semi-final and in 1927, it staged its only full international fixture when England played Wales.[9] During the 1983 UEFA European Under-18 Football Championship, the stadium hosted another international, between Czechoslovakia and West Germany.[56] The England women's national football team played their first match at the ground in September 2003 against Australia, which was Turf Moor's first international women's match, although it had already hosted its first women's match in 1920, when Dick Kerr's Ladies defeated Liverpool Ladies 5–0 in a charity fixture.[57]

England B and England's junior sides have also played at the stadium on several occasions, at under-21, under-20 and schoolboy levels.[56] In 2007, Turf Moor hosted a friendly international between England B and Albania. Although the game was not officially recognised as a full international, a number of players from the England first-team played in the game.[56] The most recent international at the ground came in 2014 when England U21 played against Portugal U21, with two goals from Burnley striker Danny Ings in a 3–1 win for England.[58]

The ground has also been the home stadium of football clubs other than Burnley. From 1902 to 1904, the club shared Turf Moor with Burnley Belvedere, who were members of the Lancashire Amateur League. [57] In 1993, the FA Cup first round tie between Accrington Stanley and Scunthorpe United was held at Turf Moor as Stanley's Crown Ground did not meet the FA's requirements.[56][59] During the late 1980s, local club Colne Dynamoes were rapidly progressing through the English non-league system. Colne's chairman-manager, Graham White, had a proposal rejected by the Burnley board for a groundshare of their ground, as he even attempted to buy the club in 1989.[60]

The stadium has been used for other sports than cricket and football, including horse racing in 1840,[61] rugby in 1878, an exhibition lacrosse match in 1912, and an American football game in 1987.[57]


Turf Moor has been Burnley's home ground since 1883. This unbroken service makes the stadium is the second-longest continuously used ground in English professional football, behind Preston North End's Deepdale.[4]

The highest attendance recorded at Turf Moor is 54,775 for a match against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup third round on 23 February 1924.[4][11] In 1960, in an FA Cup fifth round replay game against Bradford City, there was an official attendance of 52,850. Some of the gates were broken down, however, and many uncounted fans poured into the ground.[62] The highest attendance in a league match is 52,869 against Blackpool in the First Division on 11 October 1947.[63][64] The lowest attendance recorded at the ground is 400 for the Second Division fixtures against Barnsley and Gainsborough Trinity on 30 March 1901 and 8 March 1902, respectively.[65] The highest seasonal average attendance at the stadium for Burnley was 33,621 in the First Division in 1947–48,[66] while the lowest average home attendance was 1,500 in 1902–03 in the Second Division.[67]

The club is one of the best supported sides in English football per capita,[40] with average attendances of 20,000 in the Premier League in a town of approximately 73,000 inhabitants.[68][69]


Turf Moor is approximately 0.5 miles (0.80 km) east from Burnley's town centre.[70] As most of the stadium's surrounding streets have parking restrictions on matchday, supporters are advised to park at the adjoining cricket club or to use the car parks in the surrounding area.[41][71] The closest railway station to the ground in terms of walking distance is Burnley Manchester Road, which is a 15-minute walk away. The other train station is Burnley Central, which is a 20-minute walk from Turf Moor and is mostly served by local trains.[72] The Burnley bus station is relatively close to the ground; a bus ride to Turf Moor takes about five minutes.[41]


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External linksEdit