Rugby Park
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Rugby Park, also known as The BBSP Stadium Rugby Park for sponsorship reasons, is a
football Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, Kick (football), kicking a Football (ball), ball to score a Goal (sport), goal. Unqualified, Football (word), the word ''football'' normally means the form of football tha ...
stadium A stadium (plural, : stadiums or stadia) is a place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a tiered structure designed to allow spectators to ...
situated in the Scottish
town A town is a human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a minuscule number of dwellings group ...
of
Kilmarnock Kilmarnock (, sco, Kilmaurnock; gd, Cill Mheàrnaig (IPA: ʰʲɪʎˈveaːɾnəkʲ, "Marnock's church") is a large town and former burgh in East Ayrshire, Scotland and is the administrative centre of East Ayrshire, East Ayrshire Council. ...
. It was first used in 1899 and is the home of Kilmarnock F.C. Rugby Park has also been used for concerts, with
Elton John Sir Elton Hercules John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight; 25 March 1947) is a British singer, pianist and composer. Commonly nicknamed the "Rocket Man" after Rocket Man (song), his 1972 hit single of the same name, John has led a commercially s ...
playing to 15,000 in a first for the venue. In 2002, the club constructed the Park Hotel, a 4-star hotel complex next to the ground. The stadium underwent a major redevelopment in 1994–1995, becoming an
all-seater An all-seater stadium is a sport, sports stadium in which every spectator has a seat. This is commonplace in professional association football stadiums in nations such as the United Kingdom, Spain, and the Netherlands. Most association football a ...
stadium with a capacity of . During 1994–95 season the stadium capacity was significantly reduced as a result of the construction of three new stands within the groups which were the Moffat Stand, the Chadwick Stand and the East Stand. The completion of these three stands reduced the capacity of the stadium to 18,128. The renovated stadium opened on 6 August 1995, with a friendly match against Blackburn Rovers F.C. Rugby Park has since undergone recent developments regarding further renovations, with an
artificial pitch Artificial turf is a surface of synthetic fiber Synthetic fibers or synthetic fibres (in British English; American and British English spelling differences#-re, -er, see spelling differences) are fibers made by humans through chemical syn ...
being installed in the summer of 2014, safe standing available from November 2019 and underground heating installed underneath the pitch in 1999. In August 2010, the West Stand was renamed the Frank Beattie Stand in honour of former player Frank Beattie who captained Kilmarnock to the historic Scottish League Championship victory in 1965. As well as football matches, Rugby Park has also hosted rugby matches, most recently between
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
and Georgia in July 2016. The venue has also hosted four international football matches for the
Scotland national football team The Scotland national football team gd, Sgioba Ball-coise Nàiseanta na h-Alba sco, Scotland National Fitbaa Team represents Scotland in men's international Association football, football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. ...
in 1894, 1910 and two most recently in 1997.


History


Early years

Kilmarnock played at three other sites (The Grange, Holm Quarry and Ward's Park) in their early years, before the club moved to Rugby Park in December 1877. This was not the precise site of the present stadium, as the field is now covered by Charles Street. The current site was decided by Ross Quigley whom was Kilmarnock's first director. The grounds were shared by
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bails b ...
and rugby teams – sports which Kilmarnock had played previously – and the connection with rugby gave the ground its name. Rugby Park hosted its first international match in March 1894, when
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
won 5–2 against
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
. By this time, the pitch had been moved to its current position. The ground was largely rebuilt and inaugurated with a match against then-champions
Celtic Celtic, Celtics or Keltic may refer to: Language and ethnicity *pertaining to Celts The Celts (, see Names of the Celts#Pronunciation, pronunciation for different usages) or Celtic peoples () are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time pe ...
on 26 August 1899, when Kilmarnock fought back from a 2–0 deficit to secure a draw. It was their first match in the top tier of Scottish football, having won the Second Division the previous season. Originally, the ground was constructed with a
running track An all-weather running track is a rubberized, artificial Race track#Surfaces, running surface for track and field athletics. It provides a consistent surface for competitors to test their athletic ability unencumbered by adverse weather conditi ...
around its edge, a
pavilion In architecture, ''pavilion'' has several meanings: * It may be a subsidiary building that is either positioned separately or as an attachment to a main building. Often it is associated with pleasure. In palaces and traditional mansions of Asia ...
and a stand along the west side. This layout meant that Rugby Park was similar to
Ibrox Park Ibrox Stadium is a football stadium on the south side of the River Clyde The River Clyde ( gd, Abhainn Chluaidh, , sco, Clyde Watter, or ) is a river that flows into the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. It is the ninth-longest river in the ...
, which opened four months later. The pavilion and stand were linked in 1914, which produced 1,900 seats in a total capacity of 20,000. In 1935 a cover was added to part of the south terrace. This terracing was later dubbed the
Johnnie Walker Johnnie Walker is a brand of Scotch whisky now owned by Diageo that originated in the Scottish burgh of Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire. The brand was first established by grocer John Walker. It is the most widely distributed brand of blended Sc ...
stand, due to the company having an advert on the roof. During the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western ...
installed large oil storage tanks on the pitch. The club was not compensated, but Italian
prisoners of war A prisoner of war (POW) is a person who is held Captivity, captive by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1610. Belligerents hold priso ...
helped to extend the north terrace.
Floodlights A floodlight is a broad-beamed, gas discharge lamp#High-intensity discharge lamps, high-intensity artificial light. They are often used to illuminate outdoor playing fields while an outdoor sports event is Night game, being held during low-li ...
were installed and first used in an October 1953 friendly match against
Manchester United Manchester () is a city in Greater Manchester, England. It had a population of 552,000 in 2021. It is bordered by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and the neighbouring city of City of Salford, Salford to ...
. A roof was added to the east terrace in 1959, and the West (Main) Stand was renovated during the 1960–61 season. Rugby Park set its record attendance in March 1962, when 35,995 fans saw Kilmarnock lose 4–2 to Rangers in the 1961–62 Scottish Cup. This was a successful era for the club, as they finished runners-up in the league four times and won the league championship in 1964–65.


Renovations

Safety regulations cut the capacity of Rugby Park to 17,528 by the 1980s, but this figure was rarely troubled as the club fell to the Second Division. The
Taylor Report The Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquiry report is the report of an inquiry which was overseen by Peter Taylor, Baron Taylor of Gosforth, Lord Justice Taylor, into the causes of the Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, o ...
, published in January 1990, recommended that British stadiums should become all-seater. Around the same time, a new board of directors took control of Kilmarnock. The new board initially proposed to move the club to an out-of-town site besides the
A77 road The A77 road is a major road in Scotland. It runs in a southwesterly direction from the city of Glasgow Glasgow ( ; sco, Glesca or ; gd, Glaschu ) is the most populous city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, ...
as part of a wider development, but this was rejected by planning restrictions. The board then decided to redevelop Rugby Park. The last game before reconstruction was played on 7 May 1994, when Kilmarnock beat Rangers 1–0. During the 1994–95 season the capacity was significantly reduced as three new stands were constructed; the Moffat Stand, the Chadwick Stand and the East Stand. Their completion brought the capacity of the stadium to 18,128. The work was completed in just 348 days, as the new stands were first opened for a game against Rangers on 20 April. Kilmarnock officially opened the new Rugby Park on 6 August 1995, in a friendly match against English league champions
Blackburn Rovers Blackburn Rovers Football Club is a professional football Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, Kick (football), kicking a Football (ball), ball to score a Goal (sport), goal. Unqualified, Football (wor ...
.
Alan Shearer Alan Shearer Commander of the Order of the British Empire, CBE Deputy Lieutenant, DL (born 13 August 1970) is an English Association football, football pundit and retired football player and manager who played as a striker (association footbal ...
hit a
hat-trick A hat-trick or hat trick is the achievement of a generally positive feat three times in a match, or another achievement based on the number three. Origin The term first appeared in 1858 in cricket, to describe H. H. Stephenson taking three Wick ...
as the home team lost 5–0. On 12 May 1998 Rugby Park hosted the last Ayrshire Cup final, as Kilmarnock fought back from 0–2 to beat Ayr United 4–2. In the summer of 1999, league regulations meant that Kilmarnock had to install undersoil heating at the ground. On 26 August of that year, Kilmarnock celebrated one hundred years at Rugby Park with a victory over KR Reykjavik in the 1999–2000 UEFA Cup.


Park Hotel

Some work has since been done to increase the revenue created by the ground. In June 2002 the Park Hotel was opened adjacent to the stadium. The
hotel A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. Facilities provided inside a hotel room may range from a modest-quality mattress in a small room to large suites with bigger, higher-quality beds, a dresser, a ref ...
was built on the site of Kilmarnock's training pitch and accommodates fifty twin/double bedrooms, a conference centre, a café, bar and restaurant. In November 2004 a new sports bar was opened in the West Stand, sponsored by
Foster's Lager Foster's Lager is an internationally-distributed brand of lager Lager () is beer which has been brewed and conditioned at low temperature. Lagers can be pale, amber, or dark. Pale lager is the most widely consumed and commercially avai ...
.


Recent developments

An artificial playing surface was installed in the summer of 2014. This was later replaced by an artificial hybrid surface during the 2019 close season. In February 2019 Kilmarnock received approval to install a new safe-standing section in areas of the East and Moffat stands. The installation process was completed in early December of that year. In 2020, plans were unveiled revealing details of plans for further renovations at Rugby Park, creating a new entrance, changing facilities and community resources, including a memorial garden.


Stadium design

Despite becoming a modern, all-seater stadium, a number of features in the design of the stands give it a unique look. All stands bar the West Stand have very little beneath them, as the tea bars and
toilets A toilet is a piece of sanitary hardware that collects human urine Urine is a liquid by-product of metabolism in humans and in many other animals. Urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the urinary bladder. Urination results ...
are located under the lowest possible point towards the pitch. The rest of the area underneath is open tarmac, with the steel framework fully exposed. Moreover, the
turnstiles A turnstile (also called a turnpike, gateline, baffle gate, automated gate, turn gate in some regions) is a form of gate A gate or gateway is a point of entry to or from a space enclosed by walls. The word derived from old Norse "gat" mea ...
for the three newer stands are built into a perimeter wall rather than the stadium itself, and there are very large open air spaces before the stands themselves. Other stadiums have a similar design – for example Tynecastle's Roseburn Stand, although there is considerably less space there. One advantage is that since the public smoking ban has come into force it has been possible for fans to stand in the open areas at half-time for a cigarette. The East Stand is distinctive in appearance as it does not cover the full length of the pitch, tapering before ending around 15yds before the extremity of the pitch. This is because the ground behind the stand is residential, and can not be built on. However, the gap is not as large as a similar truncation at
Fir Park Fir Park Stadium is a association football, football stadium situated in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. The stadium plays host to the home matches of Scottish Premiership club Motherwell F.C., Motherwell and was the temporary home of G ...
, for example, and is filled by flags. Disabled supporters are accommodated in an enclosures at the front of both end stands.


Other uses


Rugby Union

Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
have played two games at Rugby Park; against
Tonga Tonga (, ; ), officially the Kingdom of Tonga ( to, Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga), is a Polynesia, Polynesian country and archipelago. The country has List of islands and towns in Tonga, 171 islands – of which 45 are inhabited. Its tota ...
in November 2014 and Georgia on 26 November 2016. The match against Tonga was the first rugby union international match featuring a tier 1 nation to be played on artificial surface.Scotland 37–12 Tonga
BBC Sport


Use in film

In August 1999, Rugby Park was used for a fictitious Scottish Cup semi-final in the
Robert Duvall Robert Selden Duvall (; born January 5, 1931) is an American actor and filmmaker. His career spans more than seven decades and he is considered one of the greatest American actors of all time. He is the recipient of an Academy Award The ...
film '' A Shot at Glory''. The film also starred former Kilmarnock striker Ally McCoist.


Concert tours

Rugby Park has also been used as a venue concert for several musical artists. * Singer
Rod Stewart Sir Roderick David Stewart (born 10 January 1945) is a British rock and pop singer and songwriter. Born and raised in London, he is of Scottish and English ancestry. With his distinctive raspy singing voice, Stewart is among the List of best- ...
performed live at Rugby Park in 2016 *
Elton John Sir Elton Hercules John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight; 25 March 1947) is a British singer, pianist and composer. Commonly nicknamed the "Rocket Man" after Rocket Man (song), his 1972 hit single of the same name, John has led a commercially s ...
performed live at Rugby Park in June 2005


International matches at Rugby Park

Four Scottish international matches have been staged at Rugby Park. Normally, Scotland international matches are played at
Hampden Park Hampden Park (Scottish Gaelic: ''Pàirc Hampden''), often referred to as Hampden, is a association football, football stadium in the Mount Florida area of Glasgow, Scotland. The -capacity venue serves as the national stadium of football in Sc ...
, but two matches were played at Rugby Park while the south stand at Hampden was being rebuilt. During the 1997 match against Wales, Kilmarnock were able to parade the Scottish Cup at half time, having captured the trophy at Ibrox on the previous Saturday. ---- ---- ---- ----


See also

*
List of football stadiums in Scotland This is a list of association football in Scotland, football stadiums in Scotland, ranked in descending order of capacity. It includes: * The stadiums of all 42 clubs in the Scottish Professional Football League Current stadiums See also ...


References

; Sources *


External links

*
Stadium Tours
at Kilmarnock Football Club official website
Rugbypark.co.uk (not associated with Kilmarnock Football Club)Rugby Park
at KillieFC.com {{East Ayrshire Kilmarnock F.C. Football venues in Scotland Scottish Premier League venues Buildings and structures in Kilmarnock Scottish Football League venues Scottish Professional Football League venues Scotland national football team venues Sports venues completed in 1899 1899 establishments in Scotland Sports venues in East Ayrshire