IT’S always interesting when a club plans to move out of their current stadium and into a brand-spanking new venue.
Leaving behind the old, it can quickly be forgotten about the previous venue when the facilities are often so much better at the new home.
In just over 30 years, 14 former rugby league stadiums have been demolished with Hull KR’s old venue Craven Park taken down after 1989 when the East Yorkshire played their last game there and the most recent being in 2014 when Wilderspool and Huntington Stadium, which had been home to the Warrington Wolves and York respectively, were closed.
Following Hull KR in the 1990s, Dewsbury Rams left their former ground, Old Crown Flatt in 1991 to move into their current home, the Tetley’s Stadium. Old Crown Flatt was severely damaged by arson in 1988 and taken down in 1991 to be replaced by a housing estate.
Swinton Lions weren’t far behind, moving from Station Road in 1992. Again, fire damaged the disused Main Stand including offices and function rooms in July 1992 with the former venue now a housing estate.
In 1997, Oldham followed suit, moving out of Watersheddings – the highest ground in the UK at 770 ft above sea level – to take their new home at Boundary Park until they left for the Whitebank Stadium in 2010. Again, Watersheddings is now a housing estate.
Halifax were just a year later in moving out of Thrum Hall to The Shay where they have remained since. In fact, locals can still visit Thrum Hall where they will now find an ASDA in its place.
Fax weren’t the last rugby league side to move out of their previous home in the 1990s, however, as Wigan rounded off the century with an exit from Central Park. The Lancashire club played their last game in September 1999, moving to the DW Stadium with Central Park now a Tesco.
Not to be confused with the Belle Vue of Wakefield Trinity, the Belle Vue of Doncaster saw its last rugby league game in 2006 with the venue now wiped from the face of the earth and a housing estate in its place.
2009 was a busy year for stadium demolitions with the beloved homes of both Hull FC and Leigh – the Boulevard and Hilton Park respectively – being taken down. Hull are, of course, now at the MKM Stadium and have been since 2003 and Leigh at the Leigh Sports Village, with Hilton Park now housing.
2010 saw St Helens move out of the iconic Knowsley Road with the former venue now a housing estate, whilst Salford were quick to follow suit in 2011. The Red Devils moved out The Willows, with housing again being the way forward on the former stadium. Saints now play in the Totally Wicked Stadium and Salford the AJ Bell Stadium.
Sheffield Eagles were the next to change venues in 2013 with an exit from the Don Valley Stadium, but the redevelopment has since included a research centre, sports centre and educational facilities for local universities.
Warrington had actually moved from Wilderspool to the Halliwell Jones Stadium back in 2003, but Wilderspool wasn’t actually demolished until 2014 with a housing estate now standing in place, with York’s Huntington Stadium now actually the current Knights’ venue at the York Community Stadium.