|Full name||Riverside Stadium|
Yorkshire, England TS3
|Opened||26 August 1995|
The Riverside Stadium is a football stadium in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England, which has been the home of Middlesbrough F.C. since it opened in 1995. Its current capacity is 34,988 all seated, although there is provisional planning permission in place to expand that to 42,000 if required. It was the first stadium designed and constructed to comply with the Taylor Report and, at the time, was the biggest new arena to be built in England since World War II.
The stadium was built to replace Ayresome Park after the Taylor Report, which required all top division football stadia to be all-seater. Middlesbrough were unable to expand the current stadium outwards owing to its location in a residential area, and expanding the stadium upwards would have limited the club to a capacity of 20,000 seats. The decision was taken by club officials to build a new stadium; Teesside Development Corporation offered them the Middlehaven site by the River Tees for development.
The new stadium was constructed by Taylor Woodrow Construction with a 30,000 capacity for £16 million, taking 32 weeks to complete. The name of the stadium was chosen by the club's fans, following a vote during the final game at Ayresome Park. The other choices available were Middlehaven Stadium, Erimus Stadium and Teesside Stadium. When first opened, the name was amended to Cellnet Riverside Stadium (and then BT Cellnet Riverside Stadium) as part of a £3 million sponsorship deal with Cellnet, but this deal ended after the 2001–02 season.
The first game was played against Chelsea in front of a 28,286 crowd (the highest home attendance in 14 years) on 26 August 1995. Middlesbrough won the game 2–0, with Craig Hignett taking the honour of scoring the first ever goal at the stadium, Jan Åge Fjørtoft scoring the second.
In 1998, the capacity was increased by 5,000 by filling in the north and south west corners at a cost of £5 million, giving the stadium its current capacity. In 2005 the club resurrected the old Ayresome Park gates which had been famously locked when the club went in to liquidation. They were erected outside the Riverside Stadium as a new entrance, a reminder of the past. The club have the Council's permission to extend the capacity by another 7,000 if demand made it necessary. Another addition has been statues of former players, George Hardwick and Wilf Mannion. The entrance is also the location for the "Borobrick Road" where fans making a donation can have a message, often in memory. For Armistice Day 2008, a set of bricks commemorating 8 players who died in the World Wars was unveiled.
In July 2008, planning permission was granted by Middlesbrough Council to construct a wind turbine at the site of the stadium, standing 125 metres high and capable of generating 3 Megawatts of electricity. The turbine will be used to power the stadium, with the excess being sold to the National Grid.
|Middlesbrough Football Club|