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Thread: The new stadium plans in the 80s

  1. #1

    Default The new stadium plans in the 80s

    Now that they are redeveloping the derelict Toys R US site, I wondered if anyone here had any photos or articles about Saints' proposed new stadium in that area in the 1980s? As I recall, it was going to have a 45,000 capacity and John Deacon, the Pompey chairman at the time, was on the Southampton City Council which turned down planning permission for it. This was one of the main reasons McMenemy left Saints for Sunderland as he was the driving force behind the new stadium and said he had taken the club as far as he could in a ground as small as the Dell.

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    I recall that the Council wanted it to be more of a community facility to be used by other groups as well as SFC.

    The club weren't interested and wanted full control and for it to be just a football ground.

  3. #3

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    The proposed late 70s early 80s stadium location is where the novotel / ibis hotel are now located.

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    It got as far as having 3D models made of the proposals that were on public display at the Central Library, there were 3 separate schemes if I remember correctly, a model for each. There must be archive photos in existence at the Echo.

  5. #5

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    Was this the site referred to as Western Esplanade ? If so I only remember the talk in the late 1970's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    Was this the site referred to as Western Esplanade ? If so I only remember the talk in the late 1970's.
    Just found this quote in an Echo article about the Stoneham stadium proposal:

    It wasn't the first plan for a new stadium - Western Esplanade (1942) and Wide Lane (late 1970s) had previously been mooted - with capacities as high as 40,000 suggested for the latter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    Was this the site referred to as Western Esplanade ? If so I only remember the talk in the late 1970's.
    Quote Originally Posted by for_heaven's_Saint View Post
    Just found this quote in an Echo article about the Stoneham stadium proposal:
    The OP is certainly talking about Western Esplanade, once the old power station was demolished and surrounding land cleared, this was the site proposed for the new stadium. The power station was demolished end of the 70s ready for construction early 80s.

    It eventually all fell apart, and we ended up with Toys'R'Us.

  8. #8

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    Interesting:

    It wasn't the first plan for a new stadium - Western Esplanade (1942) and Wide Lane (late 1970s) had previously been mooted - with capacities as high as 40,000 suggested for the latter.
    They forgot the Sports Centre. 1960's.

  9. #9

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    I was told that it couldn’t be there because it was reclaimed land. I never found out why this should be the case.

  10. #10

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    I'm sure I read that Saints wanted away fans travelling by train to enter the stadium via a tunnel from the station.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    Interesting:



    They forgot the Sports Centre. 1960's.
    There was also Lordshill proposed back in the 80s near to where the David Lloyd Tennis Centre is.

    I don't think I've ever heard of any plans for Western Esplanade from the 40s, the land was only reclaimed from the sea a few years before. Some probably don't know but Southampton had a big beach front that lapped almost up to Southampton Central train station. From Berth 101 in the docks back to the container port was also all waterfront, no docks in that part of the city back then.

    The only story I've heard about moving from the Dell in the 40s was when Charlie Knott, a local mover-and-shaker, tried to get us to Bannister Road where the speedway stadium was. That would have been around 40,000, the biggest capacity of the 3 schemes at Western Esplanade would have been around 50,000.

  12. #12

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    The Lordshill option was one of about 10 locations that were considered after Stoneham was rejected.

    I am sure someone will have the Echo story which set out all the options that were being considered and turned down prior to the site at Northam being offered up by the Council.

    Wonder where in League we would be today if the club had been forced to stay at the Dell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spyinthesky View Post
    The Lordshill option was one of about 10 locations that were considered after Stoneham was rejected.

    I am sure someone will have the Echo story which set out all the options that were being considered and turned down prior to the site at Northam being offered up by the Council.

    Wonder where in League we would be today if the club had been forced to stay at the Dell.
    Yeah, you're right, Lordshill was later, in the 90s.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by alehouseboys View Post
    There was also Lordshill proposed back in the 80s near to where the David Lloyd Tennis Centre is.

    I don't think I've ever heard of any plans for Western Esplanade from the 40s, the land was only reclaimed from the sea a few years before. Some probably don't know but Southampton had a big beach front that lapped almost up to Southampton Central train station. From Berth 101 in the docks back to the container port was also all waterfront, no docks in that part of the city back then.

    The only story I've heard about moving from the Dell in the 40s was when Charlie Knott, a local mover-and-shaker, tried to get us to Bannister Road where the speedway stadium was. That would have been around 40,000, the biggest capacity of the 3 schemes at Western Esplanade would have been around 50,000.
    This ties in with what I recall. I've found that Echo article online and they seem to have got their dates, capacities and locations mixed up. It doesn't appear to have been very carefully researched. Thank you (and thanks to everyone who's replied).

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    Think I have a VHS video in the attic about the proposed sight at stoneham. Early 90s I think. 25k. Near miss.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stud mark of doom View Post
    Think I have a VHS video in the attic about the proposed sight at stoneham. Early 90s I think. 25k. Near miss.
    I had a programme with a double page picture of new stadium in the centre pages. Think it was 1991-92.

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    I seemed to recall that the stadium proposal on the Toys R Us site was turned down in part because the area was prone to fog, which always sounded a load of ********.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fan The Flames View Post
    I seemed to recall that the stadium proposal on the Toys R Us site was turned down in part because the area was prone to fog, which always sounded a load of ********.
    Never heard that one before, the only 'fog' I can remember in that area was from the old power station that chucked out its own dirty clouds back in the day but, who knows, there always seemed to be someone putting obstacles in the way of Saints moving home.

  19. #19

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    I do recall that Liberal democrat councillor who voted against Stoneham being interviewed by Lawrie Mcmenemy (Meridian) who said about the Rose bowl would cause traffic congestion when International games were going to be played and the Lib dem councillor didnt even fathom that there were going to be Internationals there! He made a right fool of him.

  20. #20

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    I do remember my mate and me marvelling at the plans on show at the library back in the late seventies, we couldn't believe we were finally going to get a 'proper' stadium. I recall 2 different designs, one was with a continuous roof all round and a big bank of terracing at one end (we were even going to get a 'proper end'!), the other had a roof over 3 sides and one open bank of terracing at one end. The things you remember...

    Concerns were raised by some about hooligans mixing with shoppers on a Saturday afternoon but I think the stumbling block was the club and city council wanting different things. Alas, yet another false dawn.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldNick View Post
    I do recall that Liberal democrat councillor who voted against Stoneham being interviewed by Lawrie Mcmenemy (Meridian) who said about the Rose bowl would cause traffic congestion when International games were going to be played and the Lib dem councillor didnt even fathom that there were going to be Internationals there! He made a right fool of him.
    That made a bit of a mockery of stopping Stoneham, some of the same reasons to kick the football stadium out were completely ignored where the cricket ground was concerned.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by 100%Red&White View Post
    I do remember my mate and me marvelling at the plans on show at the library back in the late seventies, we couldn't believe we were finally going to get a 'proper' stadium. I recall 2 different designs, one was with a continuous roof all round and a big bank of terracing at one end (we were even going to get a 'proper end'!), the other had a roof over 3 sides and one open bank of terracing at one end. The things you remember...

    Concerns were raised by some about hooligans mixing with shoppers on a Saturday afternoon but I think the stumbling block was the club and city council wanting different things. Alas, yet another false dawn.
    Somewhere there must still be photos of those late 70s plans. It would be interesting to see them. Am I right in thinking those plans were going through the planning permission stage in the early 80s?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nordic Saint View Post
    Somewhere there must still be photos of those late 70s plans. It would be interesting to see them. Am I right in thinking those plans were going through the planning permission stage in the early 80s?
    I don't think it ever got that far, I can't remember any one of the schemes being chosen. I think there was a third design that possibly had a running track around.

    Yep, someone must have photos somewhere, would be interesting to see the plans again.

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    Don't forget that any scheme proposed in the 1970s would still have had a large percentage of standers in the capacity so it would be far smaller than the equivalent stadium now.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winchester Red View Post
    Don't forget that any scheme proposed in the 1970s would still have had a large percentage of standers in the capacity so it would be far smaller than the equivalent stadium now.
    This is very true. A stadium the size of St Mary's would have had a capacity of at least 50,000 in the 1970s. The old grounds had terracing at both ends as well as the lower tiers at the sides. There was seating for the middle class season ticket holders in the upper tiers at the sides only and the smaller of the ends was usually left uncovered for the away fans to feel the full impact of the weather in.

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    I think 1 or 2 club historians post (or used to) on this form, they may have something on it. Fitzhugh Fella?

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    Weirdly I reckon if any of those plans went through we'd be in a worse place now.

    Also just looking on Wikipedia, it looks like one of the only stadium built in the 1980's was S****horpes* which is awful so maybe we really dodged a bullet...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glanfo...W_Exterior.jpg
    Last edited by Mattio; 21-10-2019 at 02:58 PM.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattio View Post
    Weirdly I reckon if any of those plans went through we'd be in a worse place now.

    Also just looking on Wikipedia, it looks like one of the only stadium built in the 1980's was S****horpes* which is awful so maybe we really dodged a bullet...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glanfo...W_Exterior.jpg
    Yes their stadium was the first new one for about 30 years, the previous one being Southend. But that was built down to a price. We might have been pioneers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattio View Post
    Weirdly I reckon if any of those plans went through we'd be in a worse place now.

    Also just looking on Wikipedia, it looks like one of the only stadium built in the 1980's was S****horpes* which is awful so maybe we really dodged a bullet...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glanfo...W_Exterior.jpg
    I don't agree, we were progressing quite nicely at the time. I started going regularly around the time of the Ted Bates 'Alehouse Brawlers' not too long after we were getting relegated with Lawrie Mac in 1974. Bit of a coup signing Ossie soon after, winning the FA Cup as a second division side 2 years later, European quarter-finalists followed and promotion back to the top in 78. League Cup finalists in 1979, Keegan, Europe again and finishing runners-up to Liverpool all in a few short years. That's when we really needed a new stadium to push on.

    It never happened, McMenemy lost heart with failed promises and moved on. We then went backwards.

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by alehouseboys View Post
    I don't agree, we were progressing quite nicely at the time. I started going regularly around the time of the Ted Bates 'Alehouse Brawlers' not too long after we were getting relegated with Lawrie Mac in 1974. Bit of a coup signing Ossie soon after, winning the FA Cup as a second division side 2 years later, European quarter-finalists followed and promotion back to the top in 78. League Cup finalists in 1979, Keegan, Europe again and finishing runners-up to Liverpool all in a few short years. That's when we really needed a new stadium to push on.

    It never happened, McMenemy lost heart with failed promises and moved on. We then went backwards.
    That's how I saw it at the time too.

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    I agree with above regarding us footballistically, but it's true that we may have ended up with a **** 80's stadium.

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    I've just read something in Duncan Holley/Gary Chalk's 'In that Number' that said (1979/80 season) plans for a new stadium at Western Esplanade were at an 'advanced stage' but another alternative site had come up for a 40,000 capacity ground at Eastleigh proposed by local firm Perbury Builders. I guess this would have been the Wide Lane plans?

    Can't believe there's no plans or images for the Western Esplanade proposal gathering dust somewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alehouseboys View Post
    I've just read something in Duncan Holley/Gary Chalk's 'In that Number' that said (1979/80 season) plans for a new stadium at Western Esplanade were at an 'advanced stage' but another alternative site had come up for a 40,000 capacity ground at Eastleigh proposed by local firm Perbury Builders. I guess this would have been the Wide Lane plans?

    Can't believe there's no plans or images for the Western Esplanade proposal gathering dust somewhere.
    I do remember very clearly seeing an artists impression image of the proposed Western Explanade stadium in the Echo, maybe round about 1984/5? . IIRC at the time it looked very impressive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teamsaint View Post
    I do remember very clearly seeing an artists impression image of the proposed Western Explanade stadium in the Echo, maybe round about 1984/5? . IIRC at the time it looked very impressive.
    Nah, the exhibition at the Civic Centre for the Western Esplanade stadium would have been well before that, 79/80ish. It had already been knocked on the head by 1981 and we just ended up demolishing the odd-shaped Milton and Chocci Boxes for a new odd-shaped Milton with additional odd-shaped upper tier!

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    Quote Originally Posted by alehouseboys View Post
    Nah, the exhibition at the Civic Centre for the Western Esplanade stadium would have been well before that, 79/80ish. It had already been knocked on the head by 1981 and we just ended up demolishing the odd-shaped Milton and Chocci Boxes for a new odd-shaped Milton with additional odd-shaped upper tier!
    Not bad though for a 500 contract with a local builder. We've always spent within our means.

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