Windsor Park - proud home of Linfield Football Club - Saturday's programme article

Posted : 2nd February 2016 at 19:44:00

Windsor Park, the proud home of Linfield Football Club, was opened just over 110 years ago with a game between Linfield and Glentoran on September 2, 1905.

Linfield won this game 1-0 before a sizeable crowd that brought in gate receipts of £113.

The teams in that historic fixture were:
Linfield - Mehaffey, Sheppard, Darling, R.Anderson, Milne, Stewart, Harper, Jones, Ray, Soye, Young. Glentoran - Gray, King, McMichael, Craig. J. Crothers, McCourt, McKeown, Mitchell, Kirkwood, C. Crothers, C McDougall.

A year later, the ground was fenced and the dressing rooms erected at the Railway end and progress towards building up the stadium to international standard got underway.

Most of the stadium was designed and built in the 1930s, to a design made by the Scottish architect Archibald Leitch, who was responsible for the building of Hampden Park and Ibrox Park in Glasgow. It had one main seated stand - the grandstand, known as the South Stand - with reserved terracing in front, and a large open terrace behind the goal to the west called the Spion Kop.

To the north, there was a long covered terrace - the unreserved terracing - and behind the eastern goal at the railway end another covered terrace. Windsor Park's peak capacity in this format was 60,000.

In the early 1960s, the seated Railway Stand was built at the railway end, and in the early 1970s a social club and viewing lounge was constructed in the corner between the railway stand and the main grandstand. In the early 1980s, the unreserved terrace was demolished and replaced by a two-tier, 6,800-seat North Stand.

In the late 1990s, the Kop terrace was demolished and replaced with the 4,000-seater Kop Stand. The Kop Stand was known as the Alex Russell Stand from 2004-2008 in honour of Linfield's former goalkeeper and coach and one-time Northern Ireland international, but it reverted to being named 'The Kop Stand' following this.

In the new stadium developments at Windsor Park now nearing completion, there is a new South Stand, a new Railway Stand and a new Kop Stand taking shape. The existing North Stand remains, bringing the capacity up to 18,000.

For Linfield supporters old and young Windsor Park is a integral part of the Club's DNA and will remain so in the future. Windsor Park has a proud and illustrious history and its name in Northern Ireland football will continue in perpetuity.
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