Leicester Tigers
Welford Road


Life is of course full of little ironies, and having never been to a rugby stadium before, by accident I suddenly found myself having visited two within a week.

Like with the trip to Northampton Saints, I was on my way to a football match, this time at the Walkers Stadium, when walking past Welford Road I noticed an open gate and people going inside. It didn’t take any more of an invitation, so camera out, and in I went to have a look around one of the top stadiums in Rugby Union.

From the outside the ground gives an impression of being fairly modern, but once inside it really is a different story, you can easily see why they want to move in with Leicester City.

Down one side of the pitch is the Next Stand, which is a fair size, all seated stand, with a nice sloping roof, but unfortunately it really is showing its age, and looks quite tired. Opposite that is the Crumbie Stand, again it is a fair size, with an uncovered section of terracing at the front, and behind that a tier of seating that is covered by another sloping roof. Behind the sticks at one end is the Alliance & Leicester Stand, a structure similar to the Whitehorse Lane Stand at Selhurst Park, having a single tier of seating, and then two tiers of executive boxes, that don’t quite run the entire width of the stand. The final end is where the clubhouse is located, as well as the clubs offices, there is also a small stand of temporary seating, which is covered by what looks similar to a gazebo!

I had expected something akin to Franklin’s Gardens, so was surprised to see a ground that was so much in need of development. Unfortunately that most likely wont happen, with the Tigers due to move into the Walkers Stadium within the next couple of years, but it was good to at least get the opportunity to see inside before they finally knock it down, but considering the success of the club, when they do leave Welford Road it will no doubt be a move for the better.

Looking down Welford Road with the rear of the Clubhouse

Rear of the Next Stand

Rear of the Alliance & Leicester Stand

Rear of the Crumbie Stand

The Clubhouse End

The Crumbie Stand

The Alliance & Leicester Stand

The Next Stand

Welford Road Panoramic 1

March 2009
When I first visited Welford Road in 2005, the grounds future looked to be in jeopardy with the club in talks with Leicester City to groundshare at the Walkers Stadium.

Tigers had played at the ground since 1892, moving there 12 years after formation, so it would have been a big grind to leave such a historic ground behind, but with the two clubs unable to agree terms (centering on who would have priority if the fixtures clashed), then the move was called off, and in the summer of 2006 the club announced plans to redevelop Welford Road instead.   

Sitting on a fairly tight site as it is, then how they would go about it and achieve a circa 30,000 capacity seemed an interesting conundrum, but it was solved when they announced the building of a gigantic stand on the North Side along with the smaller scale redevelopment of the other three sides to create a ground of similar size to the Walkers with the bonus of looking far more interesting!

The North Stand (to be named the Caterpillar Stand) redevelopment started n 2008, and whilst passing through Leicester several months later, I couldn’t help but go along to see how it was coming on.

Towering over the surrounding area, it really is huge, and similar to the building of the John Ireland Stand at Molineux, had been started whilst the old Next Stand (which it would be replacing), was still in situ and operational, giving the unusual sight of one stand sitting right behind the other. Otherwise, the ground hadn’t changed a great deal, except for the extending of temporary seating at the Clubhouse End, leaving the impression of a traditional sports arena being on the verge of changing forever.

Rear of the Caterpillar Stand

Rear of the Caterpillar Stand

The Caterpillar Stand

The Caterpillar Stand

The Caterpillar Stand

Old and New

Old and New

Welford Road Panoramic 2
(click here for full size picture)

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