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IBROX STADIUM

WHERE? Ibrox is located South-West of the city centre in the Ibrox district, close to Govan and Bellahouston Park.

The home of Rangers F.C since 1899, as well as the national team when Hampden was being redeveloped, the stadium itself has seen a history of disasters and defeats within its walls.

The first, shortly after it was built in 1902, saw the collapse of a section of terracing, injuring over 500 people and claiming the lives of 25 spectators. The terracing, designed by stadium architectural guru Archibald Leitch, was a recent addition which Rangers installed to increase their capacity from 40,000 to 75,000 in order to win a bid to host the Scottish Cup Finals, beating Celtic and Hampden Park. While the structure passed safety standards, there were enough concerns to make it into the local newspapers. It seems these concerns were justified when the terracing collapsed during a Scotland Vs. England match in April 1902. The large, unstable wooden terracing was later removed.

 

However, Leitch was hired twice more, first in 1910 to increase capacity, this time using slopes of earth, and again in 1929, when he designed the Main Stand. The red brick neo-classical structure survives to this day, and was given a Category B Listed Building status in 1987. However, more deaths occurred in the stadium. In 1961, a barrier collapsed in the ill-fated Stairway 13, killing two fans. A decade later, 66 people died in the same stairwell, crushed during an Old Firm match with rivals Celtic, giving Irbox the worst safety record of any stadium in Great Britain. After this, Rangers contracted architects from The Miller Partnership, who radically redesigned Ibrox. They transformed it from a bowl structure into three seated sections, modelled on Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion. As a tribute to the people who had died, a memorial statue of John Greig, considered to be the greatest Rangers player of all time, was sculpted by artist Andy Scott and erected by the Main Gates, with a plaque bearing the names of those who died.

 

 

The new design crippled the club financially, and alienated fans who believed it lacked the atmosphere of old. However, with the arrival of new manager Greame Souness and a host of star English names such as Terry Butcher, Chris Woods and Ray Wilkins joining the home-grown talents of future manager Ally McCoist and Richard Gough, fans came back in droves. New owner David Murray commissioned a number of new changes to the stadium, including the erection of Argyle House behind the Govan Stand, and more controversially, adding a third tier to the historic Main Stand. Extra seats and two JumboTron screens were jammed into the last unoccupied corners. The last disaster was financial, with Rangers entering liquidation. The stadium and club were sold to a new entity, with Rangers allowed to play on but in the Third Division.

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