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Easter Road is the home ground of Scottish Premier League football club Hibernian. Located in the Leithmarker area of Edinburghmarker, the stadium has a capacity of 17,500. This means that it is presently the seventh largest stadium in Scotland and the largest stadium used primarily for football in Edinburgh. It is affectionately known by Hibs fans as "The Leith San Siromarker".

Hibs first played at the present site of Easter Road in 1893. The record attendance of 65,860, when the stadium had vast terracing sections, was set by an Edinburgh derby on 2 January 1950. The stadium was long noted for its pronounced slope, but this was removed at the end of the 1999–00 season.

History

When Hibs were formed in 1875, the club played its matches on the Meadowsmarker to the south of the Old Town of Edinburghmarker. The club first moved to the Easter Road areamarker in 1880, which was on the outskirts of Edinburghmarker at the time, to a ground known as Hibernian Parkmarker. When Hibs suffered financial difficulties in the early 1890s, the lease on Hibernian Park expired. The club then leased the present site in 1892, played their first match there the following year and have played their home games there ever since.

Easter Road in the 1950s
The most modern stand at Easter Road, the West Stand
Before the Taylor Report demanded that the stadium be all-seated, the ground had vast banks of terracing on three sides, which meant that it could hold crowds in excess of 60,000. Easter Road's record attendance of 65,860, which is also a record for a football match played in Edinburgh, was set by an Edinburgh derby played on 2 January 1950.

After Sir Tom Farmer took control of Hibernian in 1991, the stadium underwent major redevelopment in order to comply with the Taylor Report. Stands behind each goal (the Famous Five Stand and the South Stand) were built in 1995, replacing covered terracing at the north end (known as the Cowshed) and open terracing at the south end (known as the Dunbarmarker End).

The West Stand, which has a capacity of 6,500 and is similar in design to the North and South Stands, was built in 2001 to replace the ageing main stand. The stadium has dining and conferencing facilities within the West and Famous Five Stands. The Behind the Goals bar in the Famous Five Stand is one of the largest match-day bars in the United Kingdommarker. An electronic scoreboard was installed between the two tiers of the South Stand during the 2005–06 season.

Future

The East Terrace, which is proposed for redevelopment.
The East Stand was a large terrace which has been greatly reduced, roofed and made all seated. Views of the pitch from this stand are somewhat restricted by the supporting pillars. The club has planning permission to replace this stand with a modern facility similar to the other three stands. Hibs chairman and then chief executive Rod Petrie said in October 2006 that the development of a training ground was the first priority for the club. That facility was opened by Sir Tom Farmer on 19 December 2007.

Petrie announced during the annual general meeting in October 2007 that the club would hold a consultation process on the redevelopment of the east side of the ground, which began during April 2008. Hibs have announced plans which would mean increasing the capacity of the stadium to just over 20,000 and widening the pitch by three metres, making the stadium fully compliant with UEFA regulations.

After posting their accounts for the year ended 31 July 2008, however, Petrie stated that the development was on hold until sufficient cash resources could be obtained to finance the project. After completing the consultation process, Hibs found that a single tier stand would be cheaper and more popular with the supporters. Consequently the board submitted an application to alter the existing planning permission, which had allowed for a two tier stand to be constructed.

Rod Petrie then announced at the club's 2009 AGM that the club would conduct minor building work in order to activate the planning consent, while also entering negotiations with building contractors to establish an updated cost for rebuilding the stand.

Uses other than Hibs matches

Club football

Raith Rovers used Easter Road once, for a UEFA Cup tie against Bayern Munich in 1995. The match was moved from Rovers' normal home ground of Stark's Parkmarker due to Easter Road's greater capacity.

Easter Road has sometimes played host to Scottish League Cup semi-final matches. Recent examples of this include Dunfermline 1–0 Livingston in 2006, Hearts 2–3 Motherwell in 2005 and Livingston 1–0 Dundee in 2004.

International football

Scotland have played four full international matches at Easter Road, all since 1998. These have been friendly matches against less attractive opposition where a relatively small crowd is expected, and it has therefore been unnecessary to play the match at Hampden Parkmarker. The Scotland under-21 team also sometimes play matches at Easter Road. This happened most recently when Scotland beat Lithuania under-21s 3–0 in October 2007.

The most recent full international played at the stadium was a friendly match played between South Korea and Ghana in advance of the 2006 World Cup. This match came about because South Korea (coached by the former Rangers manager Dick Advocaat) had used Rangers' training ground as a pre-tournament training base, and wanted matches to complete this training process. This match meant that international stars such as Michael Essien, Stephen Appiah and Park Ji-Sung played at the ground. Ghana won the match 3–1.










This match had an unusual occurrence: when Gary Caldwell was substituted, he was replaced by his brother, Steven Caldwell.








Rugby Union

Easter Road was briefly the home ground for the Edinburgh Rugby professional rugby union team in the late 1990s. It was reported by the Edinburgh Evening News in 2006 that Scottish Rugby Union officials wanted to use Easter Road as Edinburgh's home ground, but nothing came of this. Hibs were concerned at the time that playing rugby would damage the quality of the Easter Road pitch. It was reported in the summer of 2007 that Edinburgh Rugby looked into the possibility of using Easter Road again due to a rift betweent the club and the Scottish Rugby Union, the owner of Murrayfield Stadiummarker. The dispute was resolved, however, and Edinburgh Rugby played their matches in the 2007–08 season at Murrayfield.

Music

Sir Elton John performed Easter Road's first rock concert on 25 June 2005. This had a detrimental effect on the quality of the pitch throughout the following season, and it is doubtful whether further concerts will be held at the stadium.

Boxing

One of the hospitality suites within the stadium will stage an amateur boxing show on 15 November 2009.

References

External links




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