St. Mirren Park, more
commonly known as Love Street, was a football stadium located on Love Street
in Paisley, Scotland.
stadium had an all-seated capacity of 10,800 and was the home
ground of St. Mirren F.C.
The grounds on Love Street were registered as Fullerton
for St. Mirren's first season there as they were
being rented from a Mr Fullerton. The record attendance is 47,438
for a match against Celtic
completed construction of their new St. Mirren Park in December 2008. St. Mirren F.C.
played their last game at
Love Street, against Motherwell
, on 3 January 2009.
Early years at Love Street
When St. Mirren began to play on Love Street in the mid-1890s
football clubs were still very much in their infancy and moved from
ground to ground renting from local landowners. The best deal
available was commonly a ten year lease and by the time St. Mirren
arrived at Love Street, the club was only 17 years old and playing
on its fifth rented ground. They had previously played at
Shortroods Estate (1877 to 1878), Abingdon Park (1878 to 1879),
Thistle Park, Greenhill Road (1879 to 1882), and Westmarch Estate,
Greenhill Road (1882 to 1894).
St. Mirren moved from Westmarch in 1894 where they had been for
twelve years following a 100% rent increase by the landlord. The
club then found a former brickworks at the foot of Love Street
which could be rented for an initial ten years on reasonable terms.
It was a much smaller site than Westmarch, just wide enough to lay
a football pitch
some spare ground behind the goals
, poorly drained and
without grass. However, it would give St. Mirren the advantage of
being nearer to Paisley town centre than any of the other football
clubs in the town. The site was already well known to the townsfolk
as an entertainment venue, as it was where travelling circuses
set up their Big Top
The original Love Street stand was built in 1894. It stretched the
full length of the pitch with five rows of seats and a total
capacity of 1,000.
St. Mirren played their first home game at Love Street, a 3–0
defeat to Celtic, on 8 September 1894. The club was nearly forced
to move away from Love Street, much as it had been from Westmarch,
shortly after the original ten year lease ran out. When the club
approached the landowner with an offer to buy the site he set a
high price and an ultimatum to either buy or face a hefty increase
in rent. The club looked for alternatives, and began to negotiate
with the owners of the Shortroods Estate where St. Mirren had
played for its first season. However the landlord at Love Street
ended up reducing the price and Saints stayed at Love Street.
Over the course of the next fifteen years the club’s aim was to buy
the land that bordered its site on two sides – towards the town and
round onto Greenock Road. However, it was not until 1920 that the
land was finally secured and St. Mirren owned pretty much the site
that it occupies today.
Development of Love Street
With a large site now owned, and the football pitch about to be
moved 40 yards towards the town, the club had plans in 1921 for a
60,000 capacity ground with a large oval sweep of earth embankments
on three sides, with the fourth side taken up by a 4,500 seater
set up above a 3,000 capacity
, with a 440
yard running track
the pitch. However, before building began, the Great Depression in the
tightened its grip and costs more than doubled
in the space of six months.
The part of the project to suffer most was the grandstand as the
final price for the work rose from an estimate of £17,500, for the
full plans, to around £30,000 for the scaled-down version that was
completed six months later. The steel framework was clad in
corrugated sheeting to keep costs down. The St. Mirren Directors
intention was to eventually complete the original plans for a
full-length grandstand on Love Street in stages as funds permitted,
however this was never completed.
After 1921 there were no major changes to the grounds until the
late 1950s when the North Bank was covered and floodlights
installed. Twenty years
later the current 90ft tall floodlight pylons were installed and
plans appeared for redeveloping St. Mirren Park as an all-seater stadium
. There was also talk
of incorporating airport car-parking, or a hotel, or commercial
In the summer of 1979, the Love Street End terracing was knocked
down and rebuilt ten yards from the goal. There was more talk of
covering the new family enclosure at Cairter’s Corner and
installing a stadium clock and even one suggestion to re-locate in
proposed £200 million national stadium planned for a site across
the railway line from Greenhill Road.
Association (SFA) preferring to redevelop Hampden Park, St. Mirren remained at Love Street and seats were
installed on the North Bank terrace in 1991.
later, after the owner of a large building company had joined the
club's Board of directors
Caledonia Stand was built in a deal that saw some of the club’s
land sold for development as housing. There were also plans to have
a similar stand built at the Love Street End but the bottom fell
out of the construction industry and there was the near sale of St.
Mirren in 1998 as the club came close to extinction.
In the 2005–06
St. Mirren were promoted to the Scottish Premier League
champions. In order to meet SPL regulations in their
first season in the top flight, the club had to carry out further
work on the stadium, installing seating on the Love Street
At the time of the stadium closing, the main stand was situated on
the southern town side of the stadium., but did not run the entire
length of the pitch. The largest stand was the West Stand
(Caledonia Street), which housed away fans. The North Bank stand
was sponsored by former shirt-sponsors LDV
and was where the most vocal home fans
usually are. The East Stand, or Reid
Stand, was on the Love Street side of the stadium
and was the most recently built stand.
In the 1950s the club had a unique problem when it came to
installing floodlights at Love Street. The ground was on the
direct approach path for aircraft to the
which, at that time, was in Renfrew.
that as well involving Paisley Town Council, Saints’ plans also had
to satisfy three Government
departments - the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Air Ministry and
There were roof-line lights set all the way along the newly built
North Bank cover and the grandstand opposite. But, because the
stand was considerably shorter than full-length there also had to
be two pylons built to light the corners of the pitch on the stand
side. And these could not be very tall because of the flight-path.
They ended up therefore as two strangely squat-looking, 40-foot
pylons with four rows of lights that weren’t even as tall as the
Nonetheless, there were complaints from pilots that the pylon to
the right of the stand was confusing their approach and a black-out
order was imposed while aviation charts had this new landmark
added. It then took a further eight months for the Air Ministry to
run tests and finally pass the system fit for use. The first match
under the floodlights was on 13 February 1959 against Peebles Rovers
in the Scottish Cup
, a match St. Mirren won
the airport was moved to its current site in Abbotsinch, Paisley,
later becoming known as Glasgow International Airport.
Almost immediately the club was being asked
by the media when they would install "proper" floodlights, as the
system really wasn’t very good. The club’s finances at the time
were extremely tight, with only two full-time employees and so
there was no possibility that money could be spent on improving the
It took until 1978, with a new set of Directors at the helm and a
Development Fund put in motion that the present-day pylons were
One of the criteria for admittance to the SPL, following promotion
in the 2005–06 season, was that the pitch was equipped with
. As the club
was already planning to move to a new site, it was faced with
installing an expensive heating system that might only be used for
one season, a financial burden they would struggle to meet. The
Directors considered requesting a period of grace from the SPL, but
in the end decided to go ahead with installing the system.
August 2005 the Scottish
Executive and Renfrewshire
Council granted permission for the club to sell Love Street for
supermarket development and allow the
club to build a new stadium in Greenhill Road, Ferguslie Park, Paisley.
The sale of their old ground
financed the new stadium and cleared the financial debts of the
2007 it was announced that a deal had been struck with Tesco for a new
Tesco supermarket to be built on the Love Street site.
this deal, worth £15 million, Tesco would also pay for the
construction of the new St. Mirren Park, an 8,000 seat stadium.
Work on the new
ground started on 9 January 2008 and the club officially moved into
the new St. Mirren Park on Wednesday 21 January 2009.
The last match to be played by Saint Mirren at Love Street - a
goalless draw against Motherwell
took place before a sell-out crowd on 3 January 2009. In the first
match at the new stadium, St. Mirren played Kilmarnock
on 31 January 2009. The match
ended with the score at 1–1, with the first Saints goal at the new
stadium scored by Dennis Wyness
St. Mirren played in five Scottish Cup semi-finals at home on the
original Love Street Grounds. Crowds regularly reached 10,000 and
peaked at 16,000 for the 1906 semi-final clash with Third Lanark
. The visit of Rangers
in the 1923–24 Scottish Cup took the
ground attendance record above 40,000 for the first time and twelve
months later in 1925, Celtic came to Love Street and the attendance
record rose to 47,428.
After the post-World War II
attendances, the record was broken again on 20 August 1949 with
another visit by Celtic, this time in a Scottish League Cup
match in front of a
crowd of 47,438.
Once the Love Street End had been squared off, the capacity fell
and the largest crowd was another visit of Celtic in the Scottish Cup 1979-80 fourth round replay
27,166 squeezed inside, leaving huge queues on Love Street locked
At the time of closure, the all-seated capacity was 10,800. The
highest attendance under that capacity was 10,261 for an SPL game
Other football matches at Love Street
St. Mirren hosted a women's
match at Love Street in 1895. The ground has been a
regular venue for schoolboy internationals, Scottish Junior Cup
internationals. In 1904 the Scottish Football League
Irish Football League
of 10,000 fans.
In 1923, 25,000 fans watched Scotland
in the British Home Championship
played their home
games at Love Street for part of 1949. The deal was that St. Mirren
got to keep the stand and enclosure takings from the games. In
1970, it was a venue for the UEFA European
Under-19 Football Championship
hosted by Scotland.
International and other matches
- British Home Championship
- Scotland 2, Wales 0, 17 March 1923. Attendance 25,000
- Inter-League International
- Scottish Football League 3 Irish Football League 1, 7 February
1904. Attendance 10,000
- Under-23 International
- Scotland 0 Northern Ireland 1, 28 April 1972.
- Amateur International
- Scotland 1 Wales 0, 29 February 1964
- Scottish Junior Cup semi-finals
- Schoolboy internationals
- Scotland 5 Northern Ireland 2, 1951
- Scotland 1 Northern Ireland 0, 1963
- Scotland 2 Northern Ireland 1, 1973
- Scotland 0 England 1, 1984
- Scotland 1 France 1, 1988
- Scotland 1 Austria 0, 1999
- Scotland 4 Switzerland 0, 2001
- Scotland 3 Switzerland 1, 1992
- Scotland 3 - 0 Wales 0, 1978
- Scotland 2 England 1, 1981
- Scotland 2 Republic of Ireland 4, 2003
Other sports at Love Street
St. Mirren was a Football and Athletic Club until 1905 and annual
sports such as running
events would have been a
feature of the summer months. It is known that there was a Scottish
Inter-Region rugby union
there in 1897 and at least one dog handicap race run around the
track in the early years of the 20th century.
St. Mirren tried to introduce greyhound
on a regular basis in the early 1930s, and spent money
on upgrading the track. However, only three weeks after the first
race the SFA declared a ban on greyhound racing at football grounds
and the club lost money on the venture. When the ban was lifted,
and St. Mirren was approached to resume racing, the club
In 1938, a World Title Flyweight boxing
match was scheduled to take place at the
stadium involving Scotland’s first-ever world champion boxer
. Again money was spent with
an anticipated pay-back from a 30,000 crowd. The event turned sour
when Lynch was stripped of his title in the days before the fight
for failing by a large margin to make the weight. It went ahead as
a non-title bout but Lynch’s fans felt badly let down and the
turnout was poor.
Paisley Lions speedway
team raced in the British National Speedway League
Love Street for two seasons in 1975 and 1976. The first meeting was
held on 5 April 1975 in front of a crowd of over 6,000. However,
despite the meetings being well attended the club folded after two
seasons. Their last meeting was held on 25 September 1976 when the
Lions beat Boston Barracudas