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Turf Moor

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Turf Moor
The Turf
A two-tiered cantilever football stand. The lower tier has light blue seats with some claret seats which spell the word "Clarets". The upper has all claret seating. Some floodlights are attached to the roof of the stand. A scattering of spectators can be seen in the seats.
Turf Moor is located in Burnley
Turf Moor
Turf Moor
Location in Burnley
Location Harry Potts Way,
BB10 4BX
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Owner Turf Moor Properties Ltd
Operator Burnley F.C.
Capacity 21,401[1]
Field size 114 yd × 72 yd (104 m × 66 m)[2]
Surface Desso GrassMaster
Broke ground 1833 (as a cricket ground)[3]
Opened 17 February 1883[3]
Construction cost £5.3 million
Architect Various
Burnley F.C. (1883–present)

Turf Moor is an association football stadium in Burnley, Lancashire, England. It is the home ground of Championship club Burnley Football Club, who have played there since moving from its Calder Vale ground in 1883. The stadium, which is situated on Harry Potts Way, named so after the club's longest serving Manager, has a capacity of 21,401, all seated. It was one of the last remaining stadiums in England to have the players' tunnel and dressing rooms behind one of the goals, until it was covered for seating in time for the 2014-15 Premier League season and rebuilt between the David Fishwick and James Hargreaves stand. The ground originally consisted of just a pitch and the first grandstand was not built until 1885. Six years after this, the "Star" stand was erected and terracing was later added to the ends of the ground. After the Second World War, the stadium was redeveloped with all four stands being rebuilt. During the 1990s, the ground underwent further refurbishment when the Longside and Bee Hole End terraces were replaced by all-seater stands. Currently, the four stands at Turf Moor are the James Hargreaves Stand, the Jimmy McIlroy Stand, the Bob Lord Stand and the Cricket Field Stand.

Burnley played their first match at the ground on 17 February 1883, losing 3–6 to local side Rawtenstall. When Prince Albert Victor opened a new hospital in Burnley in 1886, Turf Moor became the first football ground to be visited by a member of the British Royal Family. The first Football League match at the ground took place on 6 October 1888, with Fred Poland scoring the first competitive goal at the stadium. The record attendance at Turf Moor was set in 1924 when 54,755 people attended an FA Cup tie between Burnley and Huddersfield Town. In the same year, Turf Moor hosted its only FA Cup semi-final to date. In 1927, the stadium was the venue of an international match between England and Wales. Since then, the ground has been used to host matches in the European Under-19 Championship and European Under-21 Championship fixtures.

In 2007, plans for expansion of Turf Moor were released to the public. The Burnley directors proposed a major development of the stadium, costing £20 million. The plans, which would incorporate the rebuilding of the Cricket Field Stand and the moving of the players' entrance tunnel, have been put on hold until the current financial climate improves. In 2009, following Burnley's promotion to the Premier League, the development of a second tier on the Bob Lord stand was announced. Director Paul Fletcher stated that the anticipated capacity of Turf Moor would eventually be 28,000 to cope with extra fans. However following the club's relegation from the Premier League in 2010, these plans were put on hold indefinitely.

After again achieving promotion to the Premier League in 2014 further Ground renovations were undertaken to comply with new regulations include housing for International Media, relocation of the players tunnel and upgrades to seating in the David Fishwick Stand for away supporters.[4] On 26 June 2014 the club unveiled a planning application for extensions to the Turf Moor front entrance including the rebuilding of the official Club Shop containing a first floor museum.[5]


File:Turf Moor 1905.JPG
Turf Moor in 1905

Sport was first played at the Turf Moor site in 1833, when Burnley Cricket Club was founded and made the ground their home. Horse racing also took place at the site in 1840.[6] In 1883, the cricket club invited Burnley Football Club, which had been formed in 1882, to move from their original home at Calder Vale to a football pitch adjacent to the cricket field. The first football match at Turf Moor took place on 17 February 1883, when Burnley were defeated 3–6 by Rawtenstall.[3] Attendances at Turf Moor during the early years averaged at around 2,000, although a crowd of 12,000 descended on the stadium on 29 March 1884 to see Burnley lose 2–4 to local rivals Padiham.[7] For the first two years, spectators were forced to congregate around the pitch, so in 1885 the club built an 800-seater wooden grandstand along the Brunshaw Road side (the south side) of the ground and installed terracing for 5,000 people at the ends of the pitch. The following year, Turf Moor became the first senior football ground to be visited by a member of the British Royal Family when Prince Albert Victor saw Burnley defeated 3–4 by Bolton Wanderers on 13 October 1886, while visiting the town to open a new hospital.[3][8]

File:Turf Moor 1930s.jpg
Aerial photograph of Turf Moor in 1929

Turf Moor hosted its first Football League match on 6 October 1888, when Burnley won 4–1 against Bolton Wanderers. Five minutes into the game, Burnley centre forward Fred Poland scored the first ever league goal at the ground.[9] In 1891 the Burnley Union Star Football Club disbanded, abandoning their Rakehead ground, which was complete with its own grandstand. Burnley bought the stand and moved it to Turf Moor. It became known as the "Star" stand and was erected on the site of the current James Hargreaves Stand, on the north side of the ground.[3] In March of the same year, Turf Moor hosted its first floodlit football match. Sixteen creosote-fuelled lamps were placed at regular intervals along the sides of the pitch, and spectators reported that while the edges of the field were sufficiently lit, there was a dark area in the centre.[3] Burnley won the match, beating Nelson 4–2 in front of a crowd of 3,000 people.[3]

On 26 March 1898, Turf Moor saw a crowd of over 20,000 for the first time for Burnley's FA Cup Third Round tie against Everton.[10] The "Star" stand was demolished in 1898 and replaced by a new, larger stand, although it was still referred to as the "Stars" stand. Five years later, a second tier was built on the Brunshaw Road stand to accommodate club offices and in September 1903, Turf Moor was able to host the club's annual general meeting for the first time. In March 1909 the "Star" stand was extended, with new turnstiles and barricades erected in preparation for the FA Cup Quarter Final against reigning league champions Manchester United.[3] In the spring of 1911, plans were unveiled for the rebuilding of the Brunshaw Road stand, with former Burnley forward Arthur Bell the architect for the project. A strike amongst railway workers delayed the deliveries of steelwork for the new roof but spectators were still able to use the stand in time for Burnley's first home league game of the 1911–12 season. However, work on the dressing rooms had not been completed, and players from both teams were forced to change in the adjoining cricket pavilion.[11] The newly erected Brunshaw Road stand cost the club £5,000 (£455,000 as of 2021) and could accommodate over 5,500 spectators, including 2,200 seated places, increasing the capacity of Turf Moor to just under 41,000.[11]

A two-tiered football stand with claret seats in the upper tier and light blue ones in the lower. In the lower tier, a group of people in fluorescent yellow jackets are congregated. Two sets of goalposts can be seen in front of the stand.
The Jimmy McIlroy stand in 2009

In 1913 the Burnley directors decided to demolish the "Star" stand for a second time, just 15 years after it had been rebuilt. In the same year, the Brunshaw Road stand was further extended to run the whole length of the pitch and in 1914 a roof was constructed to cover the terracing at the Cricket Field end, thus increasing the capacity of the ground to almost 50,000.[11] In 1922, Turf Moor hosted its only FA Cup Semi Final; a crowd of over 46,000 turned out to see Huddersfield Town achieve a 3–1 victory over Notts County. On 23 February 1924, a crowd of over 50,000 saw Burnley secure a 1–0 win over Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup Third Round. The attendance was later confirmed to be 54,775, which is still a record for Burnley.[12] In 1927, Turf Moor hosted its only international fixture when England played Wales. England lost the match 2–1, with Burnley captain Jack Hill scoring an own goal to give Wales the win.[11] In 1932, the Burnley Supporters' Club raised funds to install a hut and scoreboard at the Bee Hole End of the ground. Six years later, plans were announced to build a new covered terrace on the site of the old "Stars" stand, but these plans were delayed by the outbreak of the Second World War.[11]

The plans came to fruition after the war, and the Longside was completed in 1954. The club spent £20,000 (£489,000 as of 2021) on the roof alone and the terrace was built using help from players in the Burnley youth team.[13] Three years later, the club also installed permanent floodlights at Turf Moor. The lights were first used on 16 December 1957, when Burnley hosted rivals Blackburn Rovers in a friendly.[14] On 16 November 1960, the stadium was the venue of Burnley's first ever match in the European Cup. Jimmy Robson and Jimmy McIlroy both scored early in the first half as Burnley recorded a 2–0 victory over Stade de Reims.[15] During the late 1960s, in an effort to prevent supporters from throwing missiles, a section of the Bee Hole End terrace immediately behind the goal was fenced off. In 1969, a new, bigger stand was built at a cost of £180,000 (£2.65 million as of 2021) at the Cricket Field End that incorporated changing rooms and a players' tunnel, which had previously been a part of the Brunshaw Road stand.[13] Under-seat heating was installed in the Cricket Field End, but after the first time it was used, chairman Bob Lord deemed it uneconomical and expensive, and it was never again switched on.[16]

In the foreground is a football net. Through the net, a football stand with wooden seats can be seen in addition to part of a grass football pitch. In the top left corner there is a floodlight pylon.
The Bob Lord Stand as seen from behind the goal at the Cricket Field end

Redevelopment continued at Turf Moor and later in the early 1970s, the Bee Hole End terrace was extended. The new extension had a capacity of over 7,000 and despite having no roof, it was very popular among supporters.[13] In 1974, Bob Lord hired Cambridge Soil Services to relay the Turf Moor pitch, and the work also incorporated new drainage technology and under-soil heating. The pitch was raised and the slope that been ever-present since the club had arrived at Turf Moor was removed.[13] He then replaced the Brunshaw Road Stand with a new all-seater stand named after himself, which was opened in 1974 by then-prime minister Edward Heath. The stand held 2,800 supporters, cost £480,000 (£4.47 million as of 2021) and contained the board room and a number of luxurious seats for Burnley's and visiting clubs' directors. During the early 1970s, the total capacity increased from 32,000 to 38,000. In 1975, the floodlights that had been installed in 1957 were replaced.[13] On 13 May 1983, Turf Moor was chosen to host a match between Czechoslovakia and West Germany during the 1983 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship.[17]

A tragedy occurred at the stadium in March 1992 when 17-year-old apprentice footballer Ben Lee was killed in a fall from the roof of the Longside Stand, when trying to retrieve a football.

Following the installation of the floodlights, Turf Moor did not undergo any further changes until the mid-1990s. After the Taylor Report had stated that all grounds must become all-seater stadia, the Longside's and Bee Hole End's days were numbered, and in December 1994 the club announced the redevelopment of the two standing areas. In 1995, Lincolnshire-based company Linpave were contracted to build two new stands at Turf Moor.[13] In June 1995, Turf Moor hosted a match between England U21 and Latvia U21 in the qualifying campaign for the 1996 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship.[17] On 16 September 1995, the last ever match was played in front of the historic Longside when Burnley won 2–1 against Hull City in a Second Division fixture. The Longside, which had housed both home and away supporters, was subsequently demolished and the James Hargreaves Stand, for home fans only, was built in its place. The new stand opened on 23 April 1996 for the visit of Bristol Rovers.[13] The following day, demolition of the Bee Hole End started, with work on the two stands finally completed in September 1996 at a total cost of £5.3 million (£8.88 million as of 2021), taking the capacity of the stadium to 22,619. The new stand was named the Jimmy McIlroy Stand, in honour of the former Burnley forward and Northern Ireland international.[13]

Turf Moor saw its first international women's match on 4 September 2003 when England achieved a 1–0 victory over Australia.[17] Two years later, England U20 drew 2–2 with Netherlands U20, with former Burnley midfielder Richard Chaplow captaining the England side.[17] On 25 May 2007, Turf Moor hosted a friendly international between England B and Albania. Although the game was not officially recognised as a full international, a number of England first-team players played in the game.[17] In October 2007, a Barco video wall was installed in the Cricket Field End, which at the time accommodated visiting supporters. At the start of the 2009–10 season, a new PA system was installed and the big screen was moved to allow home fans to sit in the Cricket Field Stand for the club's inaugural season in the Premier League.[18]

Structure and facilities

The pitch at Turf Moor is surrounded by four stands, known as the Bob Lord Stand, the David Fishwick Stand, the James Hargreaves Stand and the Jimmy McIlroy stand. The stadium has a total capacity of 21,401, which is approximately one seat for every three inhabitants of the town, no other league team has such a high ratio.[19] The two newest stands, the James Hargreaves Stand and the Jimmy McIlroy Stand, both have two tiers, while the Bob Lord and David Fishwick are both single-tiered. The Bob Lord stand has wooden seats but the David Fishwick stand has plastic seats.[20] All four stands are entirely seated. Visiting supporters are seated in the Cricket Field Stand.[20]

Panorama of Turf Moor
A two-tiered cantilever football stand. The lower tier has light blue seats with some claret seats which spell the word "Clarets". The upper has all claret seating with light blue seats spelling "Burnley".
The James Hargreaves Stand

The largest stand at Turf Moor is the James Hargreaves Stand, which was opened in 1996 as part of a ground redevelopment project which saw two new stands built to replace the Longside and the Bee Hole End at a total cost of £5.3 million. When built it was named the North Stand, although it has its current name thanks to a six-figure sponsorship deal.[21] The stand can accommodate 8,154 spectators and was opened on 23 April 1996, replacing the Longside terrace. It runs parallel to the length of the pitch. The television gantry is located in the James Hargreaves Stand along with the media area, which is situated at the rear of the upper tier. The stand is the traditional seating area of the Suicide Squad, who had previously stood in the Longside until the terrace was demolished in 1995.[22] In the space between the upper and lower tiers of the James Hargreaves Stand there is a corporate area, which apart from being used for matchday hospitality is used for functions and events.[23] Both the suite and the home dressing room, is licensed to hold civil marriage services.[23]

A grass football pitch with markings painted on. Behind the pitch is a covered stand with wooden seating and there is a floodlight pylon in the top right hand corner.
The pitch and the Bob Lord Stand

The Jimmy McIlroy Stand is situated at the eastern side of the pitch and has a current capacity of 6,280. The upper tier of the stand is the designated family area at Turf Moor and like the James Hargreaves Stand, it has a number of corporate hospitality boxes. The Bob Lord Stand, which has a capacity of just under 4,000 fans, runs parallel with Harry Potts Way and houses the executive lounges as well as the Burnley Football Club trophy room. The stand was built in 1974 and was paid for in part by the sale of Martin Dobson to Everton. Named after Bob Lord, the former chairman of Burnley, the stand cost £480,000[24] was opened by Edward Heath,[25] the Conservative Party leader at the time, a Burnley supporter, who had just been defeated as prime minister by Labour's Harold Wilson.[26]

The Cricket Field Stand, also known as the David Fishwick Stand for sponsorship reasons,[27] is the oldest current stand at Turf Moor. It was constructed in 1969 and backs onto the clubhouse and pavilion of Burnley Cricket Club. It contains both teams' dressing rooms as well as the officials' lounge and the tunnel leading to the pitch. Turf Moor is one of the few remaining football grounds in England to have the changing facilities behind the goals.[13] The stand was made available to home supporters for Burnley's first Premier League season in 2009–10, having previously been the away section of the stadium.[18]

In the corner of the ground between the James Hargreaves Stand and Jimmy McIlroy Stand there is a 36m² Barco video wall, which was previously situated in the Cricket Field Stand between 2007 and 2009. In the car park behind the James Hargreaves Stand is Stadium Fitness, which includes a gymnasium, table-tennis facilities and a large sports hall.Outside the ground, between the Jimmy McIlroy and Bob Lord stands is the Burnley club shop, otherwise known as the Clarets Superstore. Some of The club's offices are sited above the store.[25]

Average Premier League/Championship attendances
Season Average attendance  % of capacity Ranking within PL/CH
2011–12 14,048 62.3% 18th highest
2010–11 14,930 66.2% 17th highest
2009–10 20,653 91.6% 18th highest
2008–09 15,891 70.5% 15th highest
2007–08 12,364 54.8% 20th highest
2006–07 11,956 53% 21st highest
2005–06 12,461 55.2% 18th highest
2004–05 12,465 55.3% 18th highest
2003–04 12,391 54.9% 16th highest


Large Jacobean three-storey house in landscaped grounds
A new Burnley F.C. academy is to be created at Gawthorpe Hall as part of a £20 million regeneration

On 27 July 2007, Burnley revealed plans for a £20 million redevelopment of Turf Moor. The plans also included the creation of a youth academy at the club's training facility at Gawthorpe Hall in nearby Padiham.[28] The plans were detailed in six phases. In the first phase it was planned to move the changing rooms to the corner between the James Hargreaves Stand and the Jimmy McIlroy Stand. The second phase included the demolition of the Cricket Field Stand, a new stand to be built at that end of the ground that would incorporate a hotel, a restaurant and a newly constructed cricket pavilion, and would be able to accommodate 2,500 fans.[28] The redevelopments also included the construction of a multi-storey car park adjacent to the stadium. Other planned improvements include a new club superstore and other retail outlets, and new business offices on the site of the current club shop. Revealed in the fifth phase was a transformation of the Bob Lord Stand, which will eventually house a multi-screen cinema.[28] The development of a second tier on the Bob Lord stand was later revealed by Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher, taking the anticipated capacity of Turf Moor to 28,000 spectators.[20]

Work on the stadium was expected to start in late 2007 and finish in time for the 2010 season. Planning permission for the first stage of developments was granted on 7 April 2008 and work on the new players' block was planned to commence in the summer of 2008.[29] It was decided to not start building until permission had been received for all phases of the development including the rebuilding of the Cricket Field Stand.[30] In October 2008, the project was put on hold by the club as a result of the global economic crisis restricting available funds.[30] Revised plans were revealed in November 2009, with further announcements expected in early 2010.[31] However further developments may be further delayed due to the club's relegation from the Premier League.

In September 2011, Burnley Football Club opened the UK's first ever football university at Turf Moor known as the University College of Football Business.[needs update] The university teaches up to 100 students per year about the business side of football. Seminar rooms have been added to the Jimmy McIlroy stand for lectures and classes.

The opening of this led to the building formerly The Sparrow Hawk Hotel being refurbished to act as student accommodation for the students studying at the UCFB.


Turf Moor is located to the east of Burnley town centre. The stadium has two car parks of its own, and there are also a number of parking facilities in the surrounding area.[32] The nearest railway station to Turf Moor is Burnley Manchester Road, which is a short walk away from the ground.[32] The stadium is also accessible from Burnley Central station on the East Lancashire Line, although it is a further walk. There are also a number of bus services in the area, and Turf Moor is situated very close to Burnley Bus Station.[32]


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