St James Park, Exeter
|3,971 (Big Bank Stand)|
|2,116 (Cowshed Stand)|
|1,401 (Old Grandstand)|
|1,053 (Away section)|
|Clubs||Exeter City FC|
|Record attendance||20,984 (Exeter City - Sunderland, 1931)|
|Address||Stadium Way, Exeter, EX4 6PX, United Kingdom|
St James Park – stadium description
The stadium north of central Exeter was built in a place of arguable reputation. For centuries it was mostly used by pigs until football settled in between late 19th and early 20th century. Initially it was home to Exeter United, renamed Exeter City in 1904, remaining on the site to this day.
At that point the stadium had one grandstand in the west and terracing/embankments on remaining sides. By 1921 City had the resources to buy the ground, though they had a rough start. After just 5 years significant part of the grandstand burnt down in a large fire, forcing players to change clothes in nearby pub. It took months to repair all of the damage.
When rebuilt, the stadium saw its record crowd in 1931, when Sunderland came and defeated the hosts in front of nearly 21,000 people.
Like many stadiums across England, this one also underwent the most significant changes following the Hillsborough Disaster. However, in Exter's case it was significantly more painful as the club went into administration in 1994 and had to sell the ground. It then went into the hands of private developers and was bought back by the city council to safeguard the club's existence.
Only then reconstruction of the Big Bank terrace (north) and Cowshed (east) took place, seeing both rebuilt with cantilevered roof and significantly standing out when compared to the 1926 old Grandstand. Still, the southern away terrace remains the worst part of the ground despite plans of upgrades.