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Doncaster News and Features: Doncaster Rovers Grounds
Rovers played here on an existing pitch in what is now the Deaf School grounds from 1885 and actually started their Football League career at the ground with a game against Burslem Port Vale in 1901. The last game here was four years later against Grimsby Town after Rovers were voted out of the league for the second time in that period. They continued as a non-league outfit before moving, in 1919, because the army had requisitioned the school during World War I and not at that point handed it back.
The ground consisted of a small stand on one side and small organised terraces around the pitch. Some of the fencing/gates on Town Moor Avenue remain.
Bennetthorpe was never used as a league ground because by the time Rovers had been re-admitted to the Football League in 1923, they had moved to Belle Vue. Five years later the main stand here was jacked up onto rollers and wheeled down to Belle Vue when the Rovers moved and it stood behind the goal rather than on the halfway line here at Bennetthorpe.
Belle Vue was the home of Doncaster Rovers Football Club from 1922 to 2006 initially being a 7000 capacity and rising by 1938 to 40000, and in 1948 it accommodated a club record attendance of 37189.
The Main Stand
The main stand saw it's first game in 1922 against Gainsborough Trinity. Little was changed until the next century apart from the roof being extended during the 1960's.
Prior to Ken Richardson's conspiracy to burn down the main stand in 1995, the main stand was torched by vandals in the 1980's. The original 1922 wooden seats were removed in 2003 and replaced but then accidentally destroyed before the plan to sell them to the fans could take place.
The Family Stand
The Family Stand, formerly the grand stand from Bennetthorpe, was put behind the Town End goal in the centre of the raised terrace in 1927 and being of a wooden construction had to be demolished post the Bradford fire disaster in 1985. In 2003 the terrace was made good and teh following Summer executive boxes were added to the back of the terrace.
The Popular Stand
Opposite the Main Stand stood Doncaster's equivalent of their kop - a standard terrace with a shelter added in 1924, extended in 1927, concreted in 1928 and again in 1937. In 1938 the roof was replaced and put further back adding capacity to the ground. The concrete wall at the front was added in 1939. In May 1987 mining subsidence caused a largescale reduction in it's depth and the shelter removed until 2 years later a roof costing £50,000 was again added to cover the popside.
The Keepmoat Stadium
The Keepmoat Stadium, with a capacity of 15,231, cost approximately £32 million to construct. Doncaster Rovers are the main tenants sharing it with Doncaster Rugby League Club and Doncaster Rovers Belles Ladies Football Club. It opened on 3rd August 2007, with Doncaster Rovers losing to a Manchester United XI in front of a crowd of 13,080.
It's named under a long-term sponsorship arrangement with Keepmoat, a company specialising in council housing.
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