Huddersfield’s foremost sporting venue is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The John Smith’s Stadium – then the McAlpine Stadium – opened its doors in 1994 to provide a home for Huddersfield Town and Huddersfeild Giants.
Since then, the 24,500 seater stadium has hosted events ranging from rock concerts and major rugby matches to business exhibitions and charity fundraisers.
The complex came about as a result of a unique partnership between Kirklees Council, Huddersfield Town FC and Huddersfield Rugby League Club. The partnership was formed in 1991 with the aim of creating a versatile sports, entertainment and hospitality facility.
Success followed shortly after completion of the complex – with Town going on to promotion that year and the stadium was awarded the prestigious RIBA Building of the Year Award in 1995.
Since then, the Stadium has gone through five separate phases of development and is now sponsored by the brewing company Heineken as The John Smith’s Stadium.
The venue attracts 1.5m visitors a year and boasts facilities including a gym and pool complex, a nine-screen Odeon cinema, a restaurant, a coffee shop and bar and a golf driving range. it also enjoys a significant conference and banqueting business,.
Sir John Harman, a former leader of Kirklees Council and chairman of Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd (KSDL), said: “Moving away from Leeds Road was a big risk and it paid off with a modern facility which has permitted the clubs to meet ever-increasing ground standards while being able to concentrate on their playing and commercial priorities.
“It wasn’t just a new stadium, it wasn’t just the first of a new wave; it was a new way of working together and it has proved its worth over the last two decades.”
Gareth Davies, managing director of KDSL, said: “It was certainly a visionary decision to build the Stadium 20 years ago. However, it is much more than just a stadium, it is a community stadium. The stadium continues to move forward, with plans to further develop the site under the HD One scheme.. The past 20 years have been very productive and the future promises to be just as exciting”.