Glanford Park was finished in 1988 just in time for the 1988/89 season leading the Iron into a new era inside a brand new purpose built stadium.
When Glanford Park was built, it moved United to the forefront of modern football stadia and was an extremely impressive ground.
United’s old home, The Old Showground, was sold to supermarket giant Safeway and was largely demolished by the time Glanford Park opened its doors for the first time on August 14 1988.
The sale of the Showground left United with a brand new state of the art stadium just a mile down the road and all of the club’s debts cleared.
The 87-88 season was United’s last at the Showground, and unfortunately it was to end on a bad note as the Iron missed out on an automatic promotion place on the last day of the season (The Iron won 2-1 at Torquay but were denied promotion because of a second-half winner by Bolton Wanderers away at Wrexham) and subsequently went on to lose out in the play-offs to the Gulls.
United moved into Glanford Park full of optimism and many were predicting Mick Buxton’s men to crown GP’s first year with a promotion.
Again the Iron finished fourth and went on to miss out in the play-offs for a second successive year, this time getting beaten by Wrexham in the semis who went on to lose to Leyton Orient in the final.
When Glanford Park opened, it had an official capacity of 11,190 of which 6,524 was for terracing spaces and 4,666 seating. The away end was later changed to an all seater stand for safety reasons.
The sale of Neil Cox to Aston Villa coincided nicely as United got some blue seats formerly from Villa Park as part of the deal. This cut the capacity to 9,182, still the ground’s official capacity today – though segregation issues mean the true maximum is in fact lower.
Glanford Park is probably the easiest ground to find in the Football League situated just off the M180.
In recent yeara it has been joined by a Tescos, TJ Max, B&Q, a McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and a hotel.
United also extended the ground to include a new purpose-built Study United centre, the new facility which was paid for largely by the Football Foundation.
It houses classrooms fitted out with computers allowing local youngsters to improve their English and Maths skills.
United were the first basement division club to house such facilities, as the scheme was initially only available to Premier League clubs.
The start of the 2005-06 season has also seen work start on improved facilities under what is now the Grove Wharf Stand, which will see alchohol sold inside the ground for the first time.
A new refreshment area will be built underneath the stand, with televisions for latest scores, a seating area and more toilets.
The club are also hoping to add an all weather training pitch to Glanford Park’s already impressive facilities. The proposed £500K development would be used by players at SUFC, the club’s football in the community scheme and will be available for public use.
The money is available as part of a pilot scheme from the Football Foundation to develop grass-root all-weather facilities.
At the moment when the training pitch alongside Glanford Park is waterlogged the first team have been left struggling to find somewhere to train, and this develpment would counter that problem.
The pitch will be built at Glanford Park, although the exact positioning will not be decided until funds have been secured.