St Mary’s Stadium, an all-seater football stadium in Southampton, England, has been the home of Southampton F.C. since 2001. Currently the largest football arena in South East England, the stadium has a capacity of 32,384 spectators.
History on the St Mary’s Stadium
There had been discussions about the club moving to a new stadium to replace The Dell ever since the 1980s because of the old stadium’s congested location, which made it unsuitable for significant expansion work.
Although Southampton’s directors initially decided to convert The Dell into an all-seater stadium (which was completed in 1993) when the Taylor Report on 29 January 1990 mandated all First and Second Division clubs have all-seater stadiums by August 1994, rumors about relocation persisted, especially since an all-seater Dell had a capacity of just over 15,000; despite this, Southampton continued to defy the odds and survive in the new FA Premier League after 1992.
The Southampton City Council offered the club the chance to build a new ground on the abandoned gas work site in the center of the city, about 1.5 miles from The Dell, following a protracted and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to build a new 25,000-seater stadium and leisure complex at Stoneham, on the outskirts of Southampton.
Because the club was founded by parishioners of the nearby St. Mary’s Church as the football team of the St. Mary’s Church Young Men’s Association before changing its name to Southampton St. Mary’s F.C. and ultimately becoming Southampton F.C., the relocation was referred to as the club returning home. The 32,689-seat stadium and local infrastructure upgrades cost a total of £32 million to build. Work on the stadium itself began in December 1999 and was finished at the end of July 2001.
The Saints have lived there since August 2001, when they relocated from The Dell, which held just over 15,000 spectators in its final years of operation, which is less than half the size of the new stadium. On August 1, 2001, RCD Espanyol was the opponent for the first game, which the Spanish team won 4-3.
In a 3-1 victory over Havant & Waterlooville in the Hampshire Senior Cup final on May 1, 2002, Stafford Browne for Aldershot Town recorded the first competitive hat trick at the venue.
More Information on the St Mary’s Stadium
The stadium can accommodate 32,505 people in seats overall, not counting the press and directors boxes. It is unlikely that a competitive game will ever have the entire Northam Stand filled due to the separation of home and away supporters.
With all stands being the same height, the stadium is a complete bowl. From any seat, you can see the two sizable screens at either end.
The stadium’s four stands each bear the names of the Southampton neighborhoods they are facing. Itchen Stand, the primary (east) stand, is situated in front of the Itchen River. The Kingsland Stand is the one directly across from you. The Chapel Stand is located behind the south goal, and the Northam Stand is located to the north.
There is a continuous, translucent “panel” that runs along the back of the Chapel, Kingsland, and Northam Stands and is intended to let light into the pitch. For the same reason, a sizable portion of the roof at the Chapel Stand at the southern end of the stadium is translucent.
There are 42 executive boxes and a police control room at the back of the Itchen Stand. The club’s offices, locker rooms, press facilities, and corporate hospitality suites are also located in the stand. Some of the Saints’ greatest players are honored with names for the four main hospitality suites:
- Terry Paine
- Mick Channon
- Bobby Stokes
- Matt Le Tissier
The majority of the louder fans, as well as visiting supporters, are located in the Northam Stand. For cup games, fans may be allocated up to 4,250 seats (15% of the total available), and up to 3,200 for league games.
Other Uses of the Stadium
The stadium served as one of the locations for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 in 2022. It served as the venue for Group A matches in which England served as the hosts.
Two full England international matches, including a 2-2 draw between England and Macedonia in October 2002, were played at the St. Mary’s Stadium while Wembley Stadium was undergoing renovations and the Football Association decided that England matches would be played at various locations across the nation. England scored goals thanks to David Beckham and Steven Gerrard. The second came on September 10, 2019, when they defeated Kosovo 5-3 in a Euro 2020 qualifier. Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane, and Raheem Sterling all scored goals for England. Additionally, there has been international activity between Nigeria and Japan.
When the Saints played Steaua Bucharest of Romania in the UEFA Cup’s opening round in September 2003, it was the stadium’s first time hosting European soccer. A 1-1 draw was the result of the game.
Southampton participated in the UEFA Europa League for the first time in 2016, and they defeated Sparta Prague 3-0 in their opening match. They defeated former champions Inter Milan 2-1 later in the group stage.
Two England under-21 internationals were played there. The first was a 20 November 2008 match in Group 3 of the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship against the under-21s of the Republic of Ireland. Stephen O’Halloran’s own goal in the sixty-fifth minute, James Milner’s goal in the sixty-eighth minute, and Theo Walcott’s goal in the seventy-eighth minute gave the hosts a 3-0 victory in front of 31,473 spectators. The second was an international friendly on March 28, 2011, against the under-21 team from Norway. With 18,000 spectators present, the home team defeated the visitors 2–0 thanks to goals from Daniel Sturridge and Danny Rose in the ninth and forty-first minutes, respectively.
The longest-ever football game was played at St Mary’s Stadium from Monday, June 1, to Friday, June 5, 2015, setting a new world record. Testlands Support Project players from Southampton broke the previous record of 101 hours by playing nonstop for 102 hours.
Non Football Uses
St. Mary’s is also used as a conference space, as is typical of contemporary stadiums, and hospitality suites are made available for this use most days of the week.
The Southampton Study Support Center and Southampton City Training’s offices are both located in the Northam Stand. Southampton City Training is a quasi-council-run organization that assists young people in obtaining vocational training.
Many local Southampton schools, including St. Anne’s, St. George’s, Wyvern School, and Wildern Secondary School, use it as a prom venue.
Additionally, the stadium has hosted music performances by Elton John in 2005 and Bon Jovi in 2006, as well as movie premieres for titles like Casino Royale. Elvis Presley was honored in August 2007, and Southampton supporter Craig David performed at St. Mary’s on October 25, 2007, but neither event took place in the stadium’s main bowl. On June 11, 2008, Bon Jovi visited St. Mary’s once more. Robbie Williams’ The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour began on June 6, 2017. The Rolling Stones played a concert there on May 29, 2018, as part of their No Filter Tour. The St Mary’s was the smallest venue on the UK leg of the tour, along with the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Since its establishment in 2007, the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance has had its headquarters at St. Mary’s.
St Mary’s was one of the seventeen potential locations for the 2015 Rugby World Cup that were shortlisted, but it did not make the cut.
How to Get to St Mary’s Stadium
Arriving from City Center to St Mary’s Stadium
The most convenient way to get to St Mary’s Stadium from the city center is on foot. The High Street is roughly a 15-minute walk from the stadium, which is located a mile east of the city center. The walk from Southampton Central takes 30 minutes and is mostly in a straight line. Find out more in the section on public transportation.
Arriving to St Mary’s Stadium with Public Transportation
Southampton Central Station [SOU]: Blechynden Terrace, Southampton SO15 1AL is where the station is located; it is 30 minutes’ walk from the ground.
The stadium is accessible from Routes 8A, 18, and 11.
Arriving by Car at St Mary’s Stadium
Click here to view St Mary’s Stadium on Google Maps.
The following major roads provide access to the stadium:
- From North: M3; via M25, passing Winchester and Basingstoke
- From South: no route, ground is located on the South Coast
- From East: M27; from Portsmouth, passing Fareham
- From West: M27, M271, A33; passing Copythorne and Nursling
From City Centre
About two miles to the west of the stadium is where you’ll find the city center. From the town’s center, the A3024 and St. Andrews Road curves around the stadium’s northern side and onto Britannia Road.