Vitality Stadium, the home field of AFC Bournemouth, is a football stadium in Kings Park, Boscombe, a suburb of Bournemouth, Dorset, England. The Dean Court was its previous name, which was altered for sponsorship purposes.
History on the Vitality Stadium
Boscombe F.C. received a plot of land from the Cooper-Dean family of the town in 1910; the family is also responsible for the ground’s name. The area had previously been a gravel pit, and the ground was not finished in time for the 1910–11 season to begin. The club consequently played at the nearby King’s Park before relocating to Dean Court in December 1910. Players initially had to change in a nearby hotel because the club facilities weren’t yet ready. A 300-seat stand was among the first improvements made at the stadium.
The club changed its name to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic after being elected to Division Three South of the Football League in 1923. On September 1, 1923, 7,000 spectators watched the first Football League game at Dean Court, which ended in a 0-0 draw between Swindon Town and the host team. Following the purchase of fixtures from the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, additional ground improvements were made, enabling the construction of a 3,700-seat stand. At the southern end of the field, a covered terrace was added in 1936.
The club’s League attendance record was established on April 14, 1948, when 25,495 people watched a 1-0 loss to QPR. On March 2, 1957, an FA Cup match between Manchester United and 28,799 spectators set the all-time record for attendance. The western stand’s roof was later added shortly after that. In order to expand the stand and add a recreation center, the club also bought additional land behind the northern end of the stadium. The club, however, ran out of money while the project was still in progress and gave up in 1984. As a result, the partially completed building was destroyed, and on that area of the property, housing was constructed. On March 4, 1986, 1,873 people turned out to watch the club’s lowest Football League attendance record, a 2-2 draw with Lincoln City.
More on the development of the stadium
Chairman Jeff Mostyn stated that the club was considering redeveloping the stadium as opposed to moving to Matchams in August 2014. With only 11,464 seats, the club was considering the possibility of erecting a brand-new, permanent stand and rounding off the stadium’s corners should they continue to enjoy success in the Premier League. When the stadium changed its name to Vitality Stadium in July 2015, the naming rights underwent another change.
Bournemouth announced in May 2016 that they would not be able to expand their stadium in time for the upcoming Premier League season. After a board meeting, the club decided to postpone its redevelopment plans. The Cherries cited “ongoing negotiations with the club’s landlord to purchase the stadium” as the cause in a statement. The stadium’s size needed to be increased, according to the club, because “demand for tickets far exceeds our current capacity.” The smallest stadium in the Premier League was Dean Court.
The club made plans to find a new location known in December 2016 as a result of the ongoing ground ownership disputes.
The club announced in July 2017 that it intended to construct a new stadium close to the current location in Kings Park.
Storm Eunice in February 2022, a storm with unusually high intensity, caused damage to the stadium. It led to the postponement of an EFL Championship matchup against Nottingham Forest that was set for February 18th.
Other Uses of the Stadium
Both the England Ladies and Under 16 teams competed there in 2013. Additionally, the Vitality Stadium has hosted musical performances, including Elton John in 2006.
How to Get to Vitality Stadium
Arriving from City Center to Vitality Stadium
The stadium is 1.5 miles (a 30-minute walk) west of the town center in the vicinity of Boscombe. The primary route connecting the center and Kings Park, where the stadium is situated, is Holdenhurst Road.
Arriving to Vitality Stadium with Public Transportation
Pokesdown Station [POK]: 20 minute walk to Christchurch Road, BH7 6DL.
Bournemouth Station [BOU]: The station is 30 minutes’ walk from the ground at Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8HX.
More bus routes from Lymington, Salisbury, Poole, and Boscombe are provided by Bus Wilts & Dorset.
Train stations in Bournemouth and Pokesdown are passed by Yellow Buses routes.
Arriving by Car at Vitality Stadium
Click here to view Vitality Stadium on Google Maps.
The following major roads provide access to the stadium:
- From North: A346, A338; passing Salisbury, approaches town centre on Wessex Way
- From North-east: M3, M27, A31, A338; via London, passing New Forest National Park
- From South: no route, town is located on the south coast
- From West: A35; passing Poole, approaches town centre on Bournemouth Road
From City Centre
The town center is divided by the A338 and passes by Bournemouth station. From the city center to Boscombe, the A35 travels east, passing Pokesdown station and the region to the south of the stadium. From the center, Holdenhurst Road runs to the east. Close to Goldsands Stadium, it comes to an end at the intersection of Wessex Way (A338) and Kings Park Avenue.