Leicester Tigers' Welford Road stadium celebrates 125th anniversary
One of the "defining grounds" in the history of English rugby union, has celebrated its 125th anniversary as 2017 comes to a close.
Leicester Tigers, one Europe's most successful club rugby teams, first played rugby at Welford Road in 1892.
It is the biggest purpose-built club rugby union stadium in the UK.
The venue has also played host to a number of internationals, including matches at the 1991 and 1999 Rugby World Cups.
Leicester Tigers moved to Welford Road after years of "nomadic existence" around the city.
As an amateur club, Tigers played on the Belgrave Cricket and Cycle Ground and the council-owned Victoria Park.
The move to Welford Road was because the club wanted to be based the city centre and be able to charge people for entry, which it could not do on council-owned property.
"It's well up there [as a venue] in terms of club rugby," the club's historian Stuart Farmer says.
"Certainly Tigers, along with Kingsholm in Gloucester...they are probably two of the defining grounds that remain with us".
"It is synonymous with rugby union over the years.
"They've played World Cup games there and many, many big representative games there against the likes of the All Blacks and South Africans".
Tigers have won the Premiership ten times, a domestic record, and have also won the European Cup twice.
Sam Peters, a rugby reporter for The Sunday Times, believes Welford Road and its atmosphere are a crucial part of that success.
"If you get the combination of an outstanding team, an outstanding stadium, combined with passionate supporters it is a potent combination.
"Down the years Leicester have found that combination".
Welford Road in numbers
- Leicester Tigers initially invested £1,100 in 1892 to transform the land into a playing area
- The first match at the ground was a 17-0 victory over a Leicestershire XV
- The ground's current capacity is 25,849
- Tigers' biggest win at Welford Road was 100-0 against Liverpool St Helens in 1992
- The club's worst defeat at home was the 43-0 loss in last season's European Champions Cup against Glasgow
Source: Leicester Tigers/Stuart Farmer