Tuesday, 23 Jul 2024

Rugby Park: Kilmarnock

Rugby Park has a rich history as the home ground for Kilmarnock Football Club. Built in 1899, it is the club’s fifth ground and has been the venue for their home games for over a century. As the oldest professional football club in Scotland, Kilmarnock has a deep connection with Rugby Park, which has played a significant role in their journey.

The Origins of Rugby Park

Before becoming Kilmarnock’s home ground, Rugby Park was primarily used for cricket and rugby matches. However, in 1877, Kilmarnock Football Club found its home at the original Rugby Park, where they began playing their games. When a new stadium was constructed in 1899, the club decided to pay homage to its previous ground by naming the new one Rugby Park as well.

Stadium Stats and Facts

  • Year Opened: 1899
  • Capacity: 17,889
  • Average Attendance: 5,342
  • Record Attendance: 35,995 (Kilmarnock vs. Rangers in 1962)
  • Pitch Size: 102 x 68 meters
  • Owner: Kilmarnock F.C.
  • Clubs Hosted: Kilmarnock F.C.
  • First Fixture: Kilmarnock vs. Celtic on August 1, 1899

Seating Plan and Where to Sit

Rugby Park offers various stands for spectators. The Chadwick Stand, located behind one of the goals, is where away supporters are usually seated. The East Stand runs along the side of the pitch, while the Frank Beattie Stand, considered the main stand, houses the dugouts and changing rooms. The Moffat Stand is known to be particularly lively, housing passionate Kilmarnock supporters.

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Ticket Prices and How to Get Them

Kilmarnock offers a straightforward ticketing system, with a single set price for the entire stadium. The only factors that affect ticket prices are age and matches against Celtic and Rangers, where prices may be slightly higher. Tickets can be purchased online through the club’s official website, in person from the Kille Shop, or over the phone. Cash turnstiles are also available on match days, except for Old Firm games. Postal delivery is available for an additional fee of £1.50.

Getting to Rugby Park

Kilmarnock is conveniently located near the lower East coast of Scotland, close to Glasgow. There are several transportation options to reach Rugby Park:

  • Train: A train journey from London Euston takes approximately five and a half hours, with a change in Carlisle. The train station is around a twenty-minute walk from the stadium.
  • Bus: Buses 6, 7, 10, 337, and X50 provide transportation from the train station to the stadium.
  • Car: If you’re driving from England, enter Scotland on the A74 (M) motorway, which becomes the M74. Take Junction 12 onto the A70, then follow the B743 to the A76, following the signs to the stadium.
  • Air: Prestwick Airport is just nine miles away from Rugby Park, while Glasgow Airport is 22 miles away.
  • Taxi: A taxi from the train station to the stadium costs approximately £5 and takes around five minutes.

Parking Near Rugby Park

Parking at Rugby Park is limited to hospitality customers, and on-street parking is scarce on match days. It is advisable to park in the city center and walk to the stadium.

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Rugby Park Hotels

While Kilmarnock may not have the same allure as Glasgow, it is still worth exploring. Here are some recommended hotels in the area:

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Pubs and Bars Near Rugby Park

Kilmarnock offers a range of pubs and bars that are worth visiting. Whether you’re looking for a pint before the game or a place to celebrate afterward, check out these popular establishments:

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Facilities and Amenities

Rugby Park boasts modern facilities, offering a wide range of amenities to enhance the matchday experience. Food and drink concessions, ample toilets, and comfortable concourses are available throughout the stadium.

Prices

  • Programme: £3
  • Pie: £1.70
  • Cup of tea: £1.70

Hospitality Options

Rugby Park provides two main options for matchday hospitality:

  1. Park Suite: Enjoy a sparkling wine reception, a pre-match drink, a three-course meal, half-time refreshments, and a post-match presentation of the Man of the Match award. Delight in a variety of entertainment throughout the day.
  2. Executive Club: Experience a more intimate hospitality experience, with a pay bar available before and after the game. Enjoy light snacks before the match, seating in the Director’s Box, and a half-time buffet with finger foods.

Private Hire

Adjacent to Rugby Park is The Park Hotel, which features fifty rooms and the Ayrshire Banqueting and Conference Centre. If you’re planning an event in the Kilmarnock area, The Park Hotel can accommodate up to 400 guests for a banquet or 600 for a conference.

Stadium Tours and Museum

Unfortunately, as of now, stadium tours and an onsite museum are not available at Rugby Park. However, if you book one of the hospitality packages, you will have the chance to explore the stadium as part of the experience.

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About Kilmarnock Football Club

Kilmarnock Football Club holds the distinction of being the oldest professional football club in Scotland. Initially formed by a group of local cricketers seeking an offseason activity, the club transitioned to association football as its popularity grew. Throughout its history, Kilmarnock has achieved success, winning the top-flight in 1965 and securing three Scottish Cup victories. While they have faced ups and downs, Kilmarnock’s strong ties with Rugby Park continue to shape their identity.

Rugby Park History

Rugby Park holds a special place in Kilmarnock’s history, as it was the venue for their first-ever game in Scotland’s top-flight. The initial pitch was surrounded by a running track, with a pavilion and stand along the west side. Following the Second World War, the pitch required reconstruction, with Italian POWs assisting in rebuilding the North terrace. Over the years, the stadium has undergone multiple renovations, with the most extensive taking place in the 1990s to meet all-seater requirements. The reconstructed Rugby Park was inaugurated on August 6, 1995, with a friendly match against Blackburn Rovers.

Future Developments

Exciting plans for Rugby Park’s future include a new 3G training pitch, the construction of a new building as the Moffat stand entrance, and a multi-story office incorporating the club shop. New floodlights are also part of the proposed developments.