Many younger Scunthorpe United fans will not have seen them perform at their former ground, the ‘Old Showground’ on Doncaster Road. The last match to be played there before the move to Glanford Park was a Fourth Division play-off semi-final against Torquay United on 18 May 1988.
The ‘Old Showground’ was the club’s first home after it was formed in 1899. It was on land used by Scunthorpe Agricultural Society for their annual show, hence the name.
The first stand seating was erected in 1912 at a cost of £100. It held 340 spectators. At first the land was rented from the Parkinson family, but in 1921 the club’s directors bought it for £2,500, along with a further payment to the local Council. It was then gradually developed into a 23,000 capacity stadium, with floodlighting added in 1957.
The most striking feature of the ground was the east stand, which was erected in 1958 to replace a wooden one lost in a fire. It was the first cantilever stand in the country, seating 2,351 spectators. The facilities at the ground were better than those of many similar clubs, even in the later years.
Brian Edwards, who began supporting Scunthorpe United in 1975 says:
‘The Old Showground was quite a good stadium, because all four sides were concrete, and all four sides were covered. At the old Belle Vue stadium (Doncaster Rovers’ former ground), I always used to joke, when they got a bigger crowd, they brought this heap of slag in to make it a bit higher !’