Hearts FC

The history of Tynecastle Stadium

The history of Tynecastle Stadium

1874: The Heart of Midlothian Football Club first played in the East Meadows, but the club quickly required a private pitch and started to use the Edinburgh Association Ground at Powburn, off West Savile Road, and then Powderhall Grounds.

1881: Hearts leased a new facility in the industrial suburb of Dalry. However, the first Tynecastle was not the present ground, but a field on a site that is now Wardlaw Street and Wardlaw Place.

1886: The club secured the tenancy of part of a vast meadow that Edinburgh Corporation was letting for housing and industry. £200 was spent to lay out Tynecastle Park which remains one of the oldest grounds in Britain and one of its greatest sporting venues.

1886: The new ground had two pitches running in an East-West direction with the spectators gathering behind a stout rope. An open, wooden trestle stand, holding 250 fans, ran alongside the South field backing on to Gorgie Road.

1886: Some 5,500 supporters attended the opening match against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday 10 April. On that special day, Hearts defeated the English professionals 4-1 and Tommy Jenkinson scored the first goal on the ground after only five minutes.

1886: Heart of Midlothian received its first home defeat from England's finest team, Preston North End, who won 4-1 on Thursday 6 May.

1887: Another record was established on 17 September when Hearts defeated Vale of Midlothian 18-0 in the East of Scotland Shield. This is the club's biggest home victory.

1888: During the summer the club extended the stadium's capacity to 10,000 after the two pitches were reduced to one large enclosure running in the now familiar North-South direction and surrounded by a smart cinder running track.

1888: Two open wooden stands were erected next to each other on the McLeod Street Side of the ground separated by an entrance tunnel and holding around 1,500 spectators. A new pavilion with modern comforts was built next to the South Stand.

1888: Entrance to all parts of the new park was through a lane opposite Newton Street where five pay boxes stood.

1889: The Scottish League started and Hearts first home game in the Championship came on Saturday 23 August against Celtic. Hearts lost 5-0 and Madden of Celtic recorded the first ever League goal at Tynecastle Park before 5,000 fans.

1890:  Hearts won the Scottish Cup and from the proceeds of this success, the club erected a handsome new clubhouse incorporating committee rooms, a gymnasium and stripping facilities for the players.

1891: Hearts constructed Tynecastle's first press box, situated over the entrance tunnel between the two open stands.

1892: The first Full International fixture to be allocated to the ground was against Wales on 16 March. Scotland won 6-1 but only 1,200 fans watched the contest because a snow storm had crossed the city and thousands assumed that the game would be postponed.

1892: During the summer, the club provided the first covered accommodation for the public when the South Stand was roofed. It was known as the "Covered Stand" until 1901 and supporters could now enter the park from McLeod Street.

1894: When Hearts won the Championship in 1894-95, the club had 1,000 members. The "Evening News" installed the first telephone on the ground and the public was also delighted to see that refreshment stalls had been erected.

1895: The first ever League match against Hibernian took place on 28 September. The record crowd of 17,500 created an electric atmosphere especially in the dying minutes when Davie Baird scored with a superb shot to give Hearts a 4-3 victory.

1896: Hearts won the Scottish Cup for a second time and resources were available to construct a running track that was banked in order to provide a cycle raceway. The cinder banking on which most of the spectators stood was also built up.

1897: Hearts won the League again in 1896-97 and the stadium banking was repeatedly expanded. The first wooden crush barriers were planted in the cinder slopes and the ground was brightened up by huge advertising hoardings and a wooden perimeter fence.

1901: Hearts financial problems were resolved after the Scottish Cup Semi Final against Hibs at Tynecastle on 3 March. A record crowd of 22,500 watched the game and although a replay was needed, Hearts went on to win the Cup for the third time.

1901: The uncovered North Stand was in a dangerous condition and was replaced during the summer with a modern and spacious covered structure with a standing enclosure in front. The North Stand was erected by Messrs W C Brown for just over £647.

1901: Ellison & Company's rush resistant turnstiles were bought for the two entrances in Gorgie Road and McLeod Street and wooden beams were laid in the Gorgie Road banking to provide the first terracing at Tynecastle.

1903: The largest crowd to watch a Scottish football match outside of Glasgow filled Tynecastle on 7 March when Hearts defeated Dundee 1-0 in a Scottish Cup Semi Final Replay. Bill Porteous scored the only goal in front of a remarkable attendance of 30,000.

1903: The club was criticised after the Dundee game as there was inadequate stewarding and this led to crushing at the South-West corner. In addition, seats that were placed on the track in front of the stands were said to be ill-arranged and hazardous.

1903: Hearts immediately built a new stand, pavilion and press box. In fact the North Stand was joined to the South Stand with the buildings unified to make a continuous structure. A new pavilion was also built with balcony seats over a standing area.

1906: Hearts won the Scottish Cup for a fourth time and the club was awarded the Scotland versus Wales match on 3 March. A record crowd for the fixture of 25,000 paid for admission, but after a break-in the actual crowd was nearer 30,000.

1906: The ground was substantially enlarged through lowering the banking three feet below the playing pitch. This involved removing the cycle track except a section on the Main Stand side that was retained for training purposes.

1906: After a new brick wall was constructed around three sides of the park and the banking was covered with fresh cinders, the ground's capacity was 61,784 (4,000 of this figure in the Stand and Pavilion).

1907: On 30 March another record crowd watched Hearts play Queens Park in a Scottish Cup Semi-Final tie. The 35,000 fans produced incredibly wild cheering at the conclusion of the game as the maroons again reached the Cup Final.

1908: The Exchange Telegraph Company erected the first half time scoreboard and started to issue the club's first regular match programme.

1909: The club sold the hay field behind the North Embankment to the School Board and Tynecastle School was subsequently built on the site.

1911: Hearts opened a 120-yard covered enclosure on the distillery side. Made of corrugated iron in two semi-circular spans and supported by steel standards, it became known as the "Iron Stand". This enclosure held 4,500 spectators and cost £453.

1912: Scotland beat Wales 1-0 at Tynecastle on 2 March and this victory was watched by 31,000, a record crowd for the fixture.

1912: During the summer the club obtained a 19-year lease from Edinburgh Corporation. With the tenancy secure the Tynecastle Terrace and McLeod Street entrances were given modern pay-boxes and the banking was built up and strengthened with fresh ashes.

1913: Due to public demand, the club decided to build a new, much more commodious Main Stand, costing £5-6,000. Britain's most noted stadium architect, Archibald Leitch, was commissioned to design the stand that was to incorporate all modern conveniences.

1914: Mr. Leitch submitted plans and it was now estimated that the cost of Hearts brick and steel building would be around £8,000. The principal contractors were Edinburgh companies, Redpath Brown Limited and J Duncan & Sons.

1914: The club had £4,000 of the required funding for the stand and so it was necessary to transfer Percy Dawson to Blackburn Rovers for a then British record fee of £2,500.

1914: The new Main Stand was partially opened on 15 August when Hearts beat Celtic 2-0 in the League before 18,000 spectators. The club instructed a tablet to be placed on the outside wall giving details of the Directors involved in the construction project.

1914: When the Stand was completed in October, it was the most advanced in Scotland, but a number of items had been omitted from the original estimate and the club's commitment began to rise just as gates began to fall due to the outbreak of the Great War.

1914: Had football been suspended during the War, Heart of Midlothian FC might not have survived because the final cost of the Main Stand soared to £12,178. Despite the initial difficulties the Stand has lasted well and has been a considerable asset to the club.

1915: It is well documented that Hearts players, staff and supporters served with distinction during the Great War. At Tynecastle, the club was also active in supplying relief parcels to Britain's servicemen and in raising funds to assist distressed areas.

1918: With the War won, the Grassmarket Band led the singing of patriotic songs at Tynecastle on Victory Day 16 November. Hearts crushed Falkirk 5-0 in a League match that day with Andy Wilson scoring a hat-trick before 7,000 fans.

1921: Hearts average home attendance rose to over 17,000 in 1921-22 and on 22 February, a crowd of 40,000 assembled to see the team play Rangers in the Cup. This was twice the gate at the Scotland v Ireland Rugby International at Inverleith.

1924: A survey revealed that if every spectator was allowed a space of 14 inches by 24 inches, the capacity of Tynecastle was 50,068. If it was 14 x 22 inches then the capacity was 60,018.

1924: There was also a proposal to rebuild the Main Stand at the School End with the pitch swung East-West. The City rejected this plan on the basis that a stand at the North End of the ground would block light from the school.

1925: The City agreed to sell Tynecastle Park to the club as it stood for £5,000. However, the Corporation entered a buy-back clause in the title deeds should football cease to be played on the ground.

1925: On 14 February, an attendance of 23,000 watched Scotland's 3-1 win over Wales at Tynecastle.

1925: Prior to the commencement of season 1925-26 Hearts began a comprehensive scheme to terrace the embankments using railway sleepers. The appearance of the ground was also enhanced by the extension of the cinder track to encircle the playing pitch.

1926: The club's capacity problems were brought to a head on 20 February when Celtic came to contest a Scottish Cup 3rd Round tie. An astonishing crowd of 51,000 were admitted and 10,000 disappointed fans had to be dispersed by the mounted police.

There was severe crushing and considerable damage to barriers and fences. At the North-East corner the crowd spilled onto the pitch and had to be cleared by the mounted police. As for the match, Hearts lost by 4-0 although two late goals flattered Celtic.

1926: To stem criticism, the directors announced that the restructuring scheme was to be speeded up. The banking would be fully terraced adding 10,000 places and the Iron Stand was demolished as the passageways around it took up valuable space.

1926: In October, work came to a halt as the expenditure had left the club £9,000 in debt. However, financial problems were resolved in February 1927 when the club sold their finest striker of the period, John White, to Leeds United for £5,700.

1927: Radio commentaries started from the ground as Hearts gave the BBC permission to broadcast from Tynecastle Park.

1928: The four year programme had seen the complete terracing of the ground with 83,200 feet of stepping in wood and cement. Two crowd dispersal subways had been constructed and a new entrance had been completed at Wheatfield Street.

1928: The terracing had also been extended over the gates at the Gorgie Road End and over Gerard's Yard. Some £18,000 had been spent but Hearts were landlords of a modern well equipped and safe stadium which was one of the finest in the country.

1930: The club introduced one of Britain's first public address systems with the Radio Recording Company playing music from a small hut at the South-West corner.

1932: On 14 February an all-time record attendance packed Tynecastle. A gate of 53,396 poured into the ground to see the Scottish Cup 3rd Round tie with Rangers. They paid £3,423 which was also a club record and Rangers won by the only goal.

1932: Tynecastle's enormous potential was further confirmed in October when on a Wednesday afternoon, all of 32,175 watched Scotland defeat Wales 5-2 at the ground.

1934: The club's midweek record attendance was further extended on 21 February when 48,895 packed the stadium for a Scottish Cup Replay against Rangers. Hearts Cup hopes were dashed after a 2-1 defeat.

1934: In August, SK Rapid of Vienna became the first non-British club side to play at Tynecastle Park. The Austrians entertained the crowd of 22,621 with some intricate ball work but were worn down by traditional Scots aggression and Hearts won 5-1 .

1935: On 13 November Scotland beat Northern Ireland 2-1 at Tynecastle before a crowd of 28,771.

1936: The directors decided to invest in safety and comfort, the first task being the replacement of the wooden crush barriers with modern metal structures.

1936: A 5,000 capacity covered enclosure at the School End was vetoed by the Education Committee as light would be blocked from the classrooms.

1937: In season 1936-37, Hearts average League gate hit a new peak of 20,087. Most of the regulars were there on 13 February as Hearts recorded its biggest victory in a major competition with Kings Park being demolished 15-0 in the Cup.

1938: The white wooden fence that had graced the Main Stand since its construction was replaced by a brick wall. This structure was immediately put to the test on 3 September when an all time record League attendance of 49,904 saw Hearts lose 5-1 to Celtic.

1938: The club now required a stadium in less confined surroundings but plans for a super ground at Saughton Mains were delayed when the Corporation advised that it was considering the construction of a new municipal stadium for the Empire Games.

1938: On 9 November a great crowd of 34,831 packed the ground on a Wednesday afternoon to see the skills of Tommy Walker inspiring Scotland to a 3-2 victory over Wales.

1939: On 18 February, a Scottish Cup 3rd Round tie with Celtic was Tynecastle's first all-ticket match. Hearts sold 50,709 tickets for the game and 50,446 supporters turned up on the day to witness an exciting 2-2 draw.

1939: A committee looked at potential new sites for a modern stadium, but in May it reported that the cost of a new ground would be in the region of £100,000 to £130,000 a sum that could ruin the club. Speculation ended in September with the outbreak of War.

1939: Hearts operated in the East & North Division of the Wartime League. Due to the threat of air raids Tynecastle's capacity was restricted to 8,000 with the City Police maintaining the right to sanction a higher figure for specific matches if safety permitted.

1940: Even though Hearts finished runners-up to Falkirk in the East & North Division this competition was a financial disaster because there were no matches against the Old Firm. The average attendance at Hearts home League matches fell to an alarming 3,452.

1940: Hearts became members of the much more successful Southern League and this was to operate until 1945. However, apart from leveling the slope from the dressing rooms to the pitch, only maintenance work was carried out during the War.

1946: After 33 people died in crushing at Bolton Wanderers' ground, the major clubs in Britain had to ensure that their stadiums could cope with the huge crowds that sought entertainment after the grim years of War.

1946: At Tynecastle £1,400 was spent on the retaining wall around the track and some crush barriers were renewed. To increase comfort, 523 tip-up seats were installed in the Centre Stand although this did reduce the seating capacity to 3,789.

1946: The wooden terracing sleepers were beginning to rot and the layers of ash were wearing thin. As crowds for big matches reached 40,000 the club needed, in the interest of safety to totally rebuild the ground or immediately repair the existing structure.

1947: A project to concrete the entire terracing started while £1,750 was spent on new drainage. In addition, a handsome layer of red ash was laid round the track.

1948: An additional £4,500 was spent to re-sew the playing pitch.

1949: In season 1948-49 Hearts League gates reached an all time high and a record average of 28,196 was recorded. Every club in Scotland enjoyed the boom and all-ticket matches were common.

1950: The City Police advised the club that the capacity was to be 48,883 with 3,803 in the Stand; 7,080 in the Enclosure and 38,000 in the Ground.

1951: Work on the concreting of the terraces was completed with the total cost being £16,900. The club also introduced its first dressing room showers.

1953: In August, contractors dug two deep trenches on either side of the tunnel and a sitting area was made for the trainers. The "dug-outs" were covered and enclosed with unbreakable glass.

1953: Messrs Ford & Torrie also built a bridge over the top of the tunnel which allowed access between the North and South Enclosures.

1954: The Main Stand Enclosure was also stepped and Hearts possessed Scotland's first all concrete stadium. In addition, in November, Tynecastle was enhanced by the painting of the popular club crest over the tunnel.

1954: Following the modernisation of the terraces, the club architects said that the capacity was 54,359 but for safety reasons only 49,000 tickets was printed for big matches.

1957: In October, Hearts first floodlighting system was inaugurated with a special match against Hibs. Willie Bauld scored the first goal under the new lights but the home side lost the game 4-2.

1957: Although the four pylon system cost £14,107, the lights assisted training and made European and other extra tournaments possible. The club also replaced the press box that dated back to 1914.

1958: Inflation took the cost of admission from 2/- (10p) to 2/6 (12.5p) but with Hearts winning seven major honours in the space of a decade, the price was right. European football also came to Tynecastle on 9 September with Standard Liege the visitors.

1959: A covered enclosure for 15,000 spectators was built on the distillery side at a cost of £23,000. The completion of this work was made possible by the sale of Davie Mackay to Tottenham Hotspur for £32,000.

1959: The covered enclosure was a distinctive and handsome piece of architecture as the roof carried on some 20 yards round the North West corner. The whisky bonds sheltered the fans from the wind and this structure greatly enhanced the atmosphere in the ground.

1959: Two half time score boards were built on either side of the boundary wall to replace the old board that had stood at the School End since the twenties. These were replaced in 1963 by a new scoreboard at the Gorgie Road End.

1966: Although attendances had dropped since the League Championship was thrown away in 1964-65, a Cup match against Celtic on 5 March attracted 46,965. There was also a break-in of fans to see an exciting 3-3 draw.

1969: In February Scotland's largest licensed club was established behind the Main Stand. It was expected to generate funds for ground development but these hopes were short lived.

1970: A souvenir shop was opened at Tynecastle while all sorts of sponsorship became a feature of the game.

1972: In March, the last crowd in excess of 40,000 was seen at Tynecastle when 40,354 spectators watched a Scottish Cup Replay against Celtic. Hearts lost 1-0.

1973: Hearts suffered a record home defeat when Hibs won the New Year Derby 7-0 before 35,844 fans.

1975: On New Year's Day, Tynecastle held its last crowd in excess of 30,000 when a 0-0 draw with Hibs attracted 36,500.

1975: The Safety of Sports Grounds Act led to a drastically reduced capacity at Tynecastle with the limit being 30,000.

1977: The Hearts board under Chairman, Bobby Parker, bought out the Council's restriction in the ownership of the ground for £10,000 and Tynecastle became a huge asset.

1977: The club spent £100,000 to ensure that a Safety Certificate was granted. The terraces had to be sectioned off and fenced. Additional barriers were also placed around the ground and the capacity was slashed to 27,440.

1978: A 7-foot security fence was built around the playing area and segregation barriers split the terracing into two sections at the Wheatfield Street entrance. The home area was at the School End.

1980: More safety work resulted in the crowd dispersal tunnels being closed while 3,000 bench seats were bolted onto the terraces under the covered enclosure.

1981: The final game of season 1980-81 against Kilmarnock attracted only 1,866 spectators, the lowest in the League since 1941.

1983: The distinctive sponsors lounge was built in the Main Stand while basic admission was now £1.80.

1984: Hearts returned to European action, but lost to Paris St.Germain. The UEFA observer reported that the behavior of the Tynecastle crowd had been magnificent and they were as generous in their applause of the visiting team as they were to their own.

1985: During the summer a successful season ticket promotion funded the popular Family Enclosure in front of the Main Stand. This area held 1,000 supporters.

1986: Season 1985-86 was the most successful for many years and the average gate rose to 16,198.

1987: The entrance tunnel was repositioned in the Main Stand and the Family Enclosure was extended to accommodate an additional 500 spectators. There was constant upgrading of the Main Stand hospitality areas.

1990: The South Enclosure was seated and the Main Stand now held 5,191.

1994: During the summer the superb Wheatfield Stand was built with 5,902 seats and modern amenities. The Stand supported the new floodlight gantries and the main television platform was suspended from the roof.

1995: In the summer, the Roseburn Stand was built at the School End providing another 3,676 seats.

1997: The Gorgie Stand was completed in September adding another 3,300 seats. The Stand also accommodated the Superstore and in December, the Gorgie Suite was opened by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Eric Milligan.

1998: In October the new Tynecastle Stadium was the venue for Scotland's 3-2 victory over Estonia.

2000: It was announced that Heart of Midlothian FC was to relocate from Tynecastle Stadium to an out of town site, possibly in association with Hibernian FC. Leasing Murrayfield Stadium then became the preferred option, but by March 2004, the Save our Hearts Campaign clearly highlighted the supporters preference which was to redevelop the club's traditional home.

2003: In May, Scotland drew 1-1 with New Zealand at Tynecastle Stadium before a crowd of 10,016.

2004: In May, the Heart of Midlothian Football Academy was opened at the Heriot Watt University and the players would no longer be regularly seen on the streets of Gorgie. New chairman, George Foulkes, commissioned a working party to look at options for the stadium and this led to one more season at Tynecastle. During this extra time, Mr. Vladimir Romanov took control of the club and stopped the sale of the ground.

2005: Plans were produced for a new Main Stand that could take the capacity of the stadium up to 25,000. In the meantime, the removal of 280 seats from the front of the Gorgie and Roseburn Stands allowed the club to extend the length of the playing pitch to meet UEFA Cup requirements. The capacity of the ground is now 17,400.

2005: At the start of season 2005-2006 Tynecastle was enhanced by the addition of new signs and banners, and also tributes to both club legends and supporters on massive posters placed throughout the stadium.

2006: With sell-out crowds backing the team at every home game, Hearts went on to win the Scottish Cup and qualify for the UEFA Champions League (formerly the Champions Cup) for the first time since 1960. In May 2006, when Hearts defeated Aberdeen to finally claim a place among Europe's elite, the atmosphere at Tynecastle was breathtaking. 

2006: With season ticket sales for season 2006-07 reaching record levels, it was necessary to move the Champions League Qualifying Round matches to the magnificent Murrayfield Stadium where the AEK game attracted 32,459 and underlined the real potential of the Heart of Midlothian FC.

2007: Early in the year, because the club's redevelopment proposals supported the council's regeneration plan for Gorgie-Dalry, the City of Edinburgh gave the club permission to purchase for £5.9 million, land and buildings adjacent to the Main Stand and also Tynecastle High School. The administration block was also acquired from the Mercer family to help create the necessary space for the construction of a 12,000-seat Main Stand. 

2007: At the end of season 2006-2007, Hearts average home gate at League matches was 16,900 and season ticket sales for the new campaign hit a record level of 13,000. The 57,857 attendance at the pre-season match against Barcelona also confirmed the potential to fill an expanded Tynecastle and to prosper in Gorgie-Dalry. This is a very special area of the city that has a vibrant mix of industry, commerce, shopping and education. And of course, since the original Tynecastle Park was opened in 1881, it has been the home of the Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

2011: Tynecastle celebrates its 125th anniversary.

2011: Tottenham Hotspur visit Gorgie to do battle with Hearts in the UEFA Europa League.

2012: Tynecastle once again hosts a Scottish Cup celebration day after Hearts hammer Hibs 5-1 in the showpiece Final.

2012: The remarkable Tynecastle atmosphere is on display again when Liverpool come to town on UEFA Europa League duty.

2014: Hearts supporters joint the revival en masse with over 12,000 season tickets sold for the 2014/15 Championship campaign.