A new housing scheme is taking shape on land which used to be Shrewsbury Town FC's home ground of Gay Meadow. Alun Thorne reports.
Football grounds hold a special place in the hearts of the devoted fan.
It’s the place where supporters escape from the humdrum of life as they spend Saturday afternoon cheering on their team in good times and bad.
Some people propose to their wives there, for some it is the ideal venue to have their ashes scattered and many would set up home there if they could.
Well, for fans of Shrewsbury Town FC, the opportunity has come to do just that.
Shrewsbury Town played for almost 100 years at its famous Gay Meadow ground on the banks of the River Severn before moving to a new state-of-the-art stadium on the outskirts of the town in 2007.
The ground – the scene of numerous famous matches including in when the minnows beat Premiership Everton in the FA Cup with a brace from Nigel Jemson – was demolished soon after the club moved out but the subsequent recession slowed down any redevelopment plans.
However, work is now progressing on a new housing scheme on the site of the old ground and Daniel Millar, from Cooper Green, which has been appointed as agents on the development, said the scheme is befitting of a site that is held in such high esteem.
He said: “As a company we are really pleased to have been chosen to sell what will be such an iconic development within the town and on a personal note it also makes me feel very nostalgic and honoured.
“I’ve supported Shrewsbury Town all my life and from the age of six I have spent many happy – and sometimes not so happy – afternoons watching some great games here.
"When you think about the history this place has, the big teams that have played here, and lost, and what an important part of many peoples lives its been over the years, its good to finally now see something so positive happening.”
The scheme, which is being developed by David Wilson Homes, will see around 160 units ranging from two bedroomed apartments to four bedroomed townhouses.
The redevelopment of the former Gay Meadow is the latest in a line of former football grounds that were demolished in favour of new stadia with the sites redeveloped for housing such as Coventry’s Highfield Road and the Baseball Ground in Derby.
The most famous example of a club redeveloping its old stadium but retaining the original fabric of the ground is Arsenal’s Highbury which was redeveloped into luxury apartments around the old pitch which became gardens and public spaces.