21 May 2012

Firs Park | Abandoned Stadium

Firs Park FalkirkFirs Park was a stadium in Falkirk, Scotland, the home of East Stirlingshire FC. It was opened in 1921 however by 2007, the police had restricted attendance to 750 due to the insufficient number of exits in case of emergency. The ground was eventually closed and abandoned in 2008 and was demolished in January 2012. The stadium was close to the town centre. The capacity had been raised to 1800 with 200 seated before closure but still costs associated with bringing it up to Scottish Football League standards were deemed to high and efforts to redevelop the ground were abandoned.

East Stirlingshire FC first played in Randyford Park in East Falkirk however began using Merchiston Park for some games after being accepted into the Scottish Football League in 1900. It became their permanent home in 1907. A railway line was built across Merchiston Park in 1920 forcing the club to seek a new home. An abandoned factory site on Firs Street in Falkirk was chosen and Firs Park was built. The record attendance in their time at the ground was 12,000 in a Scottish Cup match against Partick Thistle FC in 1921.

The club was briefly merged with Clydebank Juniors FC in 1964 and moved away from Firs Park however the supporters won a legal challenge and East Stirlingshire FC returned the following season, albeit with the roof and floodlights now removed following the previous years unsuccessful merger and move to Kilbowie Park. Few changes were made to the stadium until 1992 when the main stand was replaced with a near replica.

The final match at Firs Park was a 3-1 win against Montrose FC. They moved to Ochilview Park the following season and share the ground with Stenhousemuir FC. Firs Park lay abandoned for 4 years before finally being demolished in 2012.

This BBC article about East Stirlingshire's move away from Firs Park was published in 2008 -

East Stirlingshire say they were forced to leave their Firs Park stadium partly because of new Scottish Football Association criteria.

Shire will move from their long-time Falkirk home to groundshare with neighbours and Third Division rivals Stenhousemuir next season.

Director Spencer Fearn explained why Firs Park will make way for housing.
"We would have to spend a lot of money bringing it up to to scratch," he told his club website.

"For one thing, the pitch is too short. We would have had to dig up the terracing and extend the playing surface. It's just not worth it."

Fearn thought that the club would have had to spend "tens of thousands of pounds" on improvements demanded by the game's governing body in Scotland.

The planning process is still not complete for the proposed housing.

"There is a possibility we can retain our offices at Firs Park next season and use the pitch as our permanent training facility, " said Fearn.

"Obviously, that will depend on planning consent, but we are hoping Ogilvies aren't quite ready to move in and we can go on using Firs Park. That would be ideal for us."

Meanwhile, Shire will press on with a plan to build their own stadium elsewhere in Falkirk.

"We will be sharing with Stenhousemuir for a period of five years," said Fearn.

"In that five year period, we want to make sure we have a ground of our own."

The video below is from Abandoned Scotland who have some fantastic videos and pictures on their site.

Location: Falkirk, Scotland

Category: Stadium

Abandoned: 2008

Firs Park Abandoned

Picture: Chris Heaton

Firs Park Abandoned Stadium

Picture: Richard Webb

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