Southamptons football ground “The Dell” hosted its first football match in 1898 and it owed its creation to a local fish merchant !!
The ground, as did many others, suffered bomb damage during the war forcing Southampton to play all the rest of their 1940/41 fixtures “away” from home, they did borrow Portsmouths ground for one home game though, a situation hardly likely to be popular with either set of fans.
The Dell does hold the distinction of being the first football ground to have permanent floodlighting in 1950, the picture below taken from a Football Review magazine in the early 1970’s shows the ground as it looked like … the observant amongst you will notice that it is the ground in this sites banner !!
The text on the picture reads as follows;
“The record attendance at Southamptons Dell was set in 1969 when a crowd of 31,044 watched the First Division game against Manchester United. The present capacity is set at just under 31,000 with seating for 6,286 spectators. The Dells playing surface measures 110 yards by 72 yards. Inset: Southampton team manager Lawrie McMenemy.”
The picture above is available for sale (along with loads more Southampton football memorabilia) on our main site Footybits, a link to which is at the top of this page.