Leeds Rhinos planning emotional farewell for famous South Stand

Headingley's South Stand. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Headingley's South Stand. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
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LEEDS RHINOS fans are being offered an opportunity to help plan an emotional farewell to Headingley Stadium’s iconic South Stand.

Rugby league’s most famous terrace, which was opened in 1931, will be demolished next month.

Rhinos have requested a home fixture in the Betfred Super-8s on Friday, August 18, which will be the South Stand’s final game. Demolition is due to begin just three days later.

The existing structure will be replaced by a new stand, including a standing section and seats.

The main North Stand – shared with Yorkshire County Cricket Club – will remain open until the end of the season before also being replaced.

The work is part of a massive redevelopment of both sides of the stadium which is due to be completed by the spring of 2019.

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.

Closure of the South Stand will mark the end of an era and Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said the club are keen to give the terrace an appropriate farewell.

“The fixtures for the Super-8s have not yet been published, but we have asked for a home game on August 18,” Hetherington confirmed.

“That will be the final game of the South Stand and we want to hear from fans with ideas and suggestions as to how we can celebrate the current South Stand and give it a good send-off.”

Hetherington said the club are also appealing for fans’ memories of the South Stand, and he added: “Our marketing staff are working on plans for the night itself.

It is going to be an emotional game whoever we are playing against and we want to engage all our fans.

Gary Hetherington

“We are very much at the drawing-board stage at the moment – we have six weeks to prepare for the event.

“It is going to be an emotional game whoever we are playing against and we want to engage all our fans.

“We want to hear their special memories and experiences of the South Stand and thoughts on how we can make it a special night.”

Headingley’s current capacity is around 19,500, but that will be reduced by more than 6,000 during the redevelopment.

Proposed new North/South Stand overlooking the Headingley Cricket Ground.

Proposed new North/South Stand overlooking the Headingley Cricket Ground.

Rhinos have confirmed they will play their home games at Headingley during 2018 and 2019 as work goes on.

The Carnegie Stand and Western Terrace are unaffected and remain open.

They have a combined capacity of around 9,300.

Rhinos hope to have the new South Stand partially open next year and it is understood a temporary stand is planned on the north side of the ground.

Details of arrangements for next year have yet to be finalised, but Hetherington said: “We hope to be able to make specific announcements pretty soon.”

The club say the redevelopment will not alter the stadium’s current capacity, but will provide modern facilities enabling Headingley to stage major events including semi-finals and Test matches.

Fans with South Stand memories or thoughts on how its final game should be celebrated can email southstand@leedsrugby.com

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