History will be made tomorrow night (Thursday 16 May) when the new Emerald Headingley North Stand is used for the first time.
It has taken more than two decades of planning to reach this point, as the new £45m redevelopment of the Headingley rugby and cricket ground is finally complete.
When Leeds Rhinos play Castleford Tigers in the Super League derby, fans will take to the new seats for the first time.
This will be followed by the Fifth Royal London One-Day International cricket match between England and Pakistan on Sunday.
Gary Hetherington, chief executive of Leeds Rhinos, said: "When we open our new North Stand on Thursday, we will share a pride in having created something special for our club and the game of Rugby League and please be assured we are just as focussed on re-building our team to match our facilities."
Extensive upgrades were made to both the South and North Stand roofs in the early years before the first major redevelopment of the rugby stadium started in 1996 with the Extentia Stand.
However, it was the ambitions plans to replace both the South and North Stand that needed to be realised, if Emerald Headingley was to remain as a world class international sports stadium.
Leader of Leeds City Council CouncillorJudith Blake, said: "Emerald Headingley Stadium is a truly iconic venue which as the home of Yorkshire CCC, Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Carnegie, is loved and celebrated by people across the world.
"We were determined to find to a way to ensure that top-class sport could continue to be played at Headingley through the redevelopment of the stadium. I am delighted to say that in Legal & General we met an organisation who very much shared this ambition."
The redevelopment was made possible by a partnership between Legal & General and Leeds City Council.
An important driver of Leeds’ visitor economy, the deal will help secure the future of Headingley as home to top-level international sport, upgrading the seating capacity and providing facilities which will meet future standards.
Significantly boosting local jobs and economic growth, both during construction and over the long term, it is estimated that once complete the new stands will generate additional expenditure of over £107 million by 2023.
- The old North Stand witnessed its final game on 29th September 2017 when the Rhinos defeated Hull FC to reach the Grand Final.
- Work had already begun on the South Stand by that point and with limited capacity for the 2018 season, fans will recall the temporary stand that was put in place for the whole of last season. However, that did not delay the works on the rest of the North Stand and the redevelopment of the Pavilion last winter.
- Across all the projects, a remarkably over 2400 operatives have been inducted onto site. 30% of operatives working on the stadium redevelopment were from Leeds, 67% of operatives working on the stadium redevelopment were from Yorkshire.
- 8,228 seats have been installed with over a kilometre of handrails in place around the stadium.
- Over 3,000 cubic metres of concrete were used in the foundations and nearly 12,000 metre square of blockwork walls have been laid with 204 doors hung
- 1240 tonnes of steel were used in the construction all held together with 42,000 bolts and fans will recall the emerging stand appearing like a giant puzzle as 1,363 pieces of pre-cast concrete were lowered into place totalling 2,995 tonnes.