Away From The Numbers

Bayview Stadium:
A History Of Our New Home

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Bayview Stadium, Methil. The new home of East Fife Football Club since 1998. It's no Bayview Park but it's what we've got.

With Bayview Park becoming a crumbling wreck, the cost of redeveloping the old ground was not really an option that the East Fife board could seriously consider unless they found funding from some miraculous benefactor. Following a damning safety report by Fife Council in September 1987, the writing for our beloved home was on the wall.

As mentioned in the Bayview Park history (HERE), a number of various options had been looked at: ground sharing with Raith Rovers in Kirkcaldy or Glenrothes; a new 10,000 capacity stadium for sole use in Glenrothes; and a 3,000 capacity two stand stadium in the Ashgrove area of Methilhill.

Whether any of these options seriously got off the ground is open to debate.

Then on Monday 18th December 1995 East Fife Football Club and Morrison Construction announced plans to build a new two stand 3,000 capacity stadium down at Methil Docks. This new stadium was to be a definite go-er providing Fife Council planning permission was granted and this was given before the season was out.

Field Of Dreams? - East Fife's new home for Bayview Stadium
Field Of Dreams? - East Fife's new home to be
Some problems delayed the project for two years and in that time the stadium was reduced from two stands to one stand with a 2,000 capacity. Work finally began on what was to become East Fife's new home in April 1998 when the first seeds of grass were sown. With work on the new stadium underway, Bayview Park's days were numbered.

Work on the new 2 million stadium went very quickly and the stadium was finished in months.

The move in date was set and on Saturday 15th November 1998, Bayview Stadium opened it's doors and East Fife hosted their first match in their new home against Forfar Athletic.

East Fife won the Second Division match 1-0 and striker Barrie Moffat went down in history as the first player to score a goal on the new ground in front of 1,422 fans.

I always found it surprising that more people turned up for the first match at the new ground than saw the last match at the old one. Those in attendance though were pleased with the facilities in what were much more modern surroundings to watch football.

Bayview Stadium featured spacious new dressing rooms, a reception area and a function suite with three lounges, the main one of which was initially run as a daily restaurant as well. The main lounge also featured a bar and a dance floor and was capable of seating 100 people for functions and conferences. Other changes from the old Bayview included a police communciations centre but surprisingly no press box, much to a lot of the media's annoyance.

The official "opening" of the Stadium took place on July 21st 1999 when Kilmarnock were the visitors. Sadly only 526 people turned up to watch ex Fife player Henry McLeish cut the official ribbon and to see Kilmarnock triumph 3-1. At least it was an East Fife legend in Stevie Kirk that opened the scoring for us that day.

The new ground record crowd was set on Saturday 10th May 2003 when 1,996 people saw Kenny Deuchar's goal clinch promotion for East Fife against Queens Park on the last day of that season. It could be argued that the actual attendance record was set three weeks earlier when Morton came a calling on League duty but the attendance for that day was officially given as 1,991, despite there being people standing in most aisleways!

There haven't been a lot of changes to the Stadium in it's ten years, with all the main developments coming in recent years.

There were plans around 2005 to add a second stand behind the goals at the sea end. These would have included executive boxes and lounges with office space underneath,along with a gym and a possible restaurant. Having once seen these plans in print, it's a shame they came to nothing.

Bayview Stadium's seats need replaced due to the sea air. Photo taken from the official East Fife website
Bayview Stadium's seats get replaced
With the ground being situated right on the water, the sea air has played havoc with the seats, causing corrosion, and a major seat replacement programme took place in 2007, temporarily shifting the home fans to the away end. Once the home end was completed, work also had to be done on the away end. Whether this is going to be a major drawback of our current location remains to be seen.

When the Stadium was first opened, a room off to the left of the reception area was allocated to the Young Fifers. This became Sid's Bar in the winter of 2007, giving all supporters a place to drink before the game and allowing the main upstairs lounge to be used solely for corporate pre match lunches.

A portacabin was added to the outside of the main entrance to the Stadium and from March 2008 is currently used as the Club shop.

2008 also saw a training pitch added to the back of the stadium between the perimeter wall and the power station.

Plans to build a second stand and/or covered terracing were announced in the 2008 close season but have seemingly fallen through at present.

There is a lot of chat as to whether we will ever see Bayview Stadium expanded. At present it limits what crowds we can hold for the visit of the larger supported teams but if we're being honest it's more than suitable for our needs most of the time at present.