A history of the Deva Stadium

Football may not be the first thing most people associate with the city of Chester, but it has been home to Football League action for most of the last century. Since 1992, this has been at the Deva Stadium.

Early years

Taking its name from the Roman word for Chester, it is a little known fact that the Deva was the first stadium to be built in full compliance with the Taylor Report, compiled in response to the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster. With automatic turnstiles and improved disabled facilities, it was constructed to usher in a new era of football in Chester.

Despite initial talk of a 20,000 capacity, the stadium, which was built in seven months, ended up with one of just over 6,000. Just over half of this was seated and, fortunately for those watching football on a typically wet Cheshire afternoon, all stands were fully covered.

The programme for the first league game at the stadium against Burnley gave some interesting titbits of information about the construction of the ground, including that 48,000 bricks and 4.5 tons of screws and nails that were used.

Future developments

Although the capacity was only just above the 6,000 minimum required to host league football at the time, the stadium has generally met the club’s needs and has rarely seen sell-out crowds. Perhaps the biggest change to the ground since its opening was the conversion of the South Stand (for visiting supporters) from terracing to seating, which actually knocked the capacity down to 5,300. As of 2012, an analogue clock has been added to that same stand.

A new start

Though Chester City F.C. folded in 2010, the club’s fans set up Chester F.C. that year. The new club quickly shot up the non-league pyramid and now plays at the highest level below the Football League – the Conference Premier. With the ground now known as the Swansway Chester Stadium for sponsorship reasons, fans are hopeful of seeing league football back at the ground sometime.

Posted by Mark
September 15, 2014

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