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Olive Grove

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OLIVE GROVE

Olive Grove was Sheffield Wednesday F.C.'s first permanent football ground, home to the club for just over a decade at the end of the 19th Century. It was located near Queens Road in the centre of Sheffield.

The Need for a Stadium

Prior to the opening of the ground, Wednesday had used several other sites including Sheaf House and Bramall Lane, before newly-formed rivals Sheffield United took up permanent residence there. It was decided that the club should have its own stadium to avoid paying a percentage of gate receipts to the owners of the grounds used. Having their own stadium would also make it easier for Wednesday to accommodate their ever growing fan base.

Construction

Olive Grove was situated near Bramall Lane; just south of the city centre next to the railway tracks on Queens Road, on land leased from the Duke of Norfolk. However, it was in no fit state to host football matches and over £5,000 had to be spent developing the site. Even then, the ground still lacked basic facilities; early on the players even had to get changed at a local pub before matches!

The Beginning

The first match to be played at the completed stadium was against Blackburn Rovers on 12 September 1887, resulting in a 4-4 draw, with Wednesday coming back from 4-1 behind. Whilst at Olive Grove, Wednesday entered league football for the first time in 1889 by playing in the new Football Alliance. They won 15 out of their 22 matches to clinch the title in the first season, before finally being granted admission to the Football League in 1892. The first game at Olive Grove at his level was Wednesday's 5-2 win over Accrington Stanley. However, the club experienced a poor season and narrowly avoided relegation from the First Division.

The End

Despite steady improvement on the pitch over the following years, the days would soon be numbered for Olive Grove. Plans were made to expand the railway track beside the ground, and as a result, Wednesday's lease would not be renewed. To make matters worse, the final season at Olive Grove was a disaster; the team lost more than half of their 34 matches and were relegated from the top tier of English football for the first time. Things looked very bad for the club.

A New Beginning

In the spring of 1899 shares in Wednesday were issued to raise capital for a brand new stadium. Two sites were proposed for the development - Carbrook, in the North East of the city, and Owlerton, then a rural area to the North West. Despite the fans favouring the Carbrook site, the club committee chose the latter, and work soon began on Owlerton Stadium, later to be renamed Hillsborough, now one of the most famous football stadia in the country.

Records

Due to poor record keeping, it is difficult to give an accurate figure for the record attendance at Olive Grove. For many games the attendance was simply listed as "Good" or "Poor" and when figures were recorded these were only estimates. However, an attendance of 20,000 was recorded at the FA Cup 3rd round match against West Brom on 14 February 1891 and this was probably a record for the stadium.

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OLIVE GROVE

Olive Grove was Sheffield Wednesday F.C.'s first permanent football ground, home to the club for just over a decade at the end of the 19th Century. It was located near Queens Road in the centre of Sheffield.

The Need for a Stadium

Prior to the opening of the ground, Wednesday had used several other sites including Sheaf House and Bramall Lane, before newly-formed rivals Sheffield United took up permanent residence there. It was decided that the club should have its own stadium to avoid paying a percentage of gate receipts to the owners of the grounds used. Having their own stadium would also make it easier for Wednesday to accommodate their ever growing fan base.

Construction

Olive Grove was situated near Bramall Lane; just south of the city centre next to the railway tracks on Queens Road, on land leased from the Duke of Norfolk. However, it was in no fit state to host football matches and over �5,000 had to be spent developing the site. Even then, the ground still lacked basic facilities; early on the players even had to get changed at a local pub before matches!

The Beginning

The first match to be played at the completed stadium was against Blackburn Rovers on 12 September 1887, resulting in a 4-4 draw, with Wednesday coming back from 4-1 behind. Whilst at Olive Grove, Wednesday entered league football for the first time in 1889 by playing in the new Football Alliance. They won 15 out of their 22 matches to clinch the title in the first season, before finally being granted admission to the Football League in 1892. The first game at Olive Grove at his level was Wednesday�s 5-2 win over Accrington Stanley. However, the club experienced a poor season and narrowly avoided relegation from the First Division.

The End

Despite steady improvement on the pitch over the following years, the days would soon be numbered for Olive Grove. Plans were made to expand the railway track beside the ground, and as a result, Wednesday's lease would not be renewed. To make matters worse, the final season at Olive Grove was a disaster; the team lost more than half of their 34 matches and were relegated from the top tier of English football for the first time. Things looked very bad for the club.

A New Beginning

In the spring of 1899 shares in Wednesday were issued to raise capital for a brand new stadium. Two sites were proposed for the development - Carbrook, in the North East of the city, and Owlerton, then a rural area to the North West. Despite the fans favouring the Carbrook site, the club committee chose the latter, and work soon began on Owlerton Stadium, later to be renamed Hillsborough, now one of the most famous football stadia in the country.

Records

Due to poor record keeping, it is difficult to give an accurate figure for the record attendance at Olive Grove. For many games the attendance was simply listed as "Good" or "Poor" and when figures were recorded these were only estimates. However, an attendance of 20,000 was recorded at the FA Cup 3rd round match against West Brom on 14 February 1891 and this was probably a record for the stadium.

With Dunsbyowl in mind, here's a pix of the scene at Olive Grove on derby day!

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With Dunsbyowl in mind, here's a pix of the scene at Olive Grove on derby day!

How kind! I'm not even sure I know where that is ? What is there now?

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How kind! I'm not even sure I know where that is ? What is there now?

I think it is a Corporation works site, can't remember the exact details. I was last down there in the 1990s when a plaque about the football connection ws unveiled.

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Sorry for the blatant plug. But our Fred Spiksley biography that will be published in the next 3 years or so will contain 5 previously unseen photographs of Olive Grove. All are action shots of matches there. (1vs Villa, 2Vs Everton and 2vs Sheffield United) Combined with all the illustrations I also have it is possible to work out what it looked like in 360 degrees.

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A sort of Olive Grove Ground 'then & now' map

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Seen the plaque, had a trip up there a few weeks ago just to see it

Can't wait for the book on Fred Spiksley!

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Seen the plaque, had a trip up there a few weeks ago just to see it

Can't wait for the book on Fred Spiksley!

Been keeping an eye on the blog for about a year now. Anyone know when it might be published?

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Been keeping an eye on the blog for about a year now. Anyone know when it might be published?

The first draft will hopefully be completed this year. It will take a while to edit it because there is a lot of info. Thanks for checking the blog, sorry it's not been updated much the last year or so. But that is mainly due to it being written rather than finding any new research. The book will happen.

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The first draft will hopefully be completed this year. It will take a while to edit it because there is a lot of info. Thanks for checking the blog, sorry it's not been updated much the last year or so. But that is mainly due to it being written rather than finding any new research. The book will happen.

We thank you for keeping us up to date.

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This is a scan of a photocopy (hence the poor quality) showing the rent that The Wednesday Football Club paid The Corporation (Council) for the land at Olive Grove.

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