Address: 31 Pittodrie Street,
Capacity: 20,961 (All-Seater)
There is a lot of firsts that have happened here over the years.
Taking its name from the area it is based in, Pittodrie dates back to the late 19th century, when it became home to Aberdeen Football Club.
Aberdeen FC were originally formed in 1881 and played at various venues within the city until 1899, when a former dung hill for police horses was cleared and prepared to host football. Aberdeen had been leased the land from Mr Knight Erskine of Pittodrie, and an agreement had been made to construct a terrace on one side of the pitch.
In April 1903, Aberdeen merged with two other clubs based in the city, Victoria United Football Club and Orion Football Club, to form the Aberdeen Football Club that is in place today.
The Dons’ first game at Pittodrie took place in August 1930, a 1-1 draw with Stenhousemuir in front of around 8,000 people.
The ground was purchased by Aberdeen in 1920. That same decade, Pittodrie became the first stadium to have a dugout installed by the pitch. It was introduced to football by then-coach Donald Colman who wanted to sit lower to the pitch in order to inspect his players’ footwork.
Floodlights were introduced to Pittodrie in 1959, and the stadium had its name changed from Pittodrie Park to Pittodrie Stadium nine years later when the Main Stand became all-seater. A fire in February 1971 would badly damage this Main Stand however, almost destroying the Scottish Cup trophy which Aberdeen held at the time.
Pittodrie became an all-seater stadium in 1978, making it one of the first in Great Britain to do so, and coincided with a distinct upturn in fortunes for the team and the manager at the time, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Several more redevelopments, including the construction of a brand new stand in the early 1990s, have formed the Pittodrie Stadium which Aberdeen continue to play at to this day.
For a period at the start of the 2004-05 season, Pittodrie was shared between Aberdeen and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, whose Caledonian Stadium needed a bigger capacity in order to meet Scottish Premier League standards. A reduction in the stadium size criterion for SPL entry allowed Inverness to return to their home ground part-way through that season.
Location and Getting There
Pittodrie Stadium is located in the Pittodrie area, around one mile north of Aberdeen City Centre. The University of Aberdeen is roughly 0.6 miles to the northwest, and the Aberdeen Sports Village is roughly 0.2 miles to the north. Aberdeen Bay, leading out to the North Sea, is 0.4 miles east of Pittodrie Stadium, and with just a golf course in between them, the cold sea breeze can certainly hit the football ground on a matchday.
Coming to Pittodrie by car is certainly possible.
There is a car park around the stadium’s immediate vicinity, but is for pass holders only.
Finding street parking within close range of the ground should not be too difficult however, with options to park in nearby side streets or even along the sea front. Ensure that you are legally allowed to park at where you have found though and do not block the drives of any residents.
Coming to Pittodrie by rail can be a littler trickier.
Aberdeen Station, served by ScotRail, LNER, CrossCountry and Caledonian Sleeper, is based near to the City Centre and docks. The walk from the station to the stadium can take around 25-30 minutes, though most of it is along King Street.
You can alternatively take a taxi from outside the train station or head to the nearby bus station. The X60 service leaves the Union Square Bus Station and heads up King Street to the north. Get off at the Errol Street stop and it’s a simple short walk east to Pittodrie Stadium from there.
Outside the Stadium
If you head towards Pittodrie Stadium along Pittodrie Street, you’ll soon find yourself outside the stadium’s North Stand.
This is Pittodrie’s Main Stand, with an exterior consisting mostly of brown brickwork, red trim, and glass windows.
Entrances for the stand are around brickwork at the base which is painted red. The Main Stand Entrance is located towards the middle of the stand’s exterior, whilst over by the stadium’s northeast corner is the Reception Entrance in and a brick building that holds the Club Shop and Main Ticket Office. The Club Shop is alongside Pittodrie Street and the Ticket Office is around the corner.
Turnstiles for the Main Stand are along the larger part of the exterior. Gate 5, by the stadium’s northwest corner, requires a valid pass for entry. It is for Dons Day Out groups, Press and Photographers, and is also the entrance for disabled supporters.
On the opposite side of Pittodrie Street to the Main Stand is the Pittodrie Street Car Park.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the East Stand at Pittodrie, which is named after Richard “Dick” Donald.
Born in Aberdeen on 20th February 1911, Donald had two spells with his hometown club between 1928 and 1939. He joined the club’s board of directors in 1949, became vice-chairman in 1960, and chairman in 1970. His time as chairman included the most successful period in the club’s history, including the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 1983.
Richard Donald passed away on 30th December 1993 at the age of 82. The East Stand at Pittodrie had been rebuilt and named in his honour shortly before he died.
The Richard Donald Stand is the clear tallest of the four at Pittodrie. Its exterior has a brickwork base with concrete higher up and corrugated iron at the top. Four large brick towers protrude out of the stand, with an exit gate in place at the base of each. You can find the stand’s Hospitality Entrance in between the two central towers, and the brick building next to the northernmost tower holds the stadium’s Main Ticket Office. There’s a staircase between here and the start of the Richard Donald Stand exterior, though you can easily walk around to Golf Road to get up to the exterior as well.
Turnstiles for the Richard Donald Stand are spread along the base between the brick towers.
Out beyond the stand on the other side of Golf Road is the Broadhill Bar and part of the King’s Link Golf Course, with the North Sea further out beyond there.
The South Stand at Pittodrie is the least accessible of the four as the Golf Road Car Park is based outside of a lot of it.
Its exterior is fairly basic, consisting mostly of concrete and corrugated iron with a cantilever roof. Red staircases lead up from the base to the seating area inside.
Because of the car park and houses immediately outside the South Stand, the exterior can only be reached by those who have tickets for this stand. Both home and away supporters are located on this side of the stadium, with their turnstiles in very different places.
The Home Turnstiles are based along Merkland Lane on the western side of the ground. Fans enter through here and head straight forward towards the South Stand staircases that lead inside.
The Away Turnstiles are elsewhere. Away supporters approach Pittodrie from off Park Road to the south, heading through the gates next to a curve in the road and then walking along the path that takes them around the Golf Road Car Park and up to the Away Turnstiles.
The Trinity Cemetery is out beyond the South Stand, residential buildings and Golf Road Car Park.
Pittodrie’s West Stand is known as the Merkland Stand after the street that runs alongside it.
You can’t see much of the stand’s exterior from outside as there is a perimeter wall along Merkland Street in front of it. The wall is mostly white concrete at either end, whilst its centre contains a stone structure.
Turnstiles are spread across the wall along Merkland Street, and there is often a Matchday Ticket Collection Point on the other side of the road.
Heading clockwise along Merkland Street from here will eventually bring you back round to Pittodrie Street and the Main Stand’s exterior.
Inside the Stadium
The Main Stand is divided into two levels that you can freely get between, with executive boxes up at the back.
Every seat inside this stand is coloured red, with most of the seats in the central block padded and for executive use. Pittodrie’s dugouts are based down at the front of the Main Stand, but the stadium’s tunnel is located over towards the northeast corner. Changing rooms are located inside.
Supporting pillars come down regularly in the space between the two levels and will restrict the view for most of the upper tier seats. They will not get in the way at all if you are sat in the stand’s lower level blocks.
A windshield by the stadium’s northeast corner offers a good level of protection to all the rows in the Main Stand, but the windshield by the stadium’s northwest corner only protects the rows in the upper level of the stand.
The Richard Donald Stand towers over the rest of Pittodrie Stadium, consisting of two tiers with a row of executive boxes in between. The lower tier is additionally split into two rows of seating blocks, but you can very easily get between them.
Every single seat in this stand is coloured red, and there are often Aberdeen-related flags and banners hung across the wall at the front of the upper tier. The central blocks at the back of the lower tier are slightly darker in colour and for executive use.
The upper tier typically remains closed on a matchday, only being opened when very large crowds are expected at Pittodrie.
Your view from anywhere inside the Richard Donald Stand is perfectly clear because of the cantilever design.
Large windshields at either end fully protect the upper tier rows and protect all but the front rows of the lower tier, which have small walls in place to offer protection instead.
The South Stand is single tiered and has the gantry holding the matchday camera up at the back.
Seating blocks in the centre and ends are coloured red, with the seating blocks in between coloured yellow. Either side of two of the central red blocks are metal fences that are used for home and away segregation on a matchday.
The roof hangs overhead but does not cover all of the seating blocks. The red blocks at either end of the stand are not covered by the roof, as well as part of the largest yellow block which is near to the stadium’s southwest corner.
Your view from inside the South Stand is clear because of the cantilever roof above and the presence of supporting pillars right at the very back, but both sides are left fully open and exposed to the elements.
Block Y, which is in line with the southwest corner flag, can perhaps be considered the worst part of the stadium to be in, as there is no roof overhead and next to no protection on any side. Depending on how far back you’re sat, it’s possible that the roof of the adjacent Merkland Stand may even slightly restrict your view of the western goal.
The Merkland Stand is a single tier of entirely red seating.
There are two supporting pillars coming down from the roof into the stand, and these may restrict your view slightly if you are sat behind or near to them. They will not get in your way if you are sat down towards the front of the seating blocks, and may not get in the way if you are sat towards either end of the stand.
A windshield by the stadium’s northwest corner provides good protection to every row inside, but the windshield by the stadium’s southwest corner does not provide protection to the front rows of the stand. This is mainly because of the open block Y in the adjacent South Stand, which would have its view notably restricted if the windshield went all the way down to the edge of the pitch.
Away fans are housed in part of the South Stand.
Away crowds will typically take up blocks P, Q and R, the three blocks nearest to the stadium’s southeast corner, with a metal fence aiding in the segregation of home and away supporters.
On occasions when large away crowds are expected, blocks S and T can also be made available in this away section, with a different metal fence in place to aid in segregating this larger away section from any home supporters based elsewhere in the South Stand.
You’re given a very clear view of the action from this away section, but because the stand’s roof does not cover every single block, those sat in block P by the southeast corner will likely not have any overhead protection.
There’s no windshields in this stand either because of this, and it’s something worth taking into consideration if you’re coming to Pittodrie as the North Sea breeze has been known to hit this stadium hard at times.
Away fans reach the away section of Pittodrie through an entrance that is a good distance away from the stadium. Fans need to head along Park Road to the south of the ground and go through the gates that are by a curve in the road. They lead on to a path that goes past the Trinity Cemetery.
This path will take you around the Golf Road Car Park and up to the Away Turnstiles, with staircases then leading up to the seating area inside.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-The Archibald Simpson (5 Castle Street, AB11 5BQ) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located in Central Aberdeen)
-The Bobbin (500 King Street, AB24 5ST) (Typically Home Supporters Only)
-The Old Schoolhouse (Little Belmont Street, AB10 1JG) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located in more central Aberdeen)
-The Pittodrie Bar (339 King Street, AB24 5AP) (Typically Home Supporters Only)
-The Prince of Wales (7 St Nicholas Lane, AB10 1HF) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located in more central Aberdeen)
-The Red Lion (130 Spital, AB24 3JU) (Typically Home Supporters Only)
-The Saltoun Arms (69 Frederick Street, AB24 5HY) (Popular with Away Supporters) (Located near more central Aberdeen)
*The pubs within close range of Pittodrie Stadium are typically for home supporters only. The recommendation is to find a drink in more central Aberdeen before making your way to the match.
One of Scotland’s largest stadiums and one of the first in Great Britain to become all-seater, Pittodrie is unlike anywhere else.
For clear views, the best place to go is its large two-tiered East Stand, but its northern and southern sides can offer good views from a number of their seats, particularly the ones down at the front.
The main negative of Pittodrie would have to come from its South Stand, which does offer clear views but doesn’t have a roof big enough to cover every seating block on this side.
It’s also the most difficult to access, with one set of turnstiles based adjacent to the exterior and the other set at the end of a path which starts a good distance away from the stadium itself.
Pittodrie’s long-standing history in Scottish football could be coming to an end. Aberdeen have talked for years about moving to a new, modern stadium elsewhere in the city, with plans currently having the new venue ready for 2023.
That stadium will become a reality sooner rather than later, and it means that time is running out to visit one of Scotland’s oldest and most historic football grounds.