Rugby Park
(Kilmarnock)

Address: Rugby Road,
Kilmarnock,
East Ayrshire,
Scotland,
KA1 2DP

Capacity: 18,128 (All-Seater)

Kilmarnock

Three of the four sides at this stadium are very good, and we could well see the fourth get a modern makeover in the near future.

Currently known for sponsorship reasons as the BBSP Stadium Rugby Park, it has been home to Kilmarnock Football Club since opening in 1899.

The site of Rugby Park dates back to the 1870s, though it wasn’t based at the precise location it currently is. Kilmarnock moved here in 1877 having previously been at The Grange, Holm Quarry and Ward’s Park. The ground at the time was shared by cricket and rugby teams, which is where the Rugby Park name originates from. The pitch moved southwest to its current location in the 1890s, with the ground around it largely rebuilt by 1899. Kilmarnock’s first game at the modern Rugby Park site was against Celtic on 26th August 1899.

What initially had a running track around its edge has grown into an all-seater venue. The move to being fully seated came as part of the Taylor Report in 1990, which recommended that leading British stadiums become all-seater. A new Kilmarnock board which had been appointed at the time wanted to initially move the club to a completely new stadium, but Rugby Park was instead redeveloped when the plans weren’t approved. Work began in mid-1994 and was completed within a year, reopening on 6th August 1995 as Kilmarnock played a friendly against English club Blackburn Rovers.

Further redevelopments, including the construction of the nearby Park Hotel and the installation of safe standing sections, have taken place since the turn of the century.

Location and Getting There

Rugby Park is surrounded by residential streets on all sides and located around one mile southwest of the Centre of Kilmarnock. The River Irvine is roughly 0.6 miles away to the south, southeast and east, Ayrshire College is 0.7 miles away to the northeast and Howard Park is roughly 0.2 miles away to the east.

Rugby Park has car parking spaces around its vicinity, but these are for permit holders only.
It should be no great issue finding free parking with close distance though, with residential streets surrounding the ground on all four sides. Ensure that you are legally allowed to park where you find and do not block the drives of any residents.

Kilmarnock Station, served by ScotRail, is on a route that comes from Glasgow and is the closest train station to Rugby Park. Located near the Town Centre, it can take between 15 and 20 minutes to walk from the station to the stadium.

Outside the Ground

Fans approaching Rugby Park from Kilmarnock Station will first be brought to the stadium’s North Stand, which is better known as the Chadwick Stand.
The stand’s exterior has a brown brickwork base with blue corrugated iron higher up and blue cantilever coming down from the top. You can also see the underside of the stand’s seating area from outside. A brown brickwork wall is in place in front of the stand’s exterior, and the space immediately behind here is treated as the outer concourse.
Turnstiles for the Chadwick Stand are at one end of this wall.

In a clockwise direction from the Chadwick Stand is the East Stand.
Its exterior is similar to the adjacent Chadwick Stand, using a brown brickwork base with blue corrugated iron higher up and blue cantilever coming down from the roof. You can also see the underside of the stand’s seating area from outside. Because there are back gardens of houses right outside part of the East Stand’s exterior, it is not quadrilateral in shape, instead having one angled edge that becomes straight at the end.
There are two sets of turnstiles that lead to the East Stand’s outer concourse, both based on brick walls that surround the perimeter of Rugby Park. One of these sets is next to the Chadwick Stand turnstiles on the northern side of the ground, the other set is at the southern end of the ground.
To get round to the southern turnstiles from the northern side of the ground, you will need to walk around the entire western side of the stadium. Alternatively, you can head along Rugby Road, turn right onto South Hamilton Street, right onto Dundonald Road (A759) and then right again onto Dundonald Place which leads back up to Rugby Park.
It’s fair to say that the East Stand is the most difficult of the four stands to reach at Rugby Park.

Rugby Park’s South Stand is better known as the Moffat Stand.
Its exterior is the same as the Chadwick Stand opposite, using a brown brickwork base with blue corrugated iron higher up and blue cantilever coming down from the roof. You can also see the underside of the stand’s seating area from outside. A brown brickwork wall is in place in front of the stand’s exterior, and the space immediately behind here is treated as the outer concourse.
Turnstiles for the Moffat Stand are along this wall.

As you head further along Dundonald Place and towards the stadium’s southwest corner, you can find the Kilmarnock Football Club Wall of Fame along the perimeter wall, and a Kilmarnock Ticket Centre is located close by to here.
The Park Hotel, built in 2002 on the site of Kilmarnock’s former training pitch, is on the other side of Dundonald Place. It has fifty bedrooms, a conference centre, café, bar, and restaurant.

The West Stand at Rugby Park is considered the Main Stand and named after Frank Beattie.
Born in Stirling on 17th October 1933, Beattie was a midfielder who spent his entire playing career at Kilmarnock, playing more than 600 times for Killie between 1954 and 1972. He would win a Scottish League Title with the club in 1965, reach the Scottish Cup Final in 1960, and reach the Scottish League Cup Final in both 1961 and 1963.
Beattie passed away on 19th November 2009 at the age of 76, after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for 10 years. The West Stand at Rugby Park has been named after him since August 2010.
The Frank Beattie Stand has a different exterior design to the other three sides of Rugby Park. It consists of a mostly brickwork and glass base with blue corrugated iron, white concrete and glass windows higher up. Atop the roof are floodlights which lean towards the pitch inside. The very centre of the exterior is brickwork and protrudes outwards, holding the Main Entrance. The Sports Bar is to the right of this Main Entrance, and at the end of the stand by the stadium’s southwest corner is the entrance to the Park Suite.
There is an access road that runs alongside the Frank Beattie Stand, passing under one end of it and continuing out to Rugby Road on the northern side of the stadium. The Players’ Entrance is by this end of the stand that hangs over the access road.
Turnstiles for the Frank Beattie Stand are along the base, either side of the Main Entrance.
Most of the stadium’s car parking spaces are out beyond the Frank Beattie Stand’s exterior, and you can also find the Killie Shop in a detached building.

Inside the Ground

The Chadwick Stand is divided into two tiers of dark blue seating that you can easily get between.
The walkway between the tiers acts as a flat platform for disabled supporters to use, but down at the very front, next to the stadium’s northwest corner, is an additional enclosure for disabled supporters to use. A large electronic screen is attached to the roof which can best be seen by those at the opposite end of the stadium.
Your view from anywhere inside the Chadwick Stand is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above.
Large windshields at either end protect all of the upper tier rows, but only the back rows of the lower tier. There are small walls in place to offer protection for the front rows of the lower tier.

The East Stand consists of two tiers of dark blue seating that you can easily get between.
Because of the stand’s shape, the upper tier blocks by the stadium’s northeast corner are triangular in shape rather than quadrilateral. It also does not run along the full length of the pitch, with the space by the open northeast corner often taken up by flags. The area holding the matchday camera can be found up behind the back row of the upper tier, and the walkway between the two tiers acts as a flat platform for disabled supporters to use.
Your view from anywhere inside the East Stand is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above.
A large windshield by the stadium’s southeast corner protects all of the upper tier rows, but only the back rows of the lower tier. There is a small wall in place here to offer protection for the front rows of the lower tier. The other end of the East Stand however does not have a windshield and is left much more open and exposed. There is a small wall in place alongside the rows of seating, but it doesn’t offer anywhere near the protection that a windshield would.

The Stadium Control Box is in the southeast corner between the East Stand and Moffat Stand.

The Moffat Stand is a near carbon-copy of the Chadwick Stand.
It consists of two tiers of dark blue seating that you can freely get between. The walkway between the tiers acts as a flat platform for disabled supporters to use, but down at the very front, next to the stadium’s southwest corner, is an additional enclosure for disabled supporters to use. A large electronic screen is attached to the roof which can best be seen by those at the opposite end of the stadium.
Your view from anywhere inside the Moffat Stand is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above.
Large windshields at either end protect all of the upper tier rows, but only the back rows of the lower tier. There are small walls in place to offer protection for the front rows of the lower tier.

The Frank Beattie Stand is split into two tiers that you can freely get between. The larger upper tier is additionally split into two similarly sized levels.
Most of the seats inside this stand are coloured blue, but two of the blocks in the middle section are darker in colour instead. The very central blocks in this stand are for the directors, with the dugouts down in front of here and the tunnel to one side. The changing rooms are located inside this stand. The end by the stadium’s northwest corner does not have as many seating blocks in place as there is a brick building right down at the front.
Supporting pillars come down at regular intervals towards the front of the Frank Beattie Stand, and this means that most of the seats in the upper tier will have restricted views as a result. These pillars will not get in your way at all if you are sat down at the front of the lower tier. There’s a good chance that some of the seats at either end of the stand could also have unrestricted views of the pitch.
Windshields are in place at either end, but they do not cover the seating blocks in the lower tier.

Away Fans

Away fans are housed behind the goal in the Chadwick Stand.
Smaller away crowds are kept up towards the back of the stand, with any disabled supporters housed in the flat platforms along the walkway between the two tiers.
Larger away crowds will take up the lower tier as well, and down at the front is an enclosure that can also be used by disabled supporters.

Away fans are treated to a perfectly clear view of the action from anywhere within this stand.
Windshields at either cover the whole of the upper tier but only the back rows of the lower tier, with just small walls in place to protect the rows further forwards.

The Chadwick Stand’s turnstiles are on a perimeter wall a little away from the stand itself, and the area immediately behind it is treated as the outer concourse. The turnstiles can be found off Rugby Road on the northern side of the ground. It will be the first side of Rugby Park most fans reach if they are coming from Kilmarnock Station and Kilmarnock Town Centre.

Matchday Pubs

Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The Sports Bar behind the Frank Beattie Stand (Adult Away Supporters Welcome)

-The Park Hotel next to Rugby Park (2 Dundonald Place, KA1 1UR) (Away Supporters Welcome)

-The Brass and Granite (53 Grange Street, KA1 2DD) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located in more central Kilmarnock)

-The Clansman (56 John Finnie Street, KA1 1BS) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located south of Kilmarnock Station)

-The Howard Arms (3 Glencairn Square, KA1 4AQ) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)

-O'Shannons (16-18 Titchfield Street, KA1 1PH) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)

-The Wheatsheaf Inn (70 Portland Street, KA1 1JG) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Kilmarnock Station and Kilmarnock Town Centre)

Overview

Rugby Park has a nice balance, particularly on its northern, eastern and southern sides which were all built at the same time. Views from these three sides of the stadium are excellent and very disabled-friendly; they would not look out of place at any modern football stadium.
The only real weakness with Rugby Park comes from its West Stand, which is easy to navigate around but does have restricted views for plenty of people inside.

Plans have emerged in recent years for a new redevelopment of the stadium, including a new entrance and training facilities. Should those plans ever come to fruition, it should turn Kilmarnock’s home from a good football ground, into a very good one.

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