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|Full name||Twickenham Stoop Stadium|
|Public transit|| Whitton|
|Owner||Harlequin Estates (Twickenham) Limited|
|Harlequins (Gallagher Premiership) (1963–present)|
London Broncos (Super League) (1997–1999, 2006–2013)
London Scottish (Allied Dunbar Premiership) (1998–1999)
London Irish (Allied Dunbar Premiership) (1999–2000), (Gallagher Premiership) (2020)
Twickenham Stoop Stadium (informally referred to as The Stoop) is a sports stadium located in south-west London, England. The stadium is home to Harlequins rugby union team, who play in the Gallagher Premiership. The stadium has a capacity of 14,800 and is situated just across the road from Twickenham Stadium.
Harlequins before the Stoop
In 1906, Harlequins were invited by the Rugby Football Union to use the new national stadium in Twickenham. In those early days, only one or two internationals at most were played there during the season, and it wasn't long before the RFU ground became the headquarters of the Harlequin Football Club.
In 1963, Harlequins acquired an athletics ground with 14 acres (57,000 m2), sited just across the road from the RFU ground, which became the Harlequins training pitch. The ground was for many years named the Stoop Memorial Ground after Adrian Stoop, a former England international, longtime Harlequins player, and club president. In 2005, the club formally renamed it as Twickenham Stoop Stadium, but it is colloquially known simply as The Stoop, with even the Harlequins' official website frequently using the informal name.
The stadium today
Charles Stanley Stand
Constructed for the start of the 2005–06 season, the Charles Stanley Stand (West Stand) is the Stoop's main stand, with a capacity of approximately 4,000. This stand has the changing rooms, a row of executive boxes across the top of the stand, a Members' Bar, the club's offices, toilets and a club shop. At the top of the stand under the roof there is also a scoreboard and a gantry where the television cameras populate.
The DHL Stand (East Stand) has a capacity of approximately 4,000 and has a row of corporate boxes across the top. The East Stand was the first to be constructed as part of the 1997 redevelopment of The Stoop. A score board also hangs under the roof. The stand has toilets, the main public bar, Debenture Lounge and Players' Lounge. The area is also home to the "Mighty Quins Village" which is an area for children which consists of bouncy castle and face painting. The main public bar also has a stage where a live band performs after matches.
The South Stand was opened for the 2009–10 season. It has new toilets, a real ale bar, the Quins Head, which sells Greene King IPA and guest ales and a club shop. The back of the stand also has a clock for the match.
The North Stand is a temporary structure with an estimated life of 10 years, and is the most recent to be developed for the 2011–12 season. It houses approximately 2,000 and is the only stand with supporting pillars. There is a time clock to the top left of the stand.
The corner of the North and IG Stand has a memorial for Nick Duncombe who was a promising scrum half for Harlequins and won two caps for England. He also played for the England Sevens team in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. He died of meningitis in 2003.
The ground's official name changed in July 2005 from the Stoop Memorial Ground to Twickenham Stoop Stadium.
The club owns the ground freehold through its subsidiary Harlequin Estates (Twickenham) Limited. According to the 2012 annual report submitted by the club's operating company to Companies House, in 2010 external valuers placed the combined value of the land and buildings at £27.19 million on a depreciated replacement cost basis.
In an interview with the fans website on 23 April 2012, the Chief Executive, David Ellis confirmed that an architect has visited the club and given ideas on possible improvement and further expansion of The Stoop which will be further considered if Harlequins can sell out nine or ten games a season in comparison with the six games sold out in the 2011–12 season. David Ellis also said there are some immediate concerns for development such as increasing the size of the debenture lounge and the members bar. He also mentioned the queues for drinks at the bars are too long so that will be looked into as well.
On 5 September 2012 Harlequins announced that they had begun a programme of significant investment in upgrading Twickenham Stoop Stadium. All four of the stands have been deep cleaned, this has included the installation of anti-roosting netting that features an unobtrusive fine mesh, secured high in the stands that will prevent damage to the seats and decking caused by the local pigeon population. Replacement of the broken or sun-bleached seating has also commenced and eventually all seating will be replaced block by block in a rolling programme over the coming seasons. The public areas of the stands, including the toilets, are also in the process of being decorated and upgraded. Four new turnstiles have been constructed at Gate 3 by the corner of the South and Etihad Stand to improve access and a new PA system to improve sound quality throughout the stadium. The hospitality facilities in the Etihad and LV= Stands have also undergone renovations and redecorations. Among the major improvements about to begin is the resurfacing of the North car park.
Current redevelopment plans
In November 2017, Harlequins unveiled plans to build a new state-of-the-art 25,000-seat stadium on the same Twickenham site. The project is being led by architects Populous, designers of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – the largest club stadium in London. The redevelopment is expected to cost in the region of £50m. Concrete plans have not yet been released, and consultation with the local community and Richmond Council is currently ongoing.
In 1995–96 and again from 1997 to 1999, the rugby league club, London Broncos, joined Harlequins at The Stoop, and they returned again in 2006–2013, becoming Harlequins RL. In 2006 the stadium held a Harlequins rugby union match and a Harlequins rugby league game on the same day. The rugby union match was played first, and in just a few hours the stadium was switched over for the Super League match. This involved changing field markings, advertising boardings and such.
Between 2006 and 2011, The Stoop hosted the annual Rugby League Varsity Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University.
On 24 October 2009 the ground hosted the second match of the 2009 Rugby League Four Nations between world champions New Zealand and defending tournament champions (in Tri-Nations mode), Australia which resulted in a 20-all draw, 12,360 people attended the game making it the largest rugby league crowd at the venue beating the 1997 World Club Championship match between the London Broncos and Canberra Raiders where 7,819 people attended.
Women's International Rugby Union
The ground played host to the final of the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup.
In 2015, it began hosting what was intended to be an annual event in the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series. All matches were held at The Stoop except for the third-place match and Cup final, which were played at Twickenham Stadium. However, the Women's Sevens Series did not return to London for 2015–16.
The Stoop has become a regular venue for England Women's games, hosting Six Nations games and Autumn International Series games.
On 17 January 2016 The Stoop hosted the Women's Premiership final, for the first time.
In the Summer of 2017, The Stoop hosted its first music concerts, with the aim of diversifying the range of events hosted, establishing itself as a music venue, as well as sports. The Stoop has hosted artists such as Elton John and Little Mix.
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- Helen Daly (5 June 2017). "Elton John review: The Rocket Man reaches the stars during emotional Twickenham gig". The Daily Express. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
- Bob Allen (23 September 2017). "Little Mix Draws More Than a Quarter-Million Fans During U.K. Tour". Billboard. Retrieved 27 August 2020.