Leigh Sports Village

Stadium

53°29′28″N 2°31′44″W / 53.491°N 2.529°W / 53.491; -2.529Coordinates 22: 53°29′28″N 2°31′44″W / 53.491°N 2.529°W / 53.491; -2.529OwnerLeigh Sports Village Company Ltd
Wigan Metropolitan Borough CouncilOperatorLeigh Sports Village Company LtdCapacity12,000[3]Record attendance12,005
Widnes Vikings vs Castleford Tigers
10 August 2014[2]SurfaceDeso GrassMasterConstructionBuilt2007–2008Opened28 December 2008Construction cost£17.5m[1]Main contractorsHall Construction[1]TenantsRugby League
Leigh Centurions (2008–present)
Football
Leigh Genesis (2009–2010)
Blackburn Rovers Reserves (2009–2015)
Manchester United Reserves (2014–present)
Manchester United W.F.C. (2018–present)

Leigh Sports Village is an £83 million multi-use sports,[4] retail and housing development in Leigh, Greater Manchester, England. The centrepiece of the development is a 12,000-capacity stadium which is home to professional rugby league team Leigh Centurions, Manchester United's under-19 and under-23 teams and Manchester United W.F.C. The complex also plays host to amateur rugby league club Leigh East and amateur athletics club Leigh Harriers, who both occupy dedicated facilities on the site. Other facilities on site include the Leigh campus of Wigan and Leigh College, Leigh Sports Centre, which includes a gym, multi-use sports hall and swimming pool, a Holiday Inn Express hotel, a Morrisons supermarket and the Whistling Wren pub. During 2022, it hosted matches in the UEFA Women's Euro 2022.

Background

Construction of the Leigh Sports Village stadium

Leigh Sports Village is a development southwest of Leigh town centre, on the south side of the Leigh arm of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, close to Pennington Flash Country Park and accessed from the A579, Atherleigh Way and by pedestrian routes from the town and surrounding area. The scheme was initially developed to contribute to the regeneration of Leigh and provide modern facilities for local sports clubs, schools and the local community.[5]

The main focus of the sports village is the stadium built for local professional sports clubs and its associated facilities. It is all seating in the West, East and South Stands with standing in the North Stand. There is a 25-metre swimming pool, gymnasia and activity rooms and a sports hall used by the sports clubs, college and local community. A synthetic 400-metre running track, covered training facility and field sports area has been built for Leigh Harriers and Athletic Club and amateur rugby league club, Leigh East ARLFC has a clubhouse at the Leigh Sports Village Arena.[5]

Leigh College occupy a site on the stadium perimeter and share sports and youth facilities. To make the project commercially viable, retail and commercial premises, housing and a hotel are built on the site close to Atherleigh Way.[5]

Roads on the Sports Village site are named after three local sporting personalities: Tommy Sale, Jimmy Ledgard and Geoff Turner.[6] The roads are Sale Way, home to the stadium, sixth form college and sports centre, Turner Way address of Leigh Harriers Athletics Club, whilst Ledgard Avenue accommodates the new Leigh East clubhouse.

Stadium

The stadium in rugby league set up

Two ramp-up events were held during December 2008 to fulfil safety certificate requirements. A children's rugby league festival was held on 14 December 2008 as the first event, rescheduled from the previous week because of a frozen pitch.[7] After a successful first event, the crowd capacity was set at 4,775. A sell-out crowd of 4,714 saw Leigh versus Salford on 28 December 2008.[8][9]

Leigh Sports Village was officially opened on Thursday 21 May 2009, by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.[10]

Leigh Sports Village was included in the London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp Guide. The facility was available for use by competing nations as a training camp before the London 2012 Olympic Games. Though officials negotiated with the Ukrainian Olympic team, no nation chose to base athletes at Leigh Sport Village.[11]

On 27 July 2013 the stadium staged its first Rugby League Challenge Cup semi-final, between Wigan and London Broncos.

On Tuesday 5 November, the stadium hosted the Rugby League World Cup 2013 Tonga versus Cook Islands tie, which was won by Tonga 22–16 in front of a then stadium record crowd of 10,544.[12] This attendance was surpassed on Sunday 11 August when the semi-final of the Challenge Cup saw an attendance of 12,005 witness Castleford defeat Widnes 28–6.[2]

On Saturday 21 June 2014, Sir Elton John and his band played in front of 17,000 fans[13] in one of only three announced UK venues for his 2013/14 tour.

In October 2015, England took on France in a warm-up match before their end-of-year test-series against New Zealand.[14]

UEFA Women's Euro 2022

The stadium was one of the ten venues used to host matches at the UEFA Women's Euro 2022. It was used to host Group C matches, alongside Bramall Lane, and a quarter-final.[15]

Date Home Away Result Attendance Stage
9 July 2022  Portugal   Switzerland 2-2 5,902 UEFA Women's Euro 2022 Group C
13 July 2022  Netherlands  Portugal 3-2 6,966 UEFA Women's Euro 2022 Group C
17 July 2022  Sweden  Portugal 5-0 7,118 UEFA Women's Euro 2022 Group C
22 July 2022  Sweden  Belgium 1-0 7,517 UEFA Women's Euro 2022 Quarter Final

Rugby league test matches

The Leigh Sports Village has hosted four England internationals,[16] in addition to hosting a further two test matches not featuring England.

The two non-England matches were part of the 2013 and 2017 Rugby League World Cup. The 2013 game was part of the competition proper and was an inter-group match between Tonga and Cook Islands on 5 November 2013. The game saw 10,554 in attendance where Tonga won 22–16. The 2017 game was part of the qualifying stages. The match was between Italy and Russia on Friday 4 November 2016, with the winner securing the 14th and final berth in the tournament in Australasia. 450 were in attendance as Italy took the final World Cup spot with a 76–0 hammering.

In addition to these games, on 29 January 2019, it was announced that the Leigh Sports Village would host 3 group games in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Date Winners Result Losers Attendance Competition
12 June 2010  England 60–6  France 7,951 Test match
29 October 2011  England 42–4  France 10,377 2011 Four Nations
5 November 2013  Tonga 22–16 Cook Islands Cook Islands 10,554 2013 Rugby League World Cup
24 October 2015  England 84–4  France 8,380 Test match
4 November 2016  Italy 76–0  Russia 450 2017 Rugby League World Cup qualifying
17 October 2018  England 44–6  France 5,144 Test match
19 October 2022  Wales v  Cook Islands TBA 2021 Rugby League World Cup
23 October 2022  Lebanon v  Ireland TBA
30 October 2022  Lebanon v  Jamaica TBA

Facilities

Facilities available at Leigh Sports Village include:[4]

  • A multi-use 12,000-capacity outdoor stadium with Desso GrassMaster pitch and under-pitch heating[17]
  • 4 hospitality suites and 22 corporate boxes
  • Leigh Indoor Sports Centre – A gymnasium, 9 court sports hall and 25m 6 lane swimming pool
  • A 400-metre running track with a 60-metre covered sprinting facility and club house
  • Multi-use floodlit 3rd-generation artificial and grass pitches
  • Sports pavilion

Site users and tenants

A Manchester United W.F.C. game being played at the Leigh Sports Village

The site is operated by Leigh Sports Village Company on behalf of Wigan Council – owners of the stadium, athletic stadium and clubhouse, swimming pool and sports centre, rugby league clubhouse and 3G pitches. Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust operate Leigh Indoor Sports Centre. Along with general public, use of artificial and grass pitches, sports hall, gymnasium and swimming pool, the Leigh Sports Village site has several long term tenants.

References

  1. ^ a b Hall gets the go-ahead for Leigh stadium[permanent dead link], Contract Journal. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Widnes Vikings 6–28 Castleford Tigers". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Stadium | Leigh Sports Village". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  4. ^ a b Leigh Sports Village – Wigan Council Archived 22 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c Prospectus (PDF), Sport Keighley, archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2009, retrieved 28 October 2011
  6. ^ Roads honour for Leigh legends Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ A Festival of Rugby – as Leigh warms up the new stadium Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Barker, Neil (28 December 2008). "Rugby League – Leigh 6 Salford 26". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  9. ^ Hulme, Mike (30 December 2008). "New era for Centurions". Leigh Journal. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  10. ^ "Warm Welcome for the Queen in Leigh". The Leigh Reporter. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  11. ^ Olympic dreams become reality in Wigan and Leigh Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Rugby League World Cup: Tonga 22-16 Cook Islands". BBC. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Sell-out crowd gathers for Sir Elton John". Leigh Journal. 23 June 2014.
  14. ^ "England to face France before New Zealand series". BBC Sport. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  15. ^ UEFA.com (2 August 2022). "Event guide: Wigan & Leigh | UEFA Women's EURO 2022". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  16. ^ http://www.rugbyleagueproject.org/matches/Custom/LS0tMS0tMzMwLS0tLS0tLS15LXktLS0tLS0= Leigh Sports Village results @ Rugby League Project
  17. ^ "Facilities". Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  18. ^ About us, Leigh Harriers Athletic Club, archived from the original on 15 September 2013, retrieved 12 August 2013
  19. ^ "Park Inn, Leigh sold to Kro Hotels". Manchester Evening News. 1 July 2014.
  20. ^ http://www.leighathleticfc.co.uk Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Marshall, Adam (23 May 2014). "Manchester United Under-21 fixtures 2014/15". ManUtd.com. Manchester United. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  22. ^ "Manchester United Women announce ticket information for the new season". manutd.com. Retrieved 27 July 2018.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leigh Sports Village.
  • Leigh Sports Village website
  • The Official Website of Sports Village Church
  • Leigh Dojo
  • Leigh Harriers Athletics Club
  • Leigh Athletic FC
  • Johnson Training