The home of Derby County FC was originally home to the local baseball club before football took over in 1895. Originally called Ley’s Baseball Ground, it was used with the hope of promoting baseball in the UK.
In its heyday the Baseball Ground could hold up to 42,000 spectators, with a record attendance of 41,826 sets for the game against Tottenham Hotspur. Attendances dropped during the 80s when the club were relegated from First Division and then in 1984 they slipped into the Third Division.
Derby managed to recover and fought their way back up. By 1987 they were back in the First Division again. With the rise of hooliganism a perimeter fence was erected around the ground, but this was dismantled immediately after the Hillsborough tragedy.
Baseball Ground legends
The ground was always packed to the rafters and the atmosphere was electric on match days. To get the crowd going the Club brought in a man by the name of Steve Collins, to bang a huge drum.
Derby have been fortunate enough to produce a number of high profile players, all who made a significant impact during their time at the ground. Players including Steve Bloomer, Archie Goodall and Jonny Morris have all been fan favourites.
Of course one of the most integral figures at the ground was manager Brian Clough who was in charge of the Rams from 1967 to 1973 and turned the club into Champions in 1972. What makes the achievement all the more amazing is the teams they beat off to win the title, including Leeds United and Liverpool who at the time were considered giants of the English game.
In 1975 after the departure of Clough, Derby managed to win the title once again proving that it could still be done, even without one of the greatest managers at the time. The Baseball Ground even witnessed European Football as Derby reached the semi-finals of the European Cup. They even dispatched Read Madrid 4-1 at home as well.
The Club remained at the Baseball Ground until 1997 before a move to Pride Park. The final game at the ground was a Premier League fixture against Arsenal where they lost 3-1. Even after the first team had left the ground was still used by the reserve and youth teams until 2003.
The Baseball Ground was finally demolished in 2003 to make way for housing.