NEC Harlequins are delighted to announce that they have opted to rename their stadium from the Stoop Memorial Ground to the Twickenham Stoop Stadium. This move coincides with significant development work taking place to the ground as in September Quins will officially open the new Lexus stand, which will take the capacity of the stadium up to 12,700.
It was in 1963 that Quins acquired the athletics ground just over the road from the Rugby Football Union. This subsequently became their home and known for many years as the Stoop Memorial Ground. The stadium is named after Adrian Dura Stoop, who won 15 caps for England and is said to have been the person who developed modern back play.
He was born on 27th March 1883 in London. His father was Dutch (naturalised English) and his mother was half Scottish and half Irish. Stoop went to Oxford University and won his first Blue in his second year (1902), before going on to captain the side in 1904.
In all he played 182 times for Quins between 1901 and 1939, captained the side for eight years, was honorary secretary for 28 years and President between 1920 and 1949. Stoop died on 27th November 1957, aged 74.
"Although the name of the club is well known across the globe, the same could not be said about our location and it's an appropriate time to rename the ground," said Mark Evans, NEC Harlequins Chief Executive. "The introduction of the Lexus stand will arguably make the Stoop the best purpose built club rugby stadium in Britain."
"The new name maintains the heritage and tradition of Quins, as well as helping to promote that we are a local and community focussed club. Furthermore, it highlights our location and that we are close to the home of England rugby."
The Lexus stand is the third major project to develop the facilities at the Stoop during the last ten years. In 1997, Quins opened the East stand containing 4,200 covered seats, 25 corporate hospitality boxes and one of the longest bars in rugby. Last summer (2004) and Quins opened a new covered stand at the North end of the stadium, providing seating for 2,300 spectators.
The Lexus stand will bring high quality new facilities to the stadium, including a new members' bar, a new club shop, 14 corporate hospitality boxes, three new corporate lounges, new player and officials' changing facilities, new club offices and new media facilities. The grand opening of the stand will take place when NEC Harlequins play Newbury on Saturday 17th September, kick-off 3.00pm.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.