Nostalgia: Cheers for Meadowbank

An aerial view of  the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in 1970
An aerial view of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in 1970
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CONCERNS were raised this week about the future of Meadowbank Stadium, after it emerged that talks were under way over a deal to create a new home for Edinburgh Rugby on the site.

This could involve parts of the historic stadium – including the velodrome and other facilities – being sold-off to make way for a super- market development.

The remains of the Meadowbank stand in 1968

The remains of the Meadowbank stand in 1968

The stadium has enjoyed plenty of highs and lows over the years. The area originally played host to crowds of cheering youngsters for speedway meetings. That came to an end in 1967, however, after the decision was made to create an all-new stadium for the Commonwealth Games.

And while the snow-covered skeleton of the stand looked a sorry sight in 1968, just two years later the stadium was complete and packed to the rafters for the opening ceremony of what became known as the Friendly Games. The crowds for that event were ecstatic as Scotland lifted four golds in track and field.

The venue was also home for 22 years to the famous handicap New Year Sprint, before it moved to Musselburgh Racecourse in 1999. Later in life it became home to Meadowbank Thistle when they were admitted to the Scottish Football League in 1974.

In 1990 the stadium’s former press centre was hit by a fire which caused £10,000 worth of damage. Despite the deterioration of the facilities over the years, however, it has always remained a firm favourite, hosting everything from firework displays to huge summer rock concerts. And whatever else happens, its iconic status in the city is never likely to be forgotten.