Welcome to Knights Stadium
Knights Stadium is an Australian association football stadium in Sunshine North, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is the largest soccer-only stadium in the state of Victoria.
Formerly the site of the Sunshine Village Cinema 'Drive-In' the Melbourne Knights FC recognised the need for a place to truly call home in the early 1970's.
The Melbourne Knights in its various incarnations had owned two properties earmarked for development as a club-hub before breaking ground at Lot 2 Somers St. Firstly, in 1972 under the stewardship of long-time chairman Enver Begovic the club acquired land in Lacy St. Avondale Heights although the club's plans for two AFL ovals and three soccer pitches incorporating a 1000 seat banquet hall were curtailed by council.
The club moved on an tried to secure Olympic Village (current home of Heidelberg United), John Cain Reserve (current home of Northcote City) and Green Gully Reserve (current home of Green Gully SC) to no avail. In early 1981 the club's Executive Committee took matters into their own hands and bought a 7 acre property in Leakes Road, Rockbank with a view to develop the property to suit the club's needs.
Their plans were shot down by the members as basic infrastructure such as public transport and utilities were lacking - in the end the club's Rockbank home only hosted a few club picnics before it was thrown to the wayside.
In October 1984 at the conclusion of the club's maiden National Soccer League season, the committee decided to act swiftly amidst rising rental costs at Melbourne's premier soccer facility at the time, the legendary Olympic Park. Lot 2 Somers St. North Sunshine, situated on just over 51,000sqM of land seemed perfect.
A deposit was quickly found. Rockbank was sold to finance the loan temporarily whilst the club began a massive fundraising drive, separate to fielding an elite NSL side to build the Melbourne Croatian Sports Centre, Knights Park, Somers Street and the various other names the club's home was baptised with. This fundraising drive lasted well over a decade until the completion of stage 1 of the building works, completion of the 3,000 seat grandstand as well as television quality lighting, partly funded by the Labor state government of the time.
Built in 1989, it is used by the Melbourne Knights as a home ground in the Victorian Premier League, and previously in the National Soccer League (NSL). The Knights are one of only a handful of clubs in Australia to actually own their home ground - a massive exception to the rule of leasing grounds from local council.
The land at Somers Street was bought and developed largely through donations and volunteer work from the local community.
The stadium holds approximately 15,000 people. It consists of a seated main stand (the Mark Viduka Stand) which has a seating capacity of 3,000 (with wheel-chair access) and open standing-room terracing around the rest of the stadium. The main pitch is equipped with four (4) light towers for night matches and a PA system for microphone announcments & music.
The Stadium complex covers around 12 acres (51,000 m2). It has 3 pitches, including the main pitch.
The complex also contains the Melbourne Croatia Clubrooms and the Knights Sports Gym. The beginning of 2008 saw Knights Stadium facilities receive its most significant face-lift since the grandstand was first built with the main pitch being re-laid, as well as renovations on both the grandstand and surrounding terraces,as well as the outer pitches.
In 2011, the club replaced 900 old and broken seats in order to host the first round of the 2011 Australasian Supercross Championships, which saw a complete make-over of the Stadium and hosted over 8,000 spectators.