Somerset Park is a football stadium located in Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland. It has been the home of Ayr United since they were founded in 1910, prior to that, it was the home ground of Ayr, who merged with Ayr Parkhouse to form Ayr United. Ayr commissioned Somerset Park in 1888 to replace Beresford Park, Ayr needed an alternative venue for a friendly match against Aston Villa because Beresford Park was being used for the Ayr Cattle Show at the time. The Beresford Park clubhouse and grandstand were dismantled and reassembled at Somerset Park, Ayr entered the Scottish Football League in 1897, but failed to seriously challenge for promotion to the First Division. Ayr Parkhouse, who played at Beresford Park, subsequently joined the league, the two clubs decided to merge in 1910 to form Ayr United and the new club adopted Somerset Park as its primary home, although Beresford Park was used during the First World War. Ayr United bought Somerset Park for £2,500 in 1920, four years later, the direction of the pitch was changed when the club built a new Main Stand. A roof was built in 1933 over the end terrace. The grounds record attendance of 25,225 was set on 13 September 1969 in a match against Rangers, floodlights were installed a year later. Somerset Park was relatively late in doing this because the ground is in the path of the nearby Prestwick Airport. The Somerset Road end terrace was covered in 1971, a new wing was added to the Main Stand in 1989, increasing the seating capacity to 1,450 in an overall capacity of 12,128. Despite this work on other Scottish grounds, Somerset Park was not developed, barr had plans for an out-of-town stadium rejected by the Scottish Executive. He retired in 2004 and passed control of the club to Donald Cameron, in November 2006, Ayr United publicised plans to sell Somerset Park to housing developer Barratt Homes and move to a new purpose built stadium in the Heathfield area of Ayr. The new ground was planned to consist of a stand of 3,650 seats, with the potential to add another 3, 000-seat stand. South Ayrshire Council gave outline planning permission in January 2008, Barratt Homes pulled out of the deal to purchase Somerset Park in August 2008, however, with the developer claiming that the planning rules were unworkable. The credit crunch, which depressed housing values, also affected the proposals viability, the Main Stand roof was damaged by Hurricane Bawbag in December 2011, forcing Ayr United to postpone a First Division match against Ross County. Ayr railway station is approximately 10 minutes walk from Somerset Park, newton-on-Ayr railway station is closer to the ground, but fewer trains stop there. The A77 road is the route towards Ayr. To reach Somerset Park, take the A719 road into town, there is a small car park next to Somerset Park and nearby street parking is also available
Image: Somerset Park
A view of the Main Stand and Family Stand from the Somerset Road End.
The North Terrace with the Ally MacLeod hospitality suite upon it in 2011.