The field of dreams – and the story behind it
With its pitch of lush green, open twin-tiered stands at either end and steep-banked stands along each long sideline, the Hindmarsh Stadium harks back to the halcyon days of local soccer in the post-war era.
Originally this was a cricket ground, the Hindmarsh Oval, opened in 1857 – Hindmarsh being a district of western Adelaide named after the first governor of South Australia, honoured by Nelson in the Napoleonic Wars. Commandeered for Aussie rules football early on, the stadium slowly evolved into the rectangular shape we know today.
Adapted for various codes of football in 1960, its given opening date, the Hindmarsh Stadium first welcomed West Adelaide, and then their local rivals Adelaide City, as the National Soccer League developed from 1977 onwards. Two NSL Grand Finals were staged here, one a cameo farewell by later Celtic star Mark Viduka before his move from Melbourne Knights to Europe in 1995.
To co-host the Olympic football tournament of 2000, the stadium was given a significant makeover, becoming all-seated with new floodlights. This is how it still looks today, with one partly covered main stand, its two separated banks of seating overlooking two-thirds of the pitch either side of the halfway line.
Topped with a scoreboard, the North Stand is the de facto home end, the South Stand in the same design accommodating away fans for domestic fixtures.
Both these are open to the elements, while the low-level East Stand opposite the main stand was earmarked for a roof before the Women’s World Cup of 2023.
Played in the mild of mid-September, the men’s Olympic football tournament of 2000 brought top world stars to the Hindmarsh, Italy’s Andrea Pirlo, Spain’s Xavi and America’s Landon Donovan among them. Capacity, slightly increased to 20,000 with extra temporary seating, was challenged by the stadium record gate of 18,430 to watch Italy draw 1-1 with Nigeria. A similar crowd gathered for USA’s 2-2 draw with Japan, settled after a 5-4 penalty shoot-out, later Serie A star Hidetoshi Nakata missing the vital kick.
Three years later, the Hindmarsh upped its status and changed its name when new A-League side Adelaide United moved in, the ground rebranded to Coopers Stadium, the bright red of the new tenants now the signature colour.
The next major upgrade came 20 years later, in preparation for the Women’s World Cup. A roof for the East Stand, improved lighting and media facilities, and bigger information screens, await fans gathering for five matches, including England v China in group B and a Round of 16 knock-out game. Capacity is 18,435.
Going to the stadium – tips and timings
Hindmarsh Stadium is a pleasant 20min walk from central Adelaide. If you’re in a hurry, buses 115 (eve only), 117 and 118 run every 15mins (Sat-Sun every 30mins) from central Grenfell Street to Manton Street by the stadium, journey time 12-15mins.
Adelaide Metro Buses run on the metroCARD or your own bank/credit card system – tap into the yellow machine on board. There are no cash payments. A single trip (A$4.05 peak/A$2.25 off-peak – Mon-Fri 9am-3pm, all day Sun) lasts 2hrs.
Public transport is free on match days for ticket holders during the Women’s World Cup.
The BTANIC line of Adelaide’s free tram service runs from Adelaide Railway Station to Adelaide Entertainment Centre, the other side Manton Street from the stadium (every 10mins, journey time 12mins).
Where to Drink
Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors
Just across Manton Street from the stadium, The Joiners is the ideal pre- and post-match spot, ‘a pub not a restaurant’ that serves quality food, top craft beers on tap and prides itself on its range of whiskeys. TV screens also feature in a bare-brick interior.
Slightly further away but still walkable to and from the game, the Lady Daly Hotel near the Adelaide Entertainment Centre tram stop is a notch above with its impressive pub fare and beer garden.
Offering Balkan flavours Fridays through Sundays, the lively Ravna Gora Serbian Social Club at the corner of Mary Street and Orsmond Street sizzles up grilled favourites such as ćevapčići, to be washed down with local beer and chased with a strong rakija spirit, setting you up for the match.