Dundee FC are being linked with a possible move away from Dens Park, their home for the last 117 years.
But such a move would not be a first for the club. In 1899, industrial expansion meant Dundee were forced to move from their ground at Carolina Port.
The switch to Dens Park was completed with an opening match against St Bernard on August 19 of that year.
Here, from the DC Thomson Archives, is how that day was reported in The Courier of August 21 1899:
OPENING OF DUNDEE’S NEW GROUND
Dens Road Park, Dundee’s handsome new enclosure, had a splendid opening on Saturday, and football in the city got a fine send-off. The enthusiasts rolled up in thousands to do honour to King Football, and to make the hearts of Treasurer Cameron and the other officials of the team wax glad.
By way of giving the opening ceremony a bit of tone the officials had invited a number of ladies and gentlemen, who were accommodated on a specially-prepared platform. Amongst those who accepted the invitations were – Lord Provost McGrady, ex-Lord Provost Hunter, Councillor Macaulay; Bailie Christie, Broughty Ferry; Mrs William Wallace, Mr and Mrs Wm. Thain, Mrs Tom Shaw, Mr and Mrs McPherson, Mr John Craig, Mr J. C. Baxter, Mr W. H. Crichton, Miss Crichton, Miss Robertson; Mr W. T. McCulloch, the club’s representative on the Scottish Football Association; Mr Peter Fisher, tramway manager; Mr W. Anderson; Mr and Mrs D. McInally, St Bernard F. C.; Mr W. F. McIntosh, Mr D. Manson, Mr G. T. Kennedy, etc.
The teams having been photographed by Messrs D. & W. Prophet, Bailie Robertson asked Lord Provost McGrady to declare the park open. He said he did not require to tell them of the vicissitudes and fortunes of football in the city, nor to repeat the history of the present club. The committee appointed early this year, without great prospects and hopes, tackled on to the work of maintaining a team of first-class football players in Dundee, and they had succeeded fairly well. (Applause.)
Lord Provost McGrady, in declaring the park open, said it was very proper that the Chief Magistrate should be there, because Captain Dewar had told him that when there was a lively football match on in Dundee he had a good deal less work to do on the Monday morning. (Applause.) He thought that was a first-class certificate in favour of football, and although the players did not know it before, they found they were excellent missionaries. (Laughter.)
He then paid a tribute to Bailies Robertson and Urquhart for the part they had taken in connection with the laying out and construction of the ground, and also expressed the hope that the forthcoming bazaar for funds for the club would prove a success. He then asked Bailie Robertson to show that he could shine in the football field as well as in the Town Council. (Laughter.)
Bailie Robertson then advanced to the centre of the field and kicked off the ball towards the Dundee’s goal amidst loud applause.
The following teams were the first to disport themselves in a match on the new park:- Dundee – T. Stewart; Watson and White; Baird, Longair, and Keillor; T. Low, Steven, Robertson, McDiarmid, and H. Stewart. St Bernard – Wilkie; Kay and Ritchie; Buchanan, Totten, and Galbraith; F. Waddell (Glasgow Perthshire), Atherton, Cameron, Turner, and J. Waddell (Moor Park). Mr J. Black, Forfar, was referee.
Things were a bit quiet at the opening. The whites were the first to force the game, but Kay and Ritchi forced them back. Low and Steven early came to know one another, and they greatly troubled Galbraith. One run of theirs in particular was a beauty. They travelled the ball the whole length of the field, and just as the spectators were expecting to see them walk through the goal Tommy dashed their hopes to the ground by driving the ball behind. The Saints were by no means idle.
Their forwards showed the better combination – as was only to be expected, seeing they had had two matches together – and they made Dundee’s half-back trio look lively. They did look lively, especially Baird, who fairly revelled in his work. The honour of scoring the first goal on the new ground fell to Turner, although Waddell had previously a point disallowed. This made the home lot sit up, and they went at it with a will.
There was a keen competition among them for the gold medal awarded to the player who put on the first goal for the locals, and a loud cheer announced that it had been won by Fred McDiarmid. The teams were level – a goal apiece – when the interval arrived. The game had been a bit quiet in the opening period, but matters brightened up now. The whites took a greater share of the game, and brought out Wilkie’s saving abilities.
They had the defence beaten frequently, but score they could not. Hard lines was their lot more than once, Harry Stewart and Low striking the crossbar in quick succession. Right up to the finish the game was close and exciting, but find the net neither set of forwards could, the only thing they could find being a haven of rest when the whistle sounded, the result being a draw – 1 goal each.