In the second book of the Played in Britain series, stadium expert Simon Inglis recalls the life and work of Archibald Leitch, the Scottish engineer whose designs were to football what Frank Matcham was to theatre. Millions of spectators sat or stood in Leitch's structures, built for such famous clubs as Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton, Tottenham, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Glasgow Rangers. But while his pedimented gables and criss-cross steelwork balconies formed a recognisable and much-admired style, Leitch remained virtually unknown during his lifetime. Moreover, following the modernisation of stadiums brought on by the Hillsborough disaster, only a handful of his buildings survive, the listed stand and pavilion at Fulham's Craven Cottage in London being perhaps the best known. In this long overdue and affectionate study of Leitch's major works, Inglis seeks to engineer what little information survives into a fascinating account of the man who defined the distinctive look of British football grounds during the first half of the 20th Century.
Simon Inglis is Britain's foremost expert on football stadia and is the author of Football Stadiums of Britain (Harper Collins) and Sightlines (Yellow Jersey). He has also written the official history of Aston Villa FC.