IT WAS the beginning of the end for the famous old Dell - but it didn’t go quite according to plan.

The curse of Friday 13th struck as demolition teams attempted to start the destruction of the Saints’ century-old home by using controlled explosions on July 13, 2001.

At the given moment, before an invited crowd of spectators, the plunger was pushed, there were fireworks and an explosion - but the expected demolition failed to take place.

The fact that the destruction team hailed from arch-rivals Portsmouth was laughed off by event organiser Barratt Homes which had bought the site.

Meanwhile, emergency services were inundated with calls from local residents who believed a real disaster was taking place down the road.

Two hours later the countdown began again and this time resulted in the two massive floodlights on top of the stadium toppling onto the seats.

Daily Echo:

The explosions marked the start of development of the site. Barratt went on to build exclusive homes around the original pitch.

The events started with an announcement by Saints director Andrew Cowan, who spoke of: “a recurring dream, the chance to blow up my place of work”.

First, the klaxons sounded for a three-minute warning. Then a one-minute, then a third klaxon for the ten-second countdown, dutifully counted off before Mayor Chris Kelly and then Daily Echo competition winner Ian Barron pressed the plunger.

The pyrotechnics were impressive, with enough fireworks to equal Bastille Day and the Fourth of July rolled into one.

Daily Echo:

Dramatic Hollywood-style explosions on the pitch produced enough of a flamer to grill a Big Mac. But no Big Bang.

A couple of reassuringly loud pops, but the pylons refused to move.

Meanwhile, explosives expert Mark Hutt went off to check his detonators.

After more than an hour clambering around, checking wiring and leads and adding some stronger explosive, he pronounced himself ready.

BANG! Off went the charges and down came one pylon. Then silence. Had it failed again?

BANG! Went the charges under the second pylon.

Daily Echo:

And that was the beginning of the end for the beloved football stadium and home to the Saints for more than a century.