ONE DIRECTION thanked the thousands of fans who turned out in Sheffield last night to see the first of their final three gigs before the group takes a hiatus.
Doncaster’s Louis Tomlinson joined Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Niall Horan at the first of three sell-out shows at Sheffield Arena.
Harry told the crowd: “As you know, we have three shows left of the tour this year. And we feel, the further north you go, the better the crowd.”
Harry later added: “We wanted to finish in Sheffield, the best place in the world!”
The band, behind hits such as Best Song Ever and What Makes You Beautiful, will return to Sheffield Arena at 6.30pm tomorrow before their final gig on Saturday.
Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan were first put together at the boot camp stage of The X Factor in 2010.
Tipped to win at one stage, the much-fancied boyband ended up in third place. Liverpudlian Rebecca Ferguson was runner-up and Matt Cardle was crowned winner.
However, music mogul Simon Cowell believed in the boys and signed them to his Syco record label.
Brit award-winning debut What Makes You Beautiful entered the UK singles chart at number one, while 2011 global smash album Up All Night sold over five million copies and reached number one in 17 countries.
Up All Night went on to top the US Billboard Chart and make pop history as 1D became the first British group to hit number one in the US with their debut album release.
Take Me Home, the band’s second album, has sold over five million copies worldwide and reached number one in 37 countries in 2012.
The band ended the year selling out New York’s Madison Square Garden in less than 10 minutes.
By now, One Direction were being greeted by thousands of screaming girls everywhere they went in the world, with the media likening it all to Beatlemania.
In 2013, the boys made their movie debut with hit concert movie and documentary One Direction: This Is Us. The film topped the UK and US box office and grossed over £45 million worldwide.
The chart-toppers toured Take Me Home across the globe and won a Brit Award, two American Music Awards, three Billboard Music Awards, six Teen Choice Awards and an MTV Video Music Award along the way.
Third studio album Midnight Memories was released globally that same year and became the fastest-selling 2013 album in the UK. It shot to number 1 in 31 countries.
1D kicked off 2014 with two BRIT awards and their Where We Are tour. Fourth studio album Four hit number one in 26 countries.
Once again, the boys made history as the first group to ever have their first four albums debut at number one in the US.
At the American Music Awards in 2014, One Direction took home three trophies, including Artist of the Year. The band also reached a Spotify milestone as they hit one billion total streams.
In 2015, the boys embarked on their On The Road Again tour, which kicked off in Australia and is finishing up in the UK in Sheffield.
However, this year has turned out to be a turning point for both the band as a musical entity and the boys themselves.
The first shock came when Malik quit One Direction in March. The 22-year-old later split from fiancee Perrie Edwards, a member of X Factor winning group Little Mix.
In June, The Sun reported Niall Horan’s split from Melissa Whitelaw.
A month later, news broke that 23-year-old Tomlinson is to be a father. He is expecting a child with Briana Jungwirth, a stylist.
One Direction’s Payne has also experienced a change in his personal life - he is now single. The 22-year-old and girlfriend Sophia Smith parted recently, a source confirmed to People magazine.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Styles continues to be linked to any number of available women around the world.
Drag Me Down was the first single lifted from the then unnamed fifth studio album in July. It went straight to number one in the UK Chart.
The track was streamed 4.75 million times globally, earning the greatest number of streams over one day on Spotify.
One Direction eventually announced Made In The A.M. as album number five. it will be released globally on November 13.
Commenting on whether there will be another One Direction, BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills said: “Yes, I think there will be, but I think it could be a very long time.
“Before this we had the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC who were successful here, but it was more of an American thing, they were big here but they weren’t One Direction big.
“The last time we saw something that was this much of a phenomenon was the Spice Girls, and that was 1996/1997.
“So it’s fair to say these things do not happen very often and we could wait another 10 or 20 years for something like this.”