Friday, 26 October 2007

Portsmouth Revise New Stadium Plans and I'm a Bit Disappointed.

I'm pretty disappointed about the plans for the new stadium at the Hard falling through. I guess I can be a bit of a sentimental sod at times but whenever I travel back to Pompey and I see the Hard and that part of the harbour I feel the same way as some Geordies might feel about the Tyne bridges- or a Scouser might feel about- well, anything to do with Liverpool really.

Until a couple of years ago I lived on Holloway Road in North London and I watched Arsenal build the Emirates Stadium and I was so impressed by how the club just trampled over everyone's reservations - about traffic and crowd numbers and the impracticabilty of the proposal- they just sorted those problems out on the way to building the stadium. Now, when I travel from where I live in East Anglia to London, I pass the Emirates and I love the way it towers above the streets of Finsbury Park and Holloway- the stadium is still so much part of where Arsenal are from (sort of..) -and it does it on a scale that shows the ambitions of the club.

And that's what I thought about the Hard proposal- by having on the waterfront, and by using those architects it just shouted out to anyone that would see it that this was a big club which this city takes very seriously.

For the first game of this season I travelled up to Derby and I thought their stadium was a grim old place- tucked away amongst industrial estates- away from the city centre as if the city didn't care too much about their football club. I get the impression that the same is true of Middlesborough's and Sunderland's ground. So I'm a bit depressed that the new proposal seems to be more in the line of what Middlesborough, Sunderland and Derby achieved. I don't like that Peter Storrie said something about how the land fill will keep the ground hidden from the people that live in Port Solent. I don't want it to be hidden away- I want it it be a huge landmark-a place that makes me feel a bit tingly when I see it. Why can't they build it on the seafront in Southsea- a proud landmark-built by seasiders-towering over the English Channel.

However- I guess people travelling in on the continental ferries will see it on the new proposed site- and I think it'll look good from Hardway in Gosport- where I grew up. Finally, returning to my original point about me being a soppy sod- the other view of Pompey (and Gosport) that always gets me is the view from the top of Portsdown Hill and I guess from that vantage the stadium will still look great.

PS. If any more people from any other clubs laugh at our plans having to be changed- we should just remove the roof from the Milton End- that'll learn 'em.

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