Sunday, 27 January 2008

New Stadium

I was fortunate enough to attend a presentation and reception about the new stadium this week. I learned a few things about our new home. First of all it's a 10,000 seater. I guess the seats will cost at least £23 a match (as they do now) so that's potential revenue of £230,000 each game, or potential more than £5 million for the season. At an average of £250,000 for a new player that's a nice squad of 20 for starters (without agents' fees, expenses and their ongoing wages of course)!

The floodlights will be the traditional type - on pylons in each of the four corners - instead of being built into the stands. This will need a rethink if the decision is ever made to increase the seating capacity by filling in the corners. There are quite a few executive boxes planned (24) and there are already quite a few that have been snapped up. It works out that all the boxes being sold for the season generates around half a million pounds for the club. That's two more players thank-you.

There's plenty of space being allocated for disabled access, making it one of the best in the league in this respect. Sadly the car parking is going to cost a packet. There are over 600 spaces at the ground but it's going to cost £10 + vat per match for the privilege of parking there. That's only about six grand per game, or over a hundred and fifty thousand for the season (that's half a player).

Let's not forget this is a community stadium so outside of matchdays it will be available for other uses. Who will be the first to get married there? I only hope it's a U's fan who's the first to get hitched in the new surroundings. Maybe they'll offer a discount and provide a guard of honour from the current squad. Food for thought?

Talking of food. There will be restaurant facilities at the stadium in addition to all the usual catering outlets. A 'Chef's Table', VIP area, and a number of 'Suites' (air conditioned of course) help to complete the picture. Whoever would have believed it, indoor air-conditioning and fine dining at the U's? This is serious stuff.

There are a few unresolved questions at the moment. First of all is season ticket prices although I believe that will be publicised fairly soon. Then of course we want to know how much space we get to occupy for each seat (seat width and legroom). I don't suppose we can expect padded seats but maybe for a small additional cost you can have a cushion which doubles as something to wave when we score a goal.

Of course the big question is the name of our hallowed place of worship. I'm sure people have realised that there are obvious negative issues around the name 'Cuckoo Farm'. Apart from the likely calls whenever a goal is scored against us, the fact that cuckoos lay their eggs in other birds' nests is bound to give visiting fans a head start. There must be a public competition to decide on this, and I'd like to think that each of the four stands could be named after prominent U's who have served us well in the past. Then again, perhaps we need to keep our famous Barside too.

Unless there are some useful or interesting suggestions we could end up with North, South , East and West stands, or the 'A12 End', or even the 'Severals Enclosure'. I'd also like to think that the name of 'Layer Road' could be included somewhere on site - how about the walkway under the stands?

Whatever it's called it will be home to the U's.

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