Posted by John Beech on July 9, 2009
I love stadiums, Victorian (Archie Leitch – what a hero!) or ultra-modern. I love them as buildings, as examples of grand architecture. But I am unsentimental about them otherwise – I do not share the typical British view that they can and must only be associated with one club. As someone who who works in a Business School that is not surprising – their utilisation rate is ludicrously low if they only earn serious money once a fortnight.
In Italy shared stadiums are far from unknown, and there are examples in Germany and Austria too. In Britain they have generally been restricted either to clubs playing different sports (football and rugby seem to pair up more often than other sports) or to lower League clubs sharing their stadium with a reserve team from a higher division. The proposal that Liverpool and Everton share a new stadium has been greeted with derision by their respective fans.
If you haven’t heard yet, you perhaps need to sit down: Oldham (League 1) and Rochdale (League 2) have held initial and informal talks about the possibility of sharing Oldham’s Boundary Park (1). Their grounds are less than seven miles apart, so any inconvenience to Rochdale fans would not be enormous. Stockport County is also mentioned in this particular context.
No doubt there will howls of protest from Outraged of Milnrow. Let the voice of protest just think about the big savings on costs, a vital issue in these times with so many clubs facing the possibility of insolvency. If it meant the difference between survival of the club or liquidation, would they still see a shared stadium as unthinkable? If it works at the San Siro, why couldn’t it be made to work here?
There is also the possibility of two clubs selling their stadiums and sharing a new stadium. Or would that really be thinking the unthinkable?