2010 STADIUM ROUND-UP

2010 kicked-off with an aura of anticipation surrounding the World Cup in South Africa.

It was the first time FIFA had chosen an African country to host the prestigious football tournament and as the months drew closer to kick-off, news desks across the world were kept busy by worker strikes, pitch problems and worrying news of stadium delays. 

As every England supporter will testify it wasn’t the stadiums that brought disappointment this summer...but closer to home the year was not all bad news. On the stadium front in this country a number of clubs looked to expand their grounds or even relocate in hope of increased revenues and commercial opportunities.

Several clubs, all the way through to the FC United of Manchester, announced ambitious plans for new stadiums making a real statement of intent during the tough economic climate. 

Everton pressed on with plans to develop commercial and office space at Goodison Park to help generate more funds for the Toffees. Construction started at the American Express Community Stadium, the new £60m home for Brighton and Hove Albion which is scheduled to open in August 2011.

The £13m b2net stadium opened in triumphant style as Chesterfield kicked off their League 2 campaign at a brand new 10,500-seater home. Morecambe also began life in a new home in August, the impressive near 6,500 capacity Globe Arena.

Birmingham City announced plans of a £20m redevelopment of St Andrews which will no doubt help the club in their push to compete with the Premier League big boys. Chelsea admitted to being in search of a possible new and expensive home at the site of Earls Court Exhibition Centre, just around the corner of Stamford Bridge.

West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur began a tug-of-war over the currently under construction Olympic Stadium. Throughout 2010, the Olympic Delivery Authority was under the spotlight as athletics bodies and politicians condemned the idea of the purpose built venue hosting permanent football after the Games. It doesn’t look likely to be resolved anytime soon and could well run on until London 2012.

Spurs have interestingly kept their options open by pressing on with the Northumberland Project, their codename for the redevelopment of White Hart Lane. The plans are currently subject to approval as the final details are ironed out.

Another club experiencing difficulties with their stadium dream is Bristol City. The Championship club has been through all kinds of emotions in their attempts to build a new home at Ashton Vale. 

After numerous ups and downs the Robins looked set to gain planning permission until about 200 nearby residents applied for their proposed site to be a town green. With no date decided for a final ruling it could well be some time before City get an answer to their stadium predicament.

It wasn’t just planning permission that club Chairmen up and down the Country were tearing their hair out about. The extreme weather at the start of the year meant that new pitches were all the rage as many clubs experienced playing surface problems. Even the £750m Wembley Stadium was not exempt from turf issues, it received heavy criticism for the playing surface throughout the first half of the year.

It was all change for groundsmen at the home of English football as consultants were called in and dug deep to get to the root of the problem.  After much heated debate and condemnation the famous stadium received its 11th new pitch since re-opening in 2007

A year that began with great anticipation surrounding the World Cup finals, also managed to end on that note too, and again the news was disappointing for English football. After a year jam-packed full of publicity stunts, marketing campaigns and embarrassing bickering, FIFA voted for new destinations for the next two tournaments.

As everyone knows Russia beat England, along with other rival nations, to win the rights to host the 2018 competition, much to the belligerence of the British press. Numerous reasons as to how and why have been bandied around ranging from intrusive media to the undercover journalists unmasking alleged corruption of FIFA officials. 

No matter what the reason, the fact remains the Russians will host the World Cup for the first time in their history and in another first, Qatar were unveiled as the hosts for the 2022 tournament. The news was immediately greeted with concern over the obvious temperature problems and possible cultural differences the Middle East may pose to competing nations. The Qataris pledge to combat those worries by building impressive solar powered, air conditioned, outdoor stadiums in various locations across the oil rich nation. 

2011 is set to be an exciting year for everyone interested in the stadium industry with construction already underway for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine plus not to mention London 2012.

To keep abreast of the news as the year unfolds, please stay logged on to the number one online database of the world's stadiums.

Best wishes for 2011 from everyone at StadiaDirectory.com.

Posted on 31/12/2010