I was gagged for having the wrong opinion on here it seems.
Firstly it’s a forum for opinion. Hopefully it’s not an echo chamber as I posted my thoughts, got a chunk of the (same) different views back, didn’t swear or abuse anyone……yet I’m blocked? I got one sentence replies, or just a few words put back at me, but I'm supposed to write a master piece back to justify my views in more detail I guess (ironic as follows) .
Secondly, this is exactly a place for discussion on Leicester City....yes? I have my thoughts and opinions and likewise you all do to. It's not a fact I'm wrong in what I say. This is comment thread hypothesising about something which hasn’t actually happened yet.
Finally, I would like to think despite differing opinions, a degree of respect can be shown and those so inclined, can refrain from throwing abuse towards me.
So before I make a couple of points below, can I suggest where I think we are as a team/club now. In reality it’s probably the best situation Leicester City finds itself in the 125+ year history. With so many factors to use on the “barometer” it would be a fair conclusion to state this is the best it’s ever been. Ok, it’s my opinion, but for the sake of the rest of this post, let’s assume it’s the case.
The best it’s ever been. Bloody brilliant and I’m loving every minute.
Reasons for my doubt on the expansion potentially proposed though is:
a) The prospect of 10000 extra seats, likely behind the East Stand will alter the atmosphere of the ground. I believe it would make it less intimidating and more likely regressing on the way the ground sounds/feels. Look at clubs like Sunderland, Cardiff etc. It’s not made them anymore atmospheric and causes other issues. The extra tickets will be higher up in view, probably with a chunk of corporate. Good for money, crap for atmosphere.
b) What happens if we (which is very plausible) drift into a mid-table team in 2-3 years time. We have no right to be top 4 and this season has been a fantastic achievement so far. Our recruitment has been superb in recent years, but so many things could change for the worse. Are we really believing we can sustain top 4 year in year out? Maybe we can, I hope so, but chances are probably not yet.
c) Considering our current situation, amazing place in the table, yes I have used the Wigan game as another “barometer” to question our need/ability to expand. We are a day away from the game and with 10000 more seats on top, they would all be empty for this fixture based on sales. It’s taken well over 2 weeks and we’ve still not quite sold out (consider our place in the Prem table, League cup run, etc) at £10/15 a ticket. The game went on sale a week before the League cup game was finalised. I read peoples comments back at me, but considering how well we are playing, our current status in the League, I am genuinely concerned we are not big enough (at the moment) to sustain 42500 seats sold for 70-80% of our fixtures. What’s the point otherwise? If there are so many fans from everywhere desperate to go, couple this with ST holders who would surely go along for a £tenner, the club wouldn’t have opened just the West Stand for sales initially. The club clearly doubted we could sell half the ground, let alone with 10000 more seats on top of the current capacity. Its great we're almost sold out now, but aside of that, I ask, would Chelsea open one stand only for initial sales against Wigan at home in the cup? Be honest.
d) Population/Pedigree. Whatever you throw at me, it is a fact the county of Leicestershire, including the City is relatively small in population. In some ways the Tigers history of tapping into the sporting conscious mind in the local area and wider counties, took many years in the top flight to achieve and the good crowds they get now (sport relevant of course). This is partly why I think it’s still too soon to go bigger in the format proposed. Have we got the history, the real “pedigree” to capture 10000 extra regular fans pretty much overnight? Delusions of grandeur aside, we are in the early stages of making it genuinely big, its been an amazing 8+ years, but have we really got copious amounts of fans desperate to go…… Wigan fixture shows, not particularly. Still around 4000+ tickets available for the Villa Semi-Final as well.
e) I’ve read comments on here I understand and actually agree with. I understand the profile of the club will be enhanced in some quarters. I understand the revenue streams would improve, corporate etc. I understand the point about the (Brilliant) Owners wanting the enhanced profile. I would not argue one bit it’s difficult to get tickets for the bigger Prem Games currently (almost impossible in fact). However, this is with us 2nd in the table. Under Puel, you could get to games and we often had some empty seats. Excitement is palpable at the moment, but it takes numerous generations of both direct supporters and other fans perceptions for us to really be bigger, more established. If you think about it, our journey has been rapid. League one winners 2008/09. Premiership winners 2015/16. That is bonkers, but despite it being amazing for us, we’re still new kids on the block in reality and you only have to look at the terrible media bias against us to appreciate this. They barely want to talk about us and as usual it’s the old top 4/6, still are treated as the real top 4/6, both on the column inches in the papers and online. We're a distraction. So would adding 10000 seats onto an existing stadium really, honestly, make us into a bigger club in the eyes of the footballing world, footballers touted locally, globally and the press? I personally don’t think it would. The training ground is a totally different matter though.
f) Empty seats. How would you feel watching us with some empty seats around you? Say potentially 30-40% of the fixtures (that’s apparently quoted as the chances by the Burch), particularly if we can’t maintain top 4? It could happen at the moment if we're being realistic.
g) I fully get a lot of the reasoning against my opinion as we’re on a crest of a wave right now and I’m the pantomime baddy on here. Equally, I’ve admitted in earlier posts I hope I am wrong and we fill an extra 10000 seats weekly. I really do, but using the Wigan game as one part of my reasoning I feel it’s still just too soon for expansion and IMHO the wrong option……….
………..Could the debate instead cover building a new stadium, maybe with a different location and better logistically for attendances? A stadium maybe 40000-45000, but built to harness the best, eco friendly, logistical, most intimidating atmosphere possible and designed to have the ability to cope with slightly lesser crowds at the same time (yes could happen). Built in a few years’ time, when time served at the top is unquestionable and our status is truly fixed as one of the big(ger) boys?
If we really are that "big" a new stadium built with timelines and finances would be realistic. A new stadium, a great new stadium really would be that statement we all want.
I just feel slapping 10000 more seats into one stand (or maybe 2), in the current stadium/location, with the current realities on attendances, might get the juices going on this forum, but likely counter-productive in the long run.
That OK for you mods?
Going tomorrow and Wednesday. Up the Foxes!