With a foreign consortium half the size of Shanghai sniffing around Hull City at the moment, the concept of a new stadium for the Black and Whites is yet again stalking the forums and twitter feeds.
It might just be mischief from a desperate Rovers fan, or there might be some sort of credence to it. Frankly, chances of City’s new owners building us a £30m plus stadium are laughably slim.
Let’s indulge it for a second. I know you’ve all done this in your head. Let’s think seriously about what this could look like, and, even fantasise about our dream outcome.
We’d need to avoid what happened at Wembley in 2016, or indeed happens at Langtree Park any given Friday. Empty seats look bad and suck up the atmosphere.
It’s nice to have a nice big stadium for one-off events, The Derby being the obvious example, but those are only getting about 18k at the moment. Arguable, 16k with a large standing away end, to shame them not us, works well in my opinion.
Large derbies in the playoffs (if Rovers ever reach them again) could potentially be moved to the KCOM.
In a post-Iron Horse world, building a stadium down the back of an Airlie Street terrace can’t really cut it.
The sites suggested by the rumour mill: Costello and the Old Birds Eye Site on Hessle Road are both potentials, but the first is a bit far from everything and the second probably too small.
The trouble is that the KCOM’s location is practically perfect. Near enough to Newland and Prinny Ave, and even Anlaby Rd, to make the game an experience.
Anyone who considers New Craven Park, with its convenient access to The Grange and Fulton Foods, any form of an ‘Away Day’ needs their head testing.
The dream scenario might be to find a site somewhere near Clough Road, as it’s open, yet close enough to Cott Road and Newland, to still make it a day out.
This is of course is a pipe dream. The location issue would mean we’d end up getting what we were given.
Now, it’s becoming clear, from every corner of the internet, that people want a ‘New Boulevard’.
In my humble opinion history is history and the new stadium should have its own identity. ‘Costello Field’, ‘Hessle Road’, whatever…
But, any genuine stadium name is more preferable to playing in the Smith & Nephew Arena, or whatever it would be called.
For me, the money from any sponsorship deal should be sacrificed, as a true name would mean far more to the fans.
What To Avoid
The out of town nature of the AJ Bell, and Cas’ proposed new Stadium, are death knells as far as I’m concerned. As is putting it anywhere in East Hull, for obvious reasons. The problem is that the list of things the Hull fan’s would want would be huge and we wouldn’t get it all.
Building it slightly too big and drafty, like Langtree Park is also an issue. We all saw what it looked like during the Challenge Cup.
A rushed job too would be an issue. Like the AJ Bell, it’s a weird looking place and doesn’t quite seem to be built with the fans in mind. It looks older than its year. Although, it being mostly empty might be the main problem.
It would need to be compact and tight. The Keepmoat or Halliwell Jones do this well.
Change the seats to Black and you’re laughing, right?
Well, that picture of the Atlanta Falcons’ proposed abomination aside, what you really want is quite modest.
Something like this:
- A 15-18k stadium,
- In town (or at least in the West)
- With a long standing section, as the ‘New Threepenny’
- A non-corporate name
- Some sort of club ownership, especially with an SMC and with utilities
- A statue or two, and maybe a Shankly-style set of gates
- Quality corporate facilities
- A bar serving shots of ‘T52’ (adorned with pictures of Johnny Whiteley)
- Tight and compact, with no open ends. A cauldron.
Unfortunately, we might have to give up on the KCOM’s light show.
Oh well. This stadium thing is never gonna happen anyway.
Until it does.
[In the spirit of well-thought-out fantasy, what would you like to see? Post in the comments below]