Eastlands set for an increased capacity?
Apparently there’s a little article about Wayne Rooney in today’s News of the World. However the United player’s private life is of less concern here than another ‘exclusive’ claiming City were offering to host a World Cup semi-final in 2018 with our 75,000 seat stadium.
Yes 75,000. That’s the claim, though figures from the News of the World should always be treated with a degree of caution. Elsewhere there has been talk of a 60,000 capacity, though the larger figure would be required if we are to fulfill the aim of matching United. The increased stadium capacity is just one aspect of the transformation set to take place around Eastlands.
The others are the new unified training facilities and a commercial development based around leisure. This may feature sport and hotels.
Speculation about the developments has been ongoing ever since ADUG took over the club, and there’s a belief that we might hear something official by the end of September. The News of the World claim it might be slightly later, in November.
Previously there has been the announcement of a partnership between the club and the Council to look into the developments with talk of a £1 billon pound investment. Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly was approached to design the new complex earlier this year. It will be fascinating to see what the plans are.
Buckingham Group Contracting are currently setting up at the site, which could be as large as 80 acres of the old Clayton Analine land, and could be doing the preparatory remediation work.
While critics will question our ability to fill such a large stadium, the development would fit with the level of expenditure we’ve seen undertaken on players. City have been happy to hand out huge long term contracts this Summer in the full knowledge that the Financial Fair Play rules are coming.
Even with Champions League football and full houses, we’d have little chance of staying within the rules. In 2008/09 Arsenal generated £100m in matchday revenue compared to our £20m. The new City Street and heated corporate seats are clearly an attempt to boost these revenues, but it’s going to take a lot more.
As northern clubs can’t get away with charging as much for tickets as London based clubs, we’ll need larger crowds to match their ticket revenues. The Emirates holds 60,000 and the new Spurs stadium looks like having a 56,000 capacity.
At the moment City would probably struggle to attract crowds larger than this, but with a couple of trophies and Champions League glamour there would surely be more people willing to come. In this light, the high impact poster campaigns make more sense.
Garry Cook is always keen to push the need to increase the fanbase both locally and globally. If there’s going to be a 75,000 seat stadium to fill, we can see why!
With the state of the art training facilities acting as a breeding ground for talented youngsters and the added commercial strength ensuring we have the financial muscle to keep them, the long term future would look very bright.
One remaining question is how the club will cope with Financial Fair Play in the years while everything is being built. It will be at least two years before the club starts to see any significant extra revenue and we’ll probably need to buy the odd player during this time.
It’s an obvious concern so hopefully the club have a solution. Part of the plan was signing top quality young players this Summer. Boateng and co are good enough to keep the club near the top end of the table for several years to come so we won’t need that level of player turnover again.
With such a policy it was a surprise not to see Dzeko join the club. Maybe Sheikh Mansour and Garry Cook still have a few surprises up their sleeves.
The next one looks like being an announcement on the new developments. If they’re anything like the rumours and speculation that are washing around, then even more exciting times are on the way.
- Have you heard anything about possible new developments at Eastlands?