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Emirate Corporate Sell-Out?

Comments (16)

Much has been made of our proposed new stadium and all its relevant issues, but something particularly struck me about my first visit to the emirates on Sunday.

I couldn't help feel that yes it was a lovely arena, very nice padded seats with great views and excellent facilities, but with the overriding view that Arsenal have sold out the fans for corporate revenue. This was of particular concern to me given how many times we have heard Kenwright & Wyness talk about increased revenue from corporate areas.

For those of you that have not been there, if you imagine a doughnut shape with the lower & upper rings being normal seats, then two middle rings facilitate corporate boxes and what I believe is called club level (presumably backing onto restaurants etc). I don?t know whether the fans were just quiet because of the game or not, but it just seemed to me that there was no connections between the ordinary fans in the upper & lower tiers and therefore noise didn?t seem to carry through the stadium very well.

I probably haven't followed the detail of the Kirkby project enough but aside from transportation issues, location, Cost etc, does anybody know if we are likely to follow suit?

My preference would be to have a stadium that is intimidating for the opposition, where the ordinary fan is able get the key seats and generate atmosphere, I?m not particularly interested in padded seats or toilet facilities! I want lots of noise from the terraces & great football on the pitch, even if I have to sit on a wooden seat and keep bending around to see the corner flag!

In short, I left there feeling like I had had a nice day out at a pleasant stadium, not quite the same as the likes of Goodison, White Hart Lane, or Upton Park?
David Whitwell, Essex     Posted 06/05/2008 at 11:16:26

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Mike Evans
1   Posted 06/05/2008 at 14:08:13

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I also have these concerns, questions keep popping into my head such as, "Will the atmosphere be any good?" and "Will the home support outpower the away?"
Nick Entwistle
2   Posted 06/05/2008 at 14:36:15

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I?ve been to the Emirates and Wembley and think that any stadium which primarily looks after the hospitality clients by giving them the best and most prominent seats in seclusion from other fans is just awful. I don?t have time for both these stadia and would rather play in our antique any day!
Erik Dols
3   Posted 06/05/2008 at 14:22:17

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I do share your worries as I think atmosphere is really important. However I want to state that I know several stadiums with corporate facilities dividing the lower and upper tiers around the whole ground, but who still manage to create a great atmosphere. I hope Everton will give priority to designing a stadium with a great atmosphere.

Off topic: I just received a link to an article where the director of Feyenoord Rotterdam says they’re looking to build the biggest stadium in Europe, on a space next to their current stadium (the Kuip where we won the Cup Winners Cup).

Initially it will contain 80000 seats, but design and infrastructure will be such that an expansion to ’somewhere far over 100000 seats’ is possible. Now that’s showing some form of ambition. And they’re not moving far away either...
Alan Rolfe
4   Posted 06/05/2008 at 14:59:43

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Whilst I agree with David regarding the development of antiseptic and soulless stadia.

The fact is that the corporate boxes at Ashburton Grove on their own generate more income than ALL of Highbury used to.

Much as we deplore the "prawn sandwich" brigade we welcome the fact that many will pay more per match than the "normal" fan pays for their entire season ticket.

We cannot have it both ways boxes are a necessary evil because we want the money...
Steve Lyth
5   Posted 06/05/2008 at 15:34:09

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Dave, you are bang on with the intimidating atmosphere, ordinary fan and key seat allocation mate, thats how it should be set up. Rolfey do you think Everton have many prawn eating fans, regardless of where the stadium might be ?
Steve Pendleton
6   Posted 06/05/2008 at 15:32:59

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The atmosphere was quiet because it was a fucking boring game?? Who the hell wants to sing when there is nothing to sing about??

Their supporters are spoilt and expect more. Finding a link between the stadium and atmosphere of the game and comparing it to our Kirkby situation is clutching at straws me thinks David.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the whole Kirkby shenanigans and keen to renovate Goodison if possible but the comparison you make is a bit out there mate.

We killed any possible atmosphere with OUR approach.
Seamus Murphy
7   Posted 06/05/2008 at 15:40:51

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I agree with Steve P.
If we had of tried to play the bloody game rather than kill it, there might have been an atmosphere. You get good atmosphere’s at good games - simple as.
Ben Howard
8   Posted 06/05/2008 at 15:59:26

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I was at the game as the guest of a client and was in one of the corporate boxes. I have to say, it’s very impressive and we were really well treated.

From the corner where we were sat I had a good view of the Everton fans and we don’t half make a racket! I was proud to be Blue, and neutrals and Gooners I was with all commented on our great support.

Similarly though there are fanatical Arsenal fans who are sat in the opposite corner of the stadium and they make a noise too.

I think, as Steve Pendleton says, the main difference is that they’re used to seeing free-flowing football and weren’t getting excited by what they saw. The place erupted after their goal so imagine our fans in there during a derby match! It would be electric.

It’s easy to suggest that their stadium is souless (due to the corporate element) but I think they’ve built a fantastic stadium for the 21st Century and a beautiful piece of architecture, within an urban area of London where space is at a premium.

I’m not for the Kirby option but I’ve seen what can be achieved with a bit of ambition and how we’re going to be left in the past if we don’t do something. The club need to find an investor, a suitable plot in the city, and move us into the 21st Century.
Tony Finn
9   Posted 06/05/2008 at 16:28:03

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Am I right in thinking we don't sell out our corporate seats for most games, so why will people suddenly want them when we move?????
Or am I wrong?
Phil Bellis
10   Posted 06/05/2008 at 16:49:13

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As Gerard Madden contantly assures us, the vast majority of Blues fans want roomy seats, no pillars, no queues for a pie and a pint, 1 urinating facility for every 3 people in Wetherspoon standard toilets and, of course, a view over the River Alt.
Never mind the bollocks on the pitch. Corporate punters love visiting retail parks and will flock to the new stadium in their thousands. There’ ll be precious little room for riff-raff like you and me.
Brian Waring
11   Posted 06/05/2008 at 18:23:04

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Look lads, I wouldn?t get to worried about these corporate suites. At the end of the day, we can?t fill the boxes at Goodison as it is. So who is going to fill them at Kirkby? It wouldn?t be long before us riff-raff fans would be getting offered a seat in them, for every extra sausage roll you buy. That would be the only way they could sell them off.
Paul Morgan
12   Posted 06/05/2008 at 19:15:30

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It seems to me that the fundamental question we must ask ourselves is this: what type of club do we want to belong to in 10 years time? Do we (a) want to join the pursuit of worldwide corporate domination so craved for by the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid or (b) want to remain in touch with our roots, proud of our traditions, clear about our partciular scouse identity and at home in a 50-60K seater stadium that is designed with the nedds of the match-going supporter in mind. I am undecided about Kirkby, but am sure that for me, being an Evetonian, like being a fan of Atletico Madrid or perhaps Schalke, is about identity, belonging and pride. Let people who want to drink champagne go to the car-park at Twickenham; let’s press our board to build us a stadium that is designed in order to cater for matchday enjoyment, rather than it being seen as a revenue stream in which we, the supporters, are useful only to provide a backdrop for co-orporate hospitality.
Jim Hourigan
13   Posted 06/05/2008 at 20:13:15

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Paul, I?m glad to see romanticism isn?t dead, the only shame is we live in a business dominated world. Everton is a business not a romantic ideal, we the supporters provide the passion, dreams and ideals, the board provide the damp squibs to deflate our dreams. Premier League football is now about revenue, income and corporate bullshit - sadly we must live in the real world where we have no voice and no impact.
Jason Lam
14   Posted 07/05/2008 at 04:26:37

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Being located too far away to attend the games I can’t really comment other than the fact that the view on TV from the Emirates is miles better than it was at Highbury.
Tony Waring
15   Posted 07/05/2008 at 09:48:13

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Anyone been to Sporting Lisbon?s ground? That?s a newish stadium which strikes me as intimidating insofar as the fans are close to the pitch and capacity is about 55,000. Forget prawn sandwiches and the like. We?ve never had that type of fanbase and are unlikely to do so in the future; in any case you don?t catch too many crustaceans in Gladstone Dock.

On other matters, Keegan hits the nail on the head. Megabucks are necessary to break into the higher echelons. What we need is a limit of 4-5 overseas players with the rest from Britain - not necessarily England - we are after all in a union of countries! If the EU don?t like it tell ?em to go to blazes, just like France does on innumerable occasions; after all what can they really do? Ban us from Europe? That would really bring everyone down to reality... maybe about time too.

Tom Hughes
16   Posted 07/05/2008 at 11:55:14

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Unfortunately, the comparison is wayward. We currently struggle to fill our corporate sections. Liverpool’s entire CBD could be accommodated in a couple of canary warf’s skyscrapers nevermind the rest of the city of London. The middle tiers of the emirates probably make more cash than our whole stadium, and there is nothing comparable going to be included at Kirkby, both in terms of quantity or quality. It’s a great aspiration but that’s all at the mo. Of course that isn’t to say all is lost. We have an improving side, a good manager and a solid traditional fanbase, perhaps we should be making the most of these great assets by investing in the team?! Success is the real gravy train, and will bring em in quicker than any new stadium

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