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Grounds for Optimism ? 01/10/2006

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.
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Finally, last week, the club were able to release details of the proposed ground redevelopment, several years after they were first trumpeted.

The announcement may be regarded by some as constituting something of an anticlimax.  Elements of the plan had already been released or at least hinted at in the interim; additionally it’s scarcely possible to conceive of a plan that would have satisfied the rabid expectation generated by the intervening years of implied planning.

What we’ve ended up with, however, looks a pretty decent plan as far as one is able to judge.  Partnership with the hospital and Origin not only generates funding, it is likely to have impacted positively on the Council’s regard for the development – Brighton fans will tell you have difficult life can be without that support.  As for what we get… a functional but at least legal East Stand, Directors’ facilities worthy of the name that might, in time, attract further investment (loveable as the current Main Stand is in many ways, it was never going to pad the ego of a potential director), enhanced facilities in the Rous and the Rookery, all to a realistic budget.

There are a few ifs and buts of course.  They’ve still got to deliver on the plan for one thing, and construction contracts have come in over budget in the past.  They’ve also got to relocate folk from the Upper Rous likely to be displaced to make space for the new directors’ box.  Remembering the appalling lavatory conditions in the Vicarage Road end, one might also ponder whether the limited space at that end of the ground really prohibited improving matters.

But on balamce, and mindful too of the newsworthy clampdown on spending by NHS Trusts, there’s every reason to be delighted by the announcement. 

Unless, like my co-editor, you maintain an unhealthy fascination with the East Stand.  But quaint or not, a stand that folk can’t sit in ain’t much use to anyone…

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