Oval Or Round?

Wednesday, 13 April 2005, 0:00
2 mins read

There has been an interesting debate raging again this week about the presence of the Celtic League champions – the Neath/Swansea Ospreys – at the new stadium. It’s made for interesting debate but I really do fail to see the issues about the egg chasers using the stadium when we are not in situ ourselves.

I’ll start off with a simple comment of where I stand. I take no more than a passing interest in the game of rugby. The last game I watched ‘live’ (i.e. in a stadium) was the 3rd/4th place play off game in the 1999 World Cup and then it was only because we had corporate tickets. It was New Years Day 1990 when I last watched a game between two Welsh sides and at a rough guess around 1986 when I last watched a six (five) nations game in Cardiff. I do take an interest in results if I remember and I was a proud Welshman when we won the grand slam. Football is, always has been, and always will be my sport.

However, I have no issue with sharing a stadium with the local regionalised rugby side. A successful side at that which is being heavily tipped to become the top side in Europe next year. Success for the sport in the local area has to be a good thing. We read many posts about a boxing champion from Swansea and Matthew Stevens has been cheered because of his snooker exploits in the past. I do believe that we should be proud of any sporting success that can be achieved by local stars/teams and long may that success continue.

Now if the Ospreys were to be knocked out at the first hurdle in Europe, or Enzo lost his crown or Matthew Stevens was beaten by a 12 year old protege from Aberdeen I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. If the Swans don’t win promotion it will bug and annoy me. That is where my priorities lie.

So why all the fuss about sharing a stadium with the Ospreys? Where is the harm in it from our point of view?

For a start, we will benefit financially from the arrangement. By having a third party involved we have another party to reduce the costs of running the stadium to ourselves. It has been advertised that the running costs will be borne by Stadco made up of the three entities so therefore three is better than two when dividing a bill up?

I understand concerns about the pitch but surely these have been alleviated by the construction of the said pitch and the fact that we have evidence elsewhere of where it can hold up.

Like it or not but the Ospreys will bring more people into watch the Swans and vice versa. The Premier Seats inside the stadium have been bought for both codes. Sure some of them will be shared between a football fan and a rugby fan but don’t kid yourself that all 1100 have worked that way. Some of them have been bought by die hard rugby fans yet they will use them on football days. Extra bums on seats for football = more revenue even if it is for incidental sales.

We don’t suffer because of fixtures. Football league rules state that in shared stadia the football club has priority so we get first pick of all the fixture dates as instructed by the football league. No issue there.

I really am struggling to see the arguments against it now. Someone made a comment earlier that the Ospreys have put nothing in. Who gives a flying f who put something into the stadium and who didn’t. The important thing is that the stadium has been built and we will play there next season.

As I say I am no rugby fan but can certainly embrace the idea of having two sides playing in one place at different times.

Let’s get on with our future one which like it or not involves sharing a stadium with a successful rugby side. If that brings more coverage from the media to Swansea for it’s sporting entities then so be it.

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Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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