Date:Thursday June 1 2006
As some clubs before us already know, and as the Gooners will soon find out, moving to a shiny, new stadium can be either a hit or a miss affair and difficult to predict which.
Now we haven't got the biggest by any means (size not everything etc..etc ), but the it's widely accepted Eastlands is one of the best new stadia around and without doubt the facilities are fantastic.
Why then, do many of us feel that life is just not quite right at our new home, and just can't quite put your finger on it - it really beats me, and I still can't work it out. When I put the latest poll on the website I was sort of expecting things to balance out, but the result was more over-whelming than I ever expected and something that should be of great concern to the Board. We asked you:
Despite having a great new Stadium, on balance was life better at Maine Road?
YES: They were great days - 65%
NO: Don't be so daft - 31%
NOT SURE: Difficult to say - 4%
I know these polls aren't entirely scientific, but worryingly over twice as many people seem to have enjoyed the overall experience at Maine Road more than in the new stadium at Eastlands.
Now before we get the blue tinted spectacles on, it wasn't all great in years gone by and to be honest Maine Road was not the best example of a football stadium in the world. However, despite its many faults and shortcomings, it did have that indefinable quality of 'atmosphere' which is undeniably lacking at Eastlands.
So why should this be? The inhabitants of the Kippax seem to still be around at the new place, we still have some good banter and there are certainly plenty of characters around and one of them sits a few rows in front of me - you'd never guess he was a Bank Manager from the stream of industrial strength comments that regularly keeps the crowd entertained during the matches.
More recently the club have resorted to 'canned' cheering and singing over the tannoy, but it doesn't really work and I have to say that at times the atmosphere is as quiet and sedentary as United's, God bless 'em!
Like, I said, I don't have the answer - maybe you guys do? Perhaps it's not just one simple little thing or maybe it's a more complex combination of factors. What's for sure is that things are not quite right and they need to be fixed.
Could it be because players have lost touch with the fans; with all that money they can't really relate to supporters any more. - it's just a job for many of them. For the last few seasons we've had more of a collection of players than a 'team'. The old City playing spirit playing with your heart on your sleeve didn't seem to come over from Maine Road. Since SWP retired down to Chelsea, we haven't really got a crowd hero who embodies what City should all be about and we desperately need one - two or three would be good !
Now, one has be be optimistic that things will change as we've got the most passionate manager in the Premiership, about football that is, and now that he's found his feet, and to be fair the going a bit tough, he needs to engender that same spirit and passion into the team that he himself showed for club and country. It would probably help by not signing anonymous and mercenary foreign players that don't care a hoot for the club or fans. At first, I wasn't that impressed with the return of Dickov, but I'm waivering now as he does have the desire to play in a Blue shirt for a club that means something to him and that's worth a lot.
Psycho's got a tough job on his hands next year and so have the fans. Somehow, we need that Kippax spirit back at the club and Pearce needs to build a team that wants to be part of it. Everything stems from the team and if that's not right it ripples through the club and beyond.
Am I just an navel gazing old fart hankering for the old days or is this a non issue? Our poll results would suggest I just may have a point...or do I ?
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