Posted by: Lee H | 22/04/2010

Soccer City Stadium – Johannesburg

Soccer City Stadium - Johannesburg

Posted by: Lee H | 20/04/2010

Falmer Stadium – Brighton

Falmer Stadium taking shape

Brighton and Hove Albion’s long awaited move to Falmer is looking all set to be completed on schedule for the start of the 2011/12 season.

The Seagulls have been without a permanent home since leaving the Goldstone Ground back in 1997, and after two season’s ground sharing with Gillingham, the club have played their home games at the unfashionable Withdean Stadium.

The Falmer project has taken many years to finally get off the ground, with neighbouring Lewes District Council objecting to a proposed park and ride bus facility at the stadium, which falls within their boundaries.

Once planning permission was finally obtained in 2008, the stadium’s opening was put back a further year due to new legislation and access problems. Ground was finally broken in April 2009, and the long wait for Brighton fans now looks to be coming to an end as the stadium begins to take shape.

The stadium itself will have a 22,500 all seated capacity and is costing around £60m to build.

Artists impression of Falmer Stadium

Editors View

Brighton fans can finally look forward to watching their team at a proper football stadium rather than the horrible Withdean, and its long overdue. Its a bit of a disgrace that Brighton have been without a permenant home for 14 years, largely due to planning permission issues. I’m glad the nightmare for their fans is finally over and look forward to visiting Falmer in the future – hopefully as a Premier League club – you never know.

Posted by: Lee H | 20/04/2010

Free State Stadium – Bloemfontein

Fifa World Cup 2010

Free State Stadium - Bloemfontein

Capacity – 45,058

Opened – 1952 (Upgraded in 2008)

Aerial view of the Free State Stadium

Information

The Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein recieved a minor upgrade ahead of the Confederations Cup last summer, with a second tier added to main grandstand taking the capacity to just over 45,000. Additionally their were improvements to the media facilities at the stadium, which will host six matches at the Fifa World Cup, along with new turnstiles, electric scoreboard and sound system.

Both football and rugby union is played at the stadium which attacts big crowds due to the sport mad natives. While football played second fiddle in the popularity stakes to the local rugby union side the Free State Cheetahs, in the past, the interest in the World Cup and the rapid growth of Bloemfontein Celtic FC, has seen football takes its place amongst the locals’ passions.

Fans during the World Cup can visit two of South Africa’s most visited museums in Bloemfontein. The National Museum, home to an extensive collection on fossils and archeological artifacts, and the Queen’s Military Museum which tells the story of the major conflicts in the Free State area during the early 19th century are both located in the city.

Fifa World Cup 2010 Fixtures

14 June – Group E – Japan v Cameroon
17 June – Group B – Greece v Nigeria
20 June – Group F – Slovakia v Paraguay
22 June – Group A – France v South Africa
25 June – Group H – Switzerland v Honduras
27 June – Round of 16

Free State Stadium

Posted by: Lee H | 20/04/2010

Champions League Set For Weekend Final

The Bernabeu Stadium will host the Champions League final

If you didnt already know this season’s Champions League final will take place on Saturday 22nd May, in an unprecidented break from the traditional Wednesday final.

The final will take place at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium, the fourth time the venue has hosted the European Cup final and could yet see Real’s arch rivals Barcelona involved if they can overcome Inter Milan in their semi-final.

It is hoped the move will influence more children to attend the final and brings the showpiece event in line with many other domestic cup finals, such as the FA Cup Final, which regularly takes place on a Saturday.

Editors View

I’m not sure what to make of the move to be honest. I’ve grown used to seeing the Champions League final on a Wednesday, the classic finals of 1999 with United and 2005 with Liverpool have created history in football on a Wednesday night, it’s tradition. But I suppose in time we will learn to get used to it, especially if more English sides continue to make the final as they have done in recent years.

Posted by: Lee H | 19/04/2010

Sochi Olympic Stadium

Sochi Olympic Stadium - Winter Olympics 2014

The coastal city of Sochi, in Russia, are to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the design for the new 40,000 seater stadium, to be built as the centrepiece of the games, has been inspired by Russia’s famous Faberge Egg.

The stadium’s walls and roof are to be one continues glass surface that reflects the sunlight off the see during the day. The design of the stadium allows for spectacular views across Krasnaya Polyana Mountains to the north, and dramatic views of the Black Sea to the south.

After the games the stadium will be become a training centre and be used by the Russian National Football Team.

Sochi beat off competition from the South Korean city of PyeongChang to host the games which are costing around $11b to transform the infrastructure of the city.

Sochi Olympic Stadium

Editors View

I was sceptical at first that a city which has in the past recorded temperatures of over 20°C in February, would be suitable to host a Winter Olympics. After the reading the plans however I have been convinced these games could be even better than the recent games in Vancouver. The stadium itself looks a great design which incorperates it’s surroundings and does have a useful legacy after the games.

Rating – 9/10

Posted by: Lee H | 19/04/2010

Commonwealth Games Not Under Threat

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium faces a race to be ready in time

Indian police and sporting officials have insisted the Delhi Commonwealth Games are not under threat following the double bomb blast in Bangalore.

The Indian Premier League semi-finals have already been moved to Mumbai as a result of the blasts which have raised security fears throughout India. But officials are adament the games, of which many of the venues including the main athletics stadium, are behind schedule, are not at risk. Police have cited the recent trouble-free hockey World Cup as evidence security issues can be handled.

Cricket officials have stressed that it is too early to contemplate any changes to next year’s Cricket World Cup in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but with the amount of overseas players that have hesitated in their decision to play in India in the recent past, a switch of host can not be completely ruled out.

The Commonwealth Games will be India’s biggest multiple-sport event since the 1982 Asian Games, and the Indian government is desperate for the even to be a success, to provide a possible platform for a future Indian Olympic Games bid.

Editors View

The people of India deserve to hold such a major event but at the moment the whole project is suffering. Stadiums and venues are well behind schedule and the terror threat can not be ignored with the blasts in Bangalore not too long after the Mumbai terror attacks. I hope the Commonwealth Games go well for India but a lot of work needs to be done for it to be a success.

Posted by: Lee H | 18/04/2010

Loftus Versfeld – Pretoria

Fifa World Cup 2010

Loftus Versfeld - Pretoria

Capacity – 51,762

Opened – 1906 (Upgraded in 2008)

Inside Loftus Versfeld

Information

Named after Robert Owen Loftus Versfeld, the founder of organised sports in Pretoria, the stadium is one of the oldest sporting venues in South Africa and will host six matches at the upcoming Fifa World Cup. Only a minimal upgrade was required to bring Loftus Versfeld up to the standard needed to host World Cup matches, with improvements to the floodlights, scoreboard, sound system and the stadium roof.

The stadium is how to one of the most successful rugby sides in South Africa, the Blue Bulls, and has hosted matches at previous major tournaments including last year’s Confederations Cup, the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations and the 1995 Rugby World Cup. It was also host to South African national football team’s first ever win over a European team, a 1-0 victory over Sweden in 1998.

Situated around 70 kilometers north of Johannesburg, Pretoria is one of South Africa’s three capital citiess and is known for having many museums and monuments depicting the city’s artistic and colourful heritage.

Link – South Africa v British Irish Lions (Rugby Union) at Loftus Versfeld

Fifa World Cup 2010 Fixtures

13 June – Group D – Serbia v Ghana
16 June – Group A – South Africa v Uruguay
19 June – Group E – Cameroon v Denmark
23 June – Group C – USA v Algeria
25 June – Group H – Chile v Spain
29 June – Round of 16

Loftus Versfeld

Posted by: Lee H | 16/04/2010

Essex Look At Olympic Stadium For T20

Essex Are Looking Into Using The New Stadium For T20

Essex County Cricket Club are exploring the possibility of hosting some of their future Twenty 20 games at the new London Olympic Stadium in Stratford. Essex have joined West Ham United Football Club in expressing in an interest in using the stadium after the 2012 Olympic Games as the debate rumbles on about how to best make us of the venue in it’s ‘legacy mode’.

Essex’s current home the Ford County Ground in Chelmsford has a limited capacity of 6500, and with the Twenty 20 version of the game continuing to pull in the crowds a move to the Olympic venue would certainly allow the club to reap financial rewards.

Check out the on the terraces over the weekend for a full profile of the new Olympic Stadium in East London.

Posted by: Lee H | 14/04/2010

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – Port Elizabeth

Fifa World Cup 2010

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium - Port Elizabeth

Capacity – 46,082

Status – Opened July 2009

Cost – $270,000,000

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium At Night

Information

The first of the newly built completed stadium for this summer’s World Cup in South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Stadium is the first world-class football stadium to be built in the Eastern Cape province. The stadium has been built with a unique roof structure, made up of a series of white ‘petals’ which has lead to the stadium being nicknamed ‘The Sunflower.’

Overlooking the North End lake, providing a spectacular backdrop, the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium has been used for local football and rugby over the past year. The stadium hosted a British and Irish Lions tour match against the Southern Kings during their tour to South Africa in 2009 and will host eight matches during the World Cup, including a quarter final and the 3rd/4th place play-off.

England will play their final group game against Slovenia in Port Elizabeth and fans may want to take a trip to the nearby Kragga Kamma Game Park inbetween matches, to experience a taste of African safari close up.

Fifa World Cup 2010 Fixtures

12 June – Group B –  Korea Republic v Greece
15 June – Group G – Ivory Coast v Portugul
18 June – Group D – Germany v Serbia
21 June – Group H – Chile v Switzerland
23 June – Group C – Slovenia v England
26 June – Round of 16
02 July – Quarter-finals
10 July –  3rd/4th Place Play-off

Inside The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Editors View

A tidy stadium built in a great location, the Nelson Mandela Stadium is historic in many ways. It is a sign that football has finally stepped out of the shadow of apartheid in the Eastern Cape and the city of Port Elizabeth has been rewarded with a series of exciting matches at the World Cup. The stadium looked brilliant during the rugby last summer and I’m confident fans will have an enjoyable visit to this stadium during the World Cup.

Rating – 8/10

Posted by: Lee H | 14/04/2010

Loved and Lost – Victoria Ground

Victoria Ground, Stoke-on-Trent (1878-1997)

The Victoria Ground - Former Home of Stoke City

Capacity – 22,500 (At closure)

Home of – Stoke City FC

Record Attendance – 51,380 (vs. Arsenal, 29 March 1937)

Last Result At Stadium – Stoke City 2-1 West Bromwich Albion (04 May 1997)

Last Golascorer At Ground – Andy Hunt (West Bromwich Albion)

The Old Boothen End

History

The Victoria Ground became Stoke City’s third home in 1878 after brief spells at the Victoria Cricket Ground and Sweetings Field’s situated opposite what became known as the Victoria Ground. Stoke went on to beat Talke Rangers 1-0 in the first ever match on 27th March 1878.

Initially designed as an athletics venue, it took until the 1930’s development of the Boothen End terrace, and the new 5000 seat Butler Street stand, complete with a barrel shaped roof, for the ‘Vic’ to become truely recognised as a football ground.

The ground was to develop slowly over time. In 1956 floodlights were installed, and during the 1960’s the main stand complete with new dressing rooms was built

Stoke were embarking on their golden era during the 1960’s and 70’s. Follwing on from their first, and only, major trophy success, the League Cup win in 1972, the Potters narrowly missed out on that illusive first ever league title, before one of the most unfortunate events in the club’s history took place in 1976.

The huge storm blew part of the roof off the old Butler Street stand causing £250,000 worth of damage. As a result the club ran into financial trouble and were forced into selling many of their star players, including Alan Hudson and Jimmy Grenhoff, who had helped them achieve success in the previous years.

In 1979 the final renovation of the Victoria Ground took place with building of the Stoke End, replaced the huge open terrace that contributed to crowds well over 40,000 during the decade.

The Boothen (Main) Stand and The Stoke End

Following the Taylor Report major redevelopment was needed to make the Victoria Ground an all-seater stadium. The club initially courted the idea of turning the ground around 90 degrees but with limited space and the massive costs involved of such a project, the decision was taken to move to a new purpose built stadium, what was to become known as the Britannia Stadium, at Trentham Lakes.

Stoke City played their final ever league match at the Victoria Ground on May 4th 1997, with Graham Kavanagh going on to score the last ever Stoke goal at the ground. The honour of the last ever league goal at the famous old ground went to West Bromwich Albion striker Andy Hunt who scored a late consolation for the visitors, as Stoke ran out 2-1 winners infront of a capacity crowd of 22,500.

To the frustration of many the site still remains undeveloped to this day as financial problems have led to many delays and plan changes for the site. All that remains of the ground that is recognisable are the red Boothen End gates and steps that led up to the terrace.

The Old Boothen Gates Are All That Remain At The Ground

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