Writer: Ryan Kalisz
Date:Monday June 6 2011
Stoke City have recently decided to put off the idea of extending the stadium capacity for at least another year.
The club's hierarchy has decided against discussing an on-going proposal to fill in at least one of the two open corners at the Bit, despite some fans calling for it to be done, if anything to escape the cold.
Each corner could accommodate around 2,500 extra seats at a cost of at least £3m, which is less than Dave Kitson cost us and potentially more prosperous.
We have a large demand of season-tickets, with match day attendances consistently within 2,000 of the 27,500 capacity, however, the club sees no pressing need to discuss the extension issue.
Chairman of the Supporters Club Bryan Shaw commented: 'I can understand Peter Coates being reluctant to fill them in at the moment, but it would be nice to think it could happen one day.
'It's one for the back burner because we aren't filling the ground and I think fans would rather see the money spent on players.'
Chairman of the Fans' Forum Gareth Ekin concurred: 'I don't see people beating down the door every game for tickets - I think we only sold out for a couple of matches last season.
'And in the current economic climate I don't think it would be financially viable.'
Looking away from the financial concerns, some say that the legendary inhospitable welcome to visiting teams - not least because of the cold and wind generated by the open corners - has contributed towards the club's Premier League home record.
Statistics show that 70 per cent of Stoke's 138 Premier League points to date have been won at the Britannia, so the cliché is 'if it ain`t broke, don`t fix it`.
However improvements are being made to the Brit, with a reported £1m worth of refurbishment work underway in the ticket office, club shop and dressing rooms. The intensions are; to increase the efficiency when purchasing tickets; make a more modern and user-friendly club shop; and most importantly, to bring the dressing-room area into line with UEFA rules following entry into the Europa League.
Ok, so there are things happening at the Brit, but I disagree with the decision about the corner. Obviously if we were to fill the ground completely, and consistently, then the extension becomes a necessity, but as we don`t then it`s dropped down the list of importance. So I do understand the whole 'we don`t quite fill it, so don`t need it` statement, however if the availability of more seats are there for fans, I can see the majority of it being filled. Season ticket holders especially would go for them, and I believe given time, the club will start to see a return on capital. The atmosphere will hardly change; it`ll still be cold that`s for sure. The Britannia Stadium would still be a fortress, depending on how the players play, not just on the direction and intensity of the wind. The fans will still be loud, if anything, louder! Am I right?
But it`s not my decision.
Date:Monday June 6 2011
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