Arena Sports Village

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Darlogramps
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Darlogramps » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:08 pm

I think a lot of people are deluding themselves about playing at the Arena. It was a horrific, soulless place. Looking out over the masses of fading red seats, with an inability to get any sort of atmosphere going was so depressing. Blackwell Meadows isn't great, but the Arena was far worse.

As for the idea the stadium wasn't to blame - well it's bizarre that in 120 years we manage to get along relatively fine (ok, we did have financial worries, but name me a club in League One and Two that has gone more than a century without any financial concerns at all).

Yet as soon as we move to a grotesquely oversized stadium, we hit immediate financial strife. Part of the reason successive chairmen overspent was in order to get us to a higher level, to make it more viable to cover the Arena's massive overheads. Yes GH + RS's greed came into it as well. But if we have three administrations in nine years immediately after moving to the new stadium, no one can tell me it wasn't a factor.

The argument is we wouldn't have to pay for it because we'd be a tenant. Well we've no idea how much we'd have to pay, or if we'd even be wanted there anyway. Mowden Park could be every bit as difficult as Darlington Rugby Club. Without hard details, trying to use that as an argument is speculative at best.

And just think how it would look to non-Darlington supporters, including the people and businesses we desperately need to start backing us. We'd have bounced from ground-to-ground and ended up back where we started. They'd think we had no idea what we were doing, reinforcing the idea we're a basketcase club. And no one will invest in us if that's the case.

The first question I get asked by non-Darlo supporters is: "What's happened to that massive stadium?" The whole thing is a laughing stock, and we'd tarnish our image by going back there. Not only would we take a financial hit through having to extricate ourselves from the Blackwell Meadows deal, but we'd also lose a big chunk of supporters who associate the Arena with failure. I'd be among them - I genuinely couldn't face going back to the Arena. I could stomach some sort of new ground on that site (indeed this would be ideal), however unlikely that prospect is. But not the White Elephant. It would finish us off as a club.

Some people have over time forgotten how soulless and miserable the Arena was as a ground. Blackwell Meadows is a long way from perfect. But for me, the Arena was much worse, and there'd be serious repercussions for us if we went back there.
Last edited by Darlogramps on Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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QuakerPete
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by QuakerPete » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:18 pm

Darlogramps wrote:I think a lot of people are deluding themselves about playing at the Arena. It was a horrific, soulless place. Looking out over the masses of fading red seats, with an inability to get any sort of atmosphere going was so depressing. Blackwell Meadows isn't great, but the Arena was far worse.

As for the idea the stadium wasn't to blame - well it's bizarre that in 120 years we manage to get along relatively fine (ok, we did have financial worries, but name me a club in League One and Two that has gone more than a century without any financial concerns at all).

Yet as soon as we move to a grotesquely oversized stadium, we hit immediate financial strife. Part of the reason successive chairmen overspent was in order to get us to a higher level, to make it more viable to cover the Arena's massive overheads. Yes GH + RS's greed came into it as well. But if we have three administrations in nine years immediately after moving to the new stadium, no one can tell me it wasn't a factor.

The argument is we wouldn't have to pay for it because we'd be a tenant. Well we've no idea how much we'd have to pay, or if we'd even be wanted there anyway. Mowden Park could be every bit as difficult as Darlington Rugby Club. Without hard details, trying to use that as an argument is speculative at best.

And just think how it would look to non-Darlington supporters, including the people and businesses we desperately need to start backing us. We'd have bounced from ground-to-ground and ended up back where we started. They'd think we had no idea what we were doing, reinforcing the idea we're a basketcase club. And no one will invest in us if that's the case.

The first question I get asked by non-Darlo supporters is: "What's happened to that massive stadium?" The whole thing is a laughing stock, and we'd tarnish our image by going back there. Not only would we take a financial hit through having to extricate ourselves from the Blackwell Meadows deal, but we'd also lose a big chunk of supporters who associate the Arena with failure. I'd be among them - I genuinely couldn't face going back to the Arena. I could stomach some sort of new ground on that site, however unlikely that prospect is. But not the White Elephant. It would finish us off as a club.

Some people have over time forgotten how soulless and miserable the Arena was as a ground. Blackwell Meadows is a long way from perfect. But for me, the Arena was much worse, and there'd be serious repercussions for us if we went back there.
I may be wrong, but wasn’t the whole “sporting hub” story initially raised by DJ to include Blackwell Rugby Club moving as well? Then the sale of Blackwell Meadows would part-fund the hub?


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Darlogramps
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Darlogramps » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:30 pm

QuakerPete wrote: I may be wrong, but wasn’t the whole “sporting hub” story initially raised by DJ to include Blackwell Rugby Club moving as well? Then the sale of Blackwell Meadows would part-fund the hub?


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I don't recall ever seeing that as part of it, but happy to be corrected. As an educated guess, there would be very stiff opposition from Darlington Rugby Club over any relocation to the Arena. I don't see that happening at all.

I did find this from DJ, from a Netcafe this time last year.
In its current form, the Arena in my opinion is not really fit for purpose. The fan experience with 2,000 fans in a 25,000 capacity stadium is not ideal and there is ageing infrastructure that could result in increasing operational costs. We will however have to wait for the plans to be developed and ensure that our requirements are clearly understood if there is to be any further development or re-development.
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Vodka_Vic
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Vodka_Vic » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:20 am

Behind the scenes I believe the Infrastructure group are working on projected costings at various levels for BM.

H1987
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by H1987 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:09 am

I’m with gramps, and I’m baffled by the whitewashing of the arena. It was, and is, an awful, soulless bowl, that is far too big.

Blackwell needs a lot of work, but having small, lopsided stands near the pitch beats the spots off that cavernous plastic dump.

I’d like to see us just throw in our lot with one, with a clear pathway to what future development looks like. If that’s at BM, that means how we would make it better for fans and meet criteria. The Arena, aside from knocking most of it down, I’ve no interest in whatsoever.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Ghost_Of_1883 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:33 am

Dial A

You know the rest.
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by al_quaker » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:49 am

The Arena was a truly awful place to watch lower league football. It'd be even worse as we rattle around trying to avoid relegation from the 6th division. It says something for the quality of the experience at BM that it's even in the conversation. Pretty much the only thing I can think of that BM easily trumps the Arena for is 'not being a massive empty bowl'. Sigh. Oh for Feethams, even with all of it's faults :cry:

leedscol
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by leedscol » Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:44 pm

Darlo_Pete wrote:I'd have the Arena over BM any day.
Me too

The Golden Hairclip
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by The Golden Hairclip » Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:50 pm

leedscol wrote:
Darlo_Pete wrote:I'd have the Arena over BM any day.
Me too
Even if it even meant that we could never get back into the football league?


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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by joejaques » Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:57 pm

Ghost_Of_1883 wrote:Dial A

You know the rest.
For "Arson" :roll:
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PierremontQuaker03
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by PierremontQuaker03 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:12 pm

How long are we committed to Blackwell Meadows for? If we have signed up for a long term agreement then we are stuffed anyway.
I preferred the relationship we had with Bishop, short-term giving us flexibility to relocate as and when.
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Darlo_CR
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Darlo_CR » Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:18 pm

PierremontQuaker03 wrote:How long are we committed to Blackwell Meadows for? If we have signed up for a long term agreement then we are stuffed anyway.
I preferred the relationship we had with Bishop, short-term giving us flexibility to relocate as and when.
We have a 25 year lease agreed with the rugby club with the option to extend.

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QuakerPete
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by QuakerPete » Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:32 pm

Darlogramps wrote:
QuakerPete wrote: I may be wrong, but wasn’t the whole “sporting hub” story initially raised by DJ to include Blackwell Rugby Club moving as well? Then the sale of Blackwell Meadows would part-fund the hub?


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I don't recall ever seeing that as part of it, but happy to be corrected. As an educated guess, there would be very stiff opposition from Darlington Rugby Club over any relocation to the Arena. I don't see that happening at all.

I did find this from DJ, from a Netcafe this time last year.
In its current form, the Arena in my opinion is not really fit for purpose. The fan experience with 2,000 fans in a 25,000 capacity stadium is not ideal and there is ageing infrastructure that could result in increasing operational costs. We will however have to wait for the plans to be developed and ensure that our requirements are clearly understood if there is to be any further development or re-development.
Thinking back, it was mentioned by DJ to a small group of us after a fans forum at the Dolphin Centre. I believe the premise was that both clubs would move to the Arena area with BM sold to part fund the hub expansion as the residential land value is quite high at BM. At the time DJ thought there could be some leverage on us having our own land / ground, but never heard that mentioned since so guessing it’s a non-starter


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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Darlo_Pete » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:24 pm

The Golden Hairclip wrote:
leedscol wrote:
Darlo_Pete wrote:I'd have the Arena over BM any day.
Me too
Even if it even meant that we could never get back into the football league?


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Why would it mean we'd never get back to the football league?

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Vodka_Vic » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:24 pm

4g pitches currently not accepted.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Darlo_Pete » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:25 pm

Vodka_Vic wrote:4g pitches currently not accepted.
That may change sometime in the future though.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by The Golden Hairclip » Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:17 am

Darlo_Pete wrote:
Vodka_Vic wrote:4g pitches currently not accepted.
That may change sometime in the future though.
You can’t make a decision that affects the club’s long term future on the basis that a rule “might” change. What if the rule doesn’t change?


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AndyPark
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by AndyPark » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:18 am

What happens if we break the 25 year lease with the rugby club and move elsewhere.. again?

Can we afford to pay them off..

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by spen666 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:33 am

AndyPark wrote:What happens if we break the 25 year lease with the rugby club and move elsewhere.. again?

Can we afford to pay them off..

Andy,

If I recall at the time it was announced, it was said to be a licence rather than a lease. As such, the obligations of the football club are likely to be less than if it was a lease.

Most leases / licence have break clauses in them at regular intervals (ie every few years) so that either party can end agreement early.

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Magical Quakers
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Magical Quakers » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:51 am

Also we would have to pay back the money we received in grants to build on BM, this ties us in for a number of years (was it 5?).

H1987
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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by H1987 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:11 am

The only way any move should be considered is if it provides us with an appropriately sized stadium, that is not a drain on the future financial stability of the club.

Beyond that highly unlikely scenario (and literally, the only way the Arena will ever be that is if you basically knock down everything but the main stand and build more appropriately sized stands in their place) we should not ever consider it. BM needs serious work, but it is not worse than the Arena.

If the highly unlikely dream scenario does not come to fruition, i'd like to see us start planning for the future at BM, including improving relations with the Rugby club, but also building out own viable stake there. There was talk of a clubhouse and 4G pitch that the club could build there? Plans for behind the empty goal, considering whether we can build our own bar, possible future redevelopment of the clubhouse side in future...

I honestly don't think it's as bad as some make out, but i'm sure our absolutely horrific record there doesn't not help attitudes.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Beano » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:21 pm

H1987 wrote:The only way any move should be considered is if it provides us with an appropriately sized stadium, that is not a drain on the future financial stability of the club.

Beyond that highly unlikely scenario (and literally, the only way the Arena will ever be that is if you basically knock down everything but the main stand and build more appropriately sized stands in their place) we should not ever consider it. BM needs serious work, but it is not worse than the Arena.

If the highly unlikely dream scenario does not come to fruition, i'd like to see us start planning for the future at BM, including improving relations with the Rugby club, but also building out own viable stake there. There was talk of a clubhouse and 4G pitch that the club could build there? Plans for behind the empty goal, considering whether we can build our own bar, possible future redevelopment of the clubhouse side in future...

I honestly don't think it's as bad as some make out, but i'm sure our absolutely horrific record there doesn't not help attitudes.
Going back to the Arena would be beyond horrific. It was bad enough as a full-time club with 5000 going and had no atmosphere or soul. The match-day experience there was appalling and was better at Heritage Park and is better at Blackwell Meadows.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Vodka_Vic » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:37 pm

Magical Quakers wrote:Also we would have to pay back the money we received in grants to build on BM, this ties us in for a number of years (was it 5?).
Possibly. See what I've written further up the post about this.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Vodka_Vic » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:39 pm

H1987 wrote:The only way any move should be considered is if it provides us with an appropriately sized stadium, that is not a drain on the future financial stability of the club.

Beyond that highly unlikely scenario (and literally, the only way the Arena will ever be that is if you basically knock down everything but the main stand and build more appropriately sized stands in their place) we should not ever consider it. BM needs serious work, but it is not worse than the Arena.

If the highly unlikely dream scenario does not come to fruition, i'd like to see us start planning for the future at BM, including improving relations with the Rugby club, but also building out own viable stake there. There was talk of a clubhouse and 4G pitch that the club could build there? Plans for behind the empty goal, considering whether we can build our own bar, possible future redevelopment of the clubhouse side in future...

I honestly don't think it's as bad as some make out, but i'm sure our absolutely horrific record there doesn't not help attitudes.
There was talk of a clubhouse and 4G pitch, but then the council have allowed 4G pitches to be built at the Village as well, effectively scuppering our main income source before it begins.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by Yarblockos » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:45 pm

Vodka_Vic wrote:There was talk of a clubhouse and 4G pitch, but then the council have allowed 4G pitches to be built at the Village as well, effectively scuppering our main income source before it begins.
The building of the 4G pitch and clubhouse is crucial here. DJ stated in the NetCafe in May that he wants the club debt free at the end of the season. This is so it becomes a more attractive proposition for lenders who would fund the pitch. I presume that is still the priority. However, that is on hold until the plans for the sporting village are finalised and we know whether a 4G pitch will be built there. If it is, then obviously that rules that out, but if the the council were behind the idea of the club moving, given that they now had no hope of developing a 4G pitch, the club would seek compensation to cover the costs. The idea would be to move the stands from BM to the sporting village I believe.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by SwansQuaker83 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:15 am

Yarblockos wrote:
Vodka_Vic wrote:There was talk of a clubhouse and 4G pitch, but then the council have allowed 4G pitches to be built at the Village as well, effectively scuppering our main income source before it begins.
The building of the 4G pitch and clubhouse is crucial here. DJ stated in the NetCafe in May that he wants the club debt free at the end of the season. This is so it becomes a more attractive proposition for lenders who would fund the pitch. I presume that is still the priority. However, that is on hold until the plans for the sporting village are finalised and we know whether a 4G pitch will be built there. If it is, then obviously that rules that out, but if the the council were behind the idea of the club moving, given that they now had no hope of developing a 4G pitch, the club would seek compensation to cover the costs. The idea would be to move the stands from BM to the sporting village I believe.
Moving them to a new ground may be a way of getting around paying back the grant money... There must be some other funding we can apply for to build a 4g pitch... Lottery/Sport England?

The council really need some sort of joined up thinking on where Darlington's sports "hub/"village" will be... right now they've got a hub at Eastbourne linked to the college, they've backed our BM hub and now they want to throw money and weight behind the Arena hub... they need one sports hub and get all major sports clubs under that umbrella... get Mr Bannatyne to stick one of his units there... there are tonnes of opportunities for an authority with the ability to use their brains. Not sure we have one tho.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by H1987 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:19 am

Does it necessarily rule it out? Presumably we could save on our own costs in the future by holding training there rather than Eastbourne, and then it'd still be a reasonably attractive option to rent out? Blackwell is a slightly better location imo. Closer to the town centre, closer to the entire west side of the town... you might also find that (ironically) the rugby club might want to rent it from us in inclement conditions...

It'd need factoring into our considerations, but it shouldn't render it dead in the water imo.

Glad i'm not alone with my thoughts on the Arena. It was, and is, beyond awful.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by SwansQuaker83 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:21 am

Vodka_Vic wrote:Behind the scenes I believe the Infrastructure group are working on projected costings at various levels for BM.
They are.... I think this includes looking at the cost of moving that effing pipe!! Pretty sure I read that somewhere, some comms from the SG maybe.

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by loan_star » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:38 pm

I heard on the grapevine that Northumbrian Water aren't adverse to building over the pipe as long as its encased in a void so they can get access should the worst happen.
This might make it more viable to develop BM although you would still have the rugby run off a few people don't like.
I know its better if the goal is closer but some of these who hate the run off used to sit right at the back of block 18 at the arena :wtf:

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Re: Arena Sports Village

Post by SwansQuaker83 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:43 pm

loan_star wrote:I heard on the grapevine that Northumbrian Water aren't adverse to building over the pipe as long as its encased in a void so they can get access should the worst happen.
This might make it more viable to develop BM although you would still have the rugby run off a few people don't like.
I know its better if the goal is closer but some of these who hate the run off used to sit right at the back of block 18 at the arena :wtf:
What does that mean, encased in a void?

I don't see why anyone hates the rugby run off... I'm just glad I know when the ball is in the net... I had to wait for the people at the front to react when we were at Bishop... I celebrated the winner against Spenny a fraction of a second after those at the front

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