Date:Monday September 12 2011
Italian giants Juventus enjoyed an easy win on Sunday in their first competitive match at the new Juventus Arena, days after the stadium was opened with a friendly against Notts County, the club that inspired the famous black-and-white shirts worn by the 'Old Lady'.
Built on the site of the Stadio Delle Alpi, host to England's classic World Cup semi-final against Germany in 1990, the new Arena is unusual in two aspects. Firstly Juventus have become one of the few Italian sides to own their own ground rather than lease it from a local authority, opening up new opportunities in terms of sponsorship, merchandise and income-generation.
Secondly they have downsized in terms of capacity. The 67,000-seat 'old' Delle Alpi, with a running track around it and hard to get to, was rarely, if ever full or even close to it so Juve have now opted for a 41,000-seat stadium with everyone close to the action.
Coventry City's future direction as a club hinges on the purchase of at least a half-share in the Ricoh Arena but should we dare to pursue a different path given that we too occupy an unloved stadium that is not ours?
Leaving aside the ever-distant possibility of SISU (or anyone else) finding the millions needed to buy a share, even doing so wouldn't change the problem of the Ricoh as a venue for a Championship club with a seemingly dwindling supporter base.
As visiting supporters never tire of telling us, our ground is too big for us. It's also inhospitable when half-full and hard to get to and away from, especially for evening games and those played on public holidays when the public transport options are severely limited.
Could the Sky Blues look to downsize themselves? Start to look for a suitable place to build a purpose-built (for football) stadium with an initial capacity much more in line with attendances and where all income generated by hospitality and the like comes to the club.
It might be a fanciful notion but it could be a more realistic option than pursuing the holy grail of a share in the Ricoh.
Date:Monday September 12 2011
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