Last rites

It seems that Saturday’s rugby game may have been the final nail in the coffin for Newlands – traditional home of the Western Province Rugby Union. Previously, the Union had steadfastly refused to consider any move from the Newlands ground to the new stadium. However, popular South African rugby website thinks the friendly game at the new Cape Town Stadium may have forced their hand:

It was impossible for the 40 000 people who attended the pre-season game not to draw comparisons between the new stadium and WP’s home ground on the other side of Table Mountain. Quite simply, the one is modern, light and uplifting, while the other is old-fashioned, dark and depressing.

There is no reason for the rugby not to move from Newlands save for tradition. As has been remarked upon in the comments on this post, change is never easy to accept – especially where such a long and proud history exists – but there are very few occasions when clubs move to new grounds and stadiums and management and fans look back and are unhappy with their new home.

Newlands is inevitably going to suffer the same fate as those other rugby relics, and it’s time WP administrators accept this. They need to start preparing for the future, and the future of WP rugby – whether they like it or not – is in Green Point.

The Stadium would also benefit from the move and has already demonstrated that it can comfortably handle a big rugby occasion.
Having the Stormers and Western Province as an anchor tenant would be a huge bonus. The Stormers could fill the stadium for many of their Super14 fixtures and it would inevitably attract other large rugby events such as international matches.
Meanwhile, the Newlands Stadium site would be of huge commercial value as real estate.

All it takes is the courage to make the move.

14 thoughts on “Last rites

  1. I’m the biggest Newlands fan. It’s been the home of rugby for me for the last 33 years. I however concede that the new stadium is magnificent. It’s gonna happen, I’ll shed a few tears but will happily support the new stadium.

  2. RG > Interestingly, the comments on the keo piece were quite divided, but I did notice a couple of things.
    Those that had attended the game on Saturday were far more positive about moving. And those who wanted to stay at Newlands could only give tradition and hoping that the new stadium failed (yes, really!) as their reasons for wanting WP to stay.

    This is a time to think with heads, not hearts.

  3. You mentioned the Emirates Stadium in a previous post.

    It has without doubt increased matchday revenue for Arsenal. And I can get a ticket now, which I couldn’t before in the old Highbury days.

    I imagine that it can be made to work that way with the Cape Town Stadium. More revenue to the home side and more tickets for those who couldn’t previously go.

    As you say, it just needs the courage to do it.

  4. Its a bit like the old and new Wembley debate of a few years ago. The new one makes attending sporting and other events a pleasure – I just never feel crowded out there. We just gotta move on.

  5. GaiB > The capacity will only be slightly higher, but the experience will be a whole lot more enjoyable.
    Apparently, there were some traffic issue before the game.

    Not the organisers fault that lights at one of the major intersections went down and also worth noting that it get pretty busy arounf Newlands on match days. Strange that.

    Stan > It is lovely. And I don’t think they have much choice anymore.

    PnG > Nostalgia will always hold people back. If we ever move from Beautiful DownTown Bramall Lane, I will be heartbroken. But I’ve got some great memories.

  6. There are no comparisons in terms of access. Designated parking areas beats trying to find a spot 1km away outside somebody’s house and getting a fine.

    Theres also the bus shuttle…with free parking…and a free bus ride…and the majority of commuters described the shuttle as seamless.

    The 11,000 bay parking garage at Allianz Arena was not repeated in CT, simply because in any city, it takes 3 hours to leave this parking garage, as they soon found out in Munich.

  7. Not sure of the facts but one consideration will be the # of hospitality boxes. I believe Newlands has more and this is where WPRFU makes most of its cash. Other than that I think the move has to happen. Newlands is awesome but Green Point is the way of the future. In the end – money will talk, not niceties like parking and beer queues.

  8. ctguy > For the World Cup, there’s no need for parking anyway. I understand that the Park & Ride worked well on the weekend. I think I wrote (somewhere) that it took me 29 mins from Stadium concourse to my driveway about 16km away.

    Delboy > The difference in modern, purpose-built stadiums is obvious. It works. It’s just better.

    TA > Indeed, you are not sure. The temporary seating will come down post wc2010 and more boxes will be put in to Cape Town Stadium.
    You’re right – that’s where the money is, but you are naive if you don’t think they have taken that into consideration when planning the new stadium.

  9. There will be no parking for the WC at the stadium apart from those for FIFA, sponsors, affiliates, tour operators etc.

    Spectators will not be allowed to drive anywhere near the stadium. Its nice allowing parking near the stadium but whats the point if its to test WC conditions which will not allow spectator parking…?

    Anywhere, any stadium, thousands of cars leaving a venue simultaneously, with or without security checks is a nightmare. The transport chaos and lack of solutions to resolve transport around Newlands was a key reason for it being dropped as a venue.

  10. ctguy > Shame (as I have said time and time again) that nostalgia gets in the way of logic.

    Emil > And then you can sell Newlands, right? 😉

  11. I am probably missing the point here a little, but if you put 60 000 – 70 000 people together in one place, for one event that finishes dead on, at a particular time, you will find issues around transport. It happens when I go to Wembley and Twickenham. Wembley works well with many different stations and transport options. Twickenham more difficult – but – at least at Twickenham they keep the bars open for a good while after each game which means that we have a few quiet drinks with the opposition supporters. Even 2hrs after a rugby match at Twickenham, you still queue outside the station (and there are portaloos for the likes of me who have been taking in a few pints since well BEFORE the game).

    Anyway, my point is this: Make a day out of it, enjoy the whole thing, forget about your car, use the public transport where safe and EXPECT it all to take some time. Dont go if you you dont like the fact that it will take much longer than kick off to final whistle.

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