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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know it is a little early, with work commencing in December this year, but until then I thought it would be nice to have some thoughts on the new ground and what the fans think.

The Memorial Ground, home to Bristol Rovers and Bristol Rugby club will be demolished this winter to make way for a new 18,500 two-tiered structure. There are plenty of renders flying around on the web so someone needs to post them for me since I'm an incapable fool.....
 

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I'm gutted.

This is a lovely little atmospheric ground with standing and seating areas (what the fans want FFS govt listen for once!) and it's going to make way for a soulless new ground made of lego like all the others. I'm annoyed because this is totally unnessecary. Rovers half fill their current ground and while Bristol RFC are doing well, it is rare for them to sell out. Those who know the ground will know that an extention to the main stand (which is tall, but only covers the middle third of the pitch) would have added about 2500 seats, bringing the ground up to near 15,000 capacity. Plenty large enough for both sides.

Another grand old stadium, another piece of history, another bastion of working class culture bites the dust, all for new shiny, expensive seats and more corporate areas (of which there already plenty in the Memorial Ground) Gutted I am!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah I know what u mean. I am also sad to see these types of grounds dissappear, and think terracing is great. Maybe when people see some sense in the future we will be allowed to use it again throughout the leagues. I noticed the other day that Plymouth had their remaining terracing force-closed on them by the Government.

I think Rovers haven't been there quite long enough to have an historical bond with the place so there was never going to be quite the fuss made that you see at other grounds. And I think an extension to the main stand was a no-goer from the start as it would never fit with any other developments planned further ahead.

Having said all that, I must say that the plans look a little better than some identikits. For a league two -sorry league one(!)- club it will be quite a smart and compact little venue.
 

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I agree, the designs aren't as bland as some, and it scores points for being on the same location, on the edge of town, but not out of town etc.

I'm just really disapointed they aren't having terracing. This is a complaint of the govt, because you can receive no grant funding if the ground contains terraces. it's an absolute joke.
 

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Yes the new stadium does look slightly dull, but I rather this then the designs of St Mary's, Riverside, Pride Park. It is a shame though that it won't be getting terracing they will lose so much atmosphere, is this for sure? I am glad that Rovers are looking towards the future with this project though. Hopefully they can establish themselves in League One for the next few seasons and then push for promotion to the Championship. If this happens then they could get the support to fill this much larger ground.

Here are pictures comparing the current and new grounds and those from the past:

Eastville Stadium 1897-1986:
http://www.bristolrovers.premiumtv.co.uk/javaImages/a1/19/0,,10328~2824609,00.jpg

Aftermath of fire to Eastville Stadium
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/14/EastvilleFire.jpg

Twerton Park 1986-1996:
http://p.vtourist.com/1/1165926-Bath_City_FC-Bath.jpg

Current Memorial Stadium 1996-2007




Future Memorial Stadium 2008-
http://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/200906-Bristol-Stadium.jpg

http://www.bbc.co.uk:80/bristol/content/images/2005/10/20/gal5_470x350.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The redevelopment of the memorial ground has been delayed by six months, which means rovers will stay for the entirety of the season instead of moving to whaddon road(cheltenham Town)in December. Looks like this thread will be on ice for another year....
 

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why the delay?

what's the hold up with the redevelopment?

new ground looks alright in my opinion. A sort of cross-between Goodison and Ewood Parks. Extra bonus points gained for staying on the same site as well.
 

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The rumour is that there's something wrong with the initial planning approval - it's being investigate by some government dept.

Rovers say the money is there, but there's an issue with a clause the council attached to the approval.
 

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Rovers half fill their current ground and while Bristol RFC are doing well, it is rare for them to sell out.
What's the capacity at the Memorial Stadium? Bristol had some pretty good crowds last season:

11,200 v Wasps (Guinness Premiership)
11,916 v Gloucester (Guinness Premiership)
11,601 v Newcastle (Guinness Premiership)
10,753 v Sale (Guinness Premiership)
10,136 v Quins (Guinness Premiership)
10,103 v Bath (EDF Cup)
 

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I'd be concerned about external circulation if the stadium is developed, it looks dangerous - too many potential choke points.

Be a shame to loose a stadium with character for another blocky thing.
 

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I've just gone to look at this on Google Earth - am I being cruel to say it looks a bit of a long way away from anything? Obviously theres a lot of suburbs around it but with virtually no parking you'd hope it'd bear near some transport infrastructure. Whats that high street juts next to it like?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well it is on the main thoroughfare into Bristol(gloucester road), which is fronted all the way down to the centre(about 2 miles) with shops, pubs cafes bars clubs etc.. so it is not too remote. But it has to be said there isn't an awful lot a room up there.
 

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What's the capacity at the Memorial Stadium? Bristol had some pretty good crowds last season:

11,200 v Wasps (Guinness Premiership)
11,916 v Gloucester (Guinness Premiership)
11,601 v Newcastle (Guinness Premiership)
10,753 v Sale (Guinness Premiership)
10,136 v Quins (Guinness Premiership)
10,103 v Bath (EDF Cup)
Bristol RFC had a few 20,000 crowds last season. But they played those matches at Ashton Gate.

I *think* (but don't quote me on this) that current capacity at the Mem is around 13,000 and the rebuild will take it up to 20,000.
 

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Bristol RFC had one 20,000+ game last year, which was against Bath at home. They did have two other games at Ashton gate, against Leicester and Gloucester (the Gloucester game was a home game for Gloucester officially) But both these games crowds were well short of 20,000.

Bristol RFC are a big team though, and they filled the Memorial most games last year, in what was an excellent season. I'm looking forward to their Heineken cup game against Cardiff Blues at the Millennium in November.
 

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^
The Bristol v Bath match at Ashton Gate in 2006/07 attracted a Guinness Premiership regular match (outside the London Double Header) record attendance of 21,203, until this was broken by London Irish v Wasps with 22,648 at the Madejski the same season.

Back on subject, looks like Rover's new stadium can be built now that Nick Higgs has sold his share of Cowlin construction to Balfour Beatty (he is Vice Chairman of the club). It will be a good addition to Bristol's portfolio of sports stadia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Stadium redevelopment been put on hold for 1 year, because the developer building the student accommodation pulled out at the last minute, citing - yes you've guessed it - the credit crunch as the reason.

I'm not sure what my thoughts are on this. It could mean the stadium won't go ahead at all. I really like everything about the design, which has a traditional feel, but it's just the shortsightedness of it's cramped location that lets it down. If ever they out grow it (god forbid) there's nowhere to expand. They'll have to move again. But, if they do move to the typical retail park bowl which is becoming the norm these days, then would that really be a better option?

http://www.bristolrovers.premiumtv.co.uk/page/LatestNews/0,,10328~1322831,00.html
 

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Stadium redevelopment been put on hold for 1 year, because the developer building the student accommodation pulled out at the last minute, citing - yes you've guessed it - the credit crunch as the reason.

I'm not sure what my thoughts are on this. It could mean the stadium won't go ahead at all. I really like everything about the design, which has a traditional feel, but it's just the shortsightedness of it's cramped location that lets it down. If ever they out grow it (god forbid) there's nowhere to expand. They'll have to move again. But, if they do move to the typical retail park bowl which is becoming the norm these days, then would that really be a better option?

http://www.bristolrovers.premiumtv.co.uk/page/LatestNews/0,,10328~1322831,00.html
I have mixed thoughts. I like the Memorial Ground-it's a classic, atmospheric ground that combines the old with the new quite well. The ground is probably the perfect size for both clubs at the moment, so it's a shame that they will be ripping it up and starting again. However, I do understand why they are doing this, and the Rugby Club especially will benefit, as nearly every rugby ground in the UK & Ireland is being renovated or rebuilt at the moment.

I had been predicting a tough couple of years for Rovers and Bristol RFC, with both of them playing away from Bristol for two years, but now it seems this won't happen. However, I think the uncertainty of it all will cause them a few problems, and if one or both of them has a bad season in 2009/10, what will happen then? I think there is a real chance the rugby club could be relegated this year..will this further cause problems for the scheme?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I don't think the possibility of the rugby club being relegated will be a major factor in the outcome of the stadium. Rovers are the owners of the Mem, and so they will push for a new ground regardless.
 
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