It has so far been a season to forget for Adelaide United and coach Guillermo Amor. Locked at the bottom end of the table, with wins proving very difficult to come by. Granted their squad was raided heavily in the off-season and injuries to key personnel have not helped their cause. They were written off last year and look what happened, although a repeat of that scenario seems unlikely this season.
On a brighter note, there has been renewed interest and discussion around a new home for soccer in South Australia. Several people including former coach and now media man John Kosmina and Adelaide United Chairman Greg Griffin have put their support behind a new purpose-built stadium to be built in the City. This can only be a wonderful thing.
A location right next to the Adelaide Oval in the Riverbank area would be an ideal location, but apparently that is required for athletics purposes if there was to ever be a Commonwealth Games bid so it might have to go elsewhere. Regardless, it must be in the heart of town, easily accessible via public transport and within walking distance to the CBD.
Coopers Stadium at Hindmarsh is outdated, it is run down and it is no good when it rains or for that matter when it is hot. The wind rips through those end tiers at a very uncomfortable and rapid rate. The facilities are in need of a major upgrade and any future Grand Final game involving the Reds will be played at the Adelaide Oval as long as Hindmarsh is in existence. Adelaide Oval is a great sporting venue, but not for soccer. You are simply too far away from the action and that curtails the atmosphere somewhat.
Parramatta last week revealed plans for their new stadium to host the Western Sydney Wanderers (pictured). Something similar to this design would be an ideal fit for the City and soccer in South Australia. It would bring fans closer to the play, provide modern facilities and simply a far better match day experience. During winter, there is no reason why the stadium could not hold concerts or attract rugby league and union games.
ANZ Stadium have signed a deal to have the Socceroos playing out of the redevloped ANZ for the next few years. Surely a similar deal could be reached with a decent stadium in Adelaide too. The national team is going from strength to strength and a world-class stadium with world class training facilities can only be a good thing for World Cup qualification. The surface would always be at an immaculate standard and games would not have to be held around other major sporting events where surface issues play a role.
South Australians have shown that they will attend sport in their droves and it is hard to see this being any different. A new stadium not only creates a permanent infrastructure, it creates jobs before, during and after construction. And boy does South Australia need jobs. It fits in nicely with any potential Commonwealth Games bid and would create more foot traffic in the City during the summer months, which will have various positive flow on impacts.
While it is unlikely to happen in the immediate future, talk of a second team from South Australia in the A-League will not go away. If the A-League is going to be a successful product in twenty years time, there will be two teams from this State. Any future team would benefit greatly from a state of the art home base with their own dedicated change rooms and facilities.
Adelaide Oval is one of the best, if not the best venue in Australia, but the new Perth Stadium, a redeveloped ANZ Stadium, as well as the new Parramatta ground all have the potential to draw crowds in over the next few years and South Australia must keep up.
There is simply no reason not to forge ahead with this idea. We have to think big and the sooner, the better for the world of soccer, Adelaide United and South Australia. If the Adelaide Oval taught us one thing, it is that if you build it, they will come.