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Time to play England's 2018 trump card

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Matt Slater | 01:47 UK time, Thursday, 26 November 2009

It used to be said that what was good for General Motors would be good for America. This was not a statement of corporate arrogance but more of an observation that the world's largest company and the world's largest economy had mutual interests.

Until recently I thought a similar goose/gander connection existed between the Premier League and England's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup. A symbiotic win-win if ever there was one.

O to live in such simple times! These days, GM is more likely to bankrupt America than sustain it and the Premier League's commitment to the Football Association-led World Cup campaign is looking increasingly half-hearted.

That is a crying shame because England has everything it takes to stage a superb tournament, as will be demonstrated when the 15 cities hoping to host World Cup football in 2018 come to Wembley on Thursday to deliver their applications.

I had hoped to write only about that this week but to not mention Tuesday's shenanigans at bid HQ would be to ignore that big grey thing, with clumpy feet and a ridiculous schnozzle, lurking in the corner of the room.

I refuse to spend too long on the squabbles of English football's numerous chiefs, though, and not just because I wrote about them last week. The main reason is that they are depressingly trivial: x doesn't like y, y doesn't like z, nobody likes z, but nobody can really remember why.

In case you have no idea what I am on about, Sir Dave Richards, the chairman of the Premier League (among other titles), has chosen this week, the week the 2018 bid team hoped to talk about how many excellent potential venues this country has and the enormous passion for football we share, to resign from the bid's main board.

This week as opposed to two weeks ago, when that board was restructured to streamline the decision-making process, bring in the key powerbrokers and show a united front to the rest of the world, particularly the 24 members of Fifa's executive committee who will vote on which country gets the World Cup next December.

Richards must have missed that memo. Why else would such a loyal servant of English football destabilise an already wobbly situation a fortnight away from the bid's "first interview", the draw for the 2010 World Cup in Cape Town?

Let's hope the bid team insider I spoke to earlier this week is right when he asked me if I had met Richards. "No? Well, him leaving actually makes our job a lot easier," he said.

He's probably right. But then Karren Brady, one of board members who did step down at the correct time, is also probably right when she admitted the bid was beginning to look like a "shambles".

Ho hum, perhaps we did not like being frontrunners. Coming hard on the rails worked for London 2012, after all. Might be an idea to stop yanking on the reins now, though, hey?

So with that in mind, let's turn our attention to the pitches and places we hope will persuade Fifa's sphinx-like electorate to bring football back home.

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Watch my report on the towns and cities bidding to be part of England's 2018 World Cup plan


As previously mentioned, 14 cities and Milton Keynes are throwing their hats into the ring, and those 15 places represent 22 different venues, although Liverpool's inclusion of Anfield alongside its replacement and Everton's Kirkby conundrum is really just to add something concrete to an otherwise computer-generated proposition.

Not that there's anything wrong with pictures. Munich's Allianz Arena was still an architect's dream when Germany won the right to stage the 2006 World Cup. It did not even open until the summer of 2005. A year later it would be hosting a World Cup semi-final.

Much the same can be said of South Africa's 10 locations, the majority of the 20 venues used during the 2002 World Cup and most of Italia 90's too.

Not having your World Cup venues built now can almost be an advantage (well, that's what Bristol, Liverpool, Nottingham and Plymouth are banking on). The drawings always look better than the finished article and you can trade on Fifa's desire to "leave something behind". It's not just the Olympic movement that bangs on about "legacy" nowadays.

There is, of course, a flipside to legacy, and it brings us back to that over-sized grey thing I failed to ignore earlier, but this time in white. Being able to say you have "left behind" a selection of state-of-the-art stadia and broken new territory for top-flight football is one thing, being accused of saddling mediocre clubs with grounds they cannot afford is another.

This was certainly my first thought when I considered the chances of Bristol, Milton Keynes and Plymouth, none of which struck me as hotbeds with pent-up demand for 45,000-seat sporting cathedrals. But then I spoke to them.

Bristol's bid is based on City's move to a new ground at Ashton Vale. A former council tip, it is now home to a herd of cows but should, in three years' time, be a football stadium with a capacity of 30,000 that can be taken to 44,000 in two 7,000-seat stages, should Premier League football arrive or otherwise.

There is similar ambition at Plymouth Argyle. The club's new owners are confident the team can progress to the Promised Land at last but Home Park's transformation into the "Wembley of the South West" will be financed by more than just football.

The region's natural beauty also features highly in the Plymouth plan. They are even promising to land 747s direct from Japan on the airstrips at Exeter and Newquay, if that is what it takes. I'm not sure about that but I think both Bristol and Plymouth have an excellent chance of making the cut when the final decision is announced on 16 December.

I would like to say the same about MK but I fear its quirky charms will be squeezed by Birmingham and London, particularly as the latter is putting forward four venues: the Emirates, Tottenham's new ground, Wembley and, slightly controversially, the 2012 stadium, running track and all.

I think four is greedy, no matter what London's bid leaders tell me about the city being of unique significance to a World Cup bid - the Emirates and Wembley, with the former getting a semi-final, seem nailed on, though.

Tougher choices exist elsewhere, particularly in the East Midlands, where some fear it might not be one from three but none. This seems unlikely but I have no idea if England's bid leaders will back the solid but unglamorous locations offered by Derby and Leicester or go with Nottingham's artist's impression of Forest's new home. It does look lovely but I would worry about its ever-changing location.

Proposed new stadium for Nottingham ForestArtist's impression of the new stadium being planned by Nottingham Forest

Another battleground is Yorkshire. You would normally assume Leeds is a dead cert but then you remember the last time you went to Elland Road, try to work out who will actually pay for its upgrade (to achieve Fifa's 40,000-seat minimum you actually need about 44,000 seats because you lose that many to hospitality and the media) and wonder if you are not better off at Bramall Lane, with its history, new hotel and planning permission. Hull has a chance, too. Perhaps it will be two from three.

There were concerns in the North East that Newcastle-Gateshead and Sunderland were chasing just one place. I think both of these famous football centres, with their large, iconic grounds, will be fine.

So will Liverpool, despite current headaches, and Manchester, possibly for both Old Trafford - a certain semi-final venue - and the City of Manchester Stadium. Much has been made of Fifa's "rules" about only one city getting more than one venue in any bid. I do not think those rules are as firm as some believe. There is plenty of flexibility in them and we could end up with 18 venues in 14 cities or 12 in 11.

What is certain, however, is that a successful England bid in 2018 would be a success for the entire country. Take those recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers predictions of a £3.2bn bonanza for the country with a small pinch of salt but there will be significant rewards in terms of inward investment, tourism and global prestige.

Plymouth did its own research and thought the return on investment - £15m is the figure most of the cities will have to shell out - could be as much as £300m. Which is why so many cities have decided wading through forests of Fifa documentation - one bid leader told me he had spent the day finding a company director to initial each page of six 60-page contracts for just one of four practice pitches he must provide - is worth the trouble.

There are risks, of course, and Portsmouth's decision to pull out at the 11th hour demonstrates just how costly this process can be at a time of squeezed budgets (although there were some other factors at play there as well) but the earning capacity of the Premier League means the vast majority of infrastructure spending is taken care of - there will be no £9.3bn budget for this month of sport.

So let's stop bickering and start remembering why the England 2018 bid was the bookies' favourite from day one. It's the best bid, plain and simple.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about at http://twitter.com/bbc_matt

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Love this kind of thing. I think we know the usual supects but one ground I thought had a great atmosphere for every game at Euro '96 was Hillsborough. Yes it's needs some money spent but a great traditional football ground all the same.

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, you could go something like this I guess:

    Group A: North East - Newcastle plus Sunderland
    Group B: North West - Liverpool + CMS
    Group C: Yorkshire - Leeds + Hull
    Group D: South Yorkshire + East Midlands (one from Derby, Leicester)
    Group E: West Midlands - Villa Park plus one more
    Group F: South West - Bristol plus Plymouth
    Group G: London plus East Midlands (Nottingham)
    Group H: London

    Then you bring in the Olympic Stadium plus Old Trafford for the knock-out phases - OT getting 3 games, Olympic Stadium 2.

    Working backwards:
    Final - Wembley.
    SF - Wembley plus OT
    QF - Olympic Stadium, SJP, OT and Emirates
    R16 - Wembley, Olympic Stadium, OT, Liverpool, East Midlands, Villa Park, Bristol, new WHL

    No solution is perfect, but that might be inclusive and stop bickering. England's QF could be at Old Trafford, just to mix things up a bit.

    Is that possible, given the interminable bickering that has apparently already gone on??!!

  • Comment number 3.

    For Yorkshire you've failed to mention that Hillsborough has also submitted an application so there are 4 Yorkshire stadiums not 3

  • Comment number 4.

    Matt - why won't the video work? I'm sat in London, in the UK, and I can't see why the video isn't available or why it should be country-rights protected?

    No one else at the BBC seems to respond to comments when I complain, so maybe you could look into it, seeing as this is part of your blog. Appreciated in advance.

  • Comment number 5.

    When mentioning the South West grounds, why not Cardiff? I know its not in England but they play in an English league! And its a nice stadium, easy to get too, and also has the ability to build straight on top of the stands for expansion!

    Also I don't think Wembley should be used until the final, it takes the gloss off of it if it is used in the Semi's or Quarter's.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nottingham's bid is looking quite shaky at best. Personally, I'd love to see us host some games at the World Cup, but many fans of our club believe it to be a waste of time.

    While I love the City Ground with all my heart - nothing is better than walking over Trent Bridge in the dark and seeing the lights of the wonderful Trent End reflecting off the river - I think a move could benefit the club in the long run.

    I would, however need to see concrete plans for the site and design as well as what it would contribute to the local economy - jobs etc...

    West Bridgford, where the ground is currently located has numerous businesses which rely on football crowds at the weekend for a large slice of their income and so what would be the impact on them if we were to move.

    Many people believe the move would be a waste of time because it would 'just be to host a couple of meaningless games between Angola and New Zealand', which I guess is true to an extent. I think we hosted Portugal, Croatia, Turkey and Bulgaria at Euro 96. I could be wrong, but that was a fairly 'weak' group back then.

    The cities I anticipate to be chosen as hosts are:

    London
    Manchester
    Birmingham
    Liverpool
    Sheffield
    Leeds
    Manchester
    Bristol
    Newcastle
    Sunderland
    and then one from Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. I think Leicester seems most likely in the Midlands now unfortunately.

    As for the stadia, I'd go with Wembley, Emirates, Old Trafford, City of Manchester, St James Park, Anfield, Stadium of Light, Elland Road, Hillsborough, Villa Park and Ashton Vale.

    That would give us 11 stadia and one from the East Midlands.

  • Comment number 7.

    #5

    This is the World Cup, Wembley would be the show piece of the opening ceremony, all of Englands group games and depending where we finished in our group, probably our defeat in the quarters.

  • Comment number 8.

    Jordan D

    are you watching at work... if so it may be that your work isp goes via another country connection. My office internet all goes via the US (silly as it sounds) so i cannot access video.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    As for the bid,

    It seems a lot of the bad press about the team leading it has been generated by Jack Warner.... the president of the concacaf. To me it seems ludicrous that one man should control 40 votes! This is someone who has been highly critical of the English FA for a long time and seems to have his own agenda.... and yet when this clown turns up in England he is greeted by the FA like a member of the Royal family.... giving his wife gifts that are thrown back at us.... the guy is 2nd rate at the very very least!

  • Comment number 9.

    @Nate_89 - I'll tell you why nobody's mentioning Cardiff.... because they did not submit a bid and are therefore an irrelevance to this story!

    Supporting Plymouth's bid for 2018

  • Comment number 10.

    Only ONE city can have TWO venues.

    So if London has Wembley and Emirates - that's it.

    No other city can have TWO venues. And London cant have THREE.

  • Comment number 11.

    The news that the goverment has refused Evertons plans to build a stadium makes a mockery of any bid for the 2018 world cup. No doubt FIFA will see the implications of this and other decisions.

    World Cup? Forget it!

  • Comment number 12.

    I think its unfortunate that the plans for upgrades for Pride Park and the Walkers havent been unveiled yet, they seem to be losing the chance to host the World Cup every day that passes, because everyone is making their mind up with the current plans of all the other stadiums such as Bristol, everyone has seen the plans and have backed them. It will be a shame if the East Midlands doesnt get the chance to host WC games, all 3 teams have proved this is a footballing mad region, with high attendances and great locations.

  • Comment number 13.

    When does the final decision take place which confirms the venues??

  • Comment number 14.

    "So let's stop bickering and start remembering why the England 2018 bid was the bookies' favourite from day one. It's the best bid, plain and simple."

    Which bookies? The English ones?

  • Comment number 15.

    Sorry just seen that it is 16th December.

  • Comment number 16.

    England's disgraceful and embarrassing courtship of Jack Warner should be enough to lose the bid irrespective of how many stadia England has.

  • Comment number 17.

    As others have mentioned the first thing I noticed was Hillsborough missing from the list, at least get all the facts down before writing a blog!
    Granted the current stadium is on its last legs in places and not the same standard as it was in Euro 96, but there are plans for a major re-development ahead in time for the 2018 World Cup, so from Sheffield its BOTH teams who have submitted bids.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/football_league/article6839126.ece

  • Comment number 18.

    Many have commented that you left out Hillsborough even though it is part of Sheffield's bid, in reality there is no firm plan to develop it. Even many Wednesday fans are sceptical given that they varely even fill half of it at the moment. If you've been there in recent years it is not the stadium it once was and needs improvement. Bramall Lane on the other hand is already extending its Kop this summer making it larger than Anfield's famous stand, as well as a future plan (probably the year after) to extend the south stand (the one with the camera on it) to two tiers. It is a more modern and attractive ground than Hillsborough and when full can provide a great atmosphere with its enclosed style.

  • Comment number 19.

    I turn 40 in November 2017, and for my 40th I'd like to plan some tickets to some of the games, I'm just so excited at the prospect of trips to Hull, Sunderland perhaps, some have even mentioned Plymouth. It'll such an exciting time and I'll have absolutely no regrets the WC that year isn't somewhere like Brazil or Australia where I would have had to make do with trips to Melbourne or dare I say it Rio.....

  • Comment number 20.

    I am from Derby and believe we have the best bid for the East midlands. Notts dont even have a ground ready and Leicester have never staged a big football game. Derby have staged in the last few yrs u21 Internationals and one International England v mexico.
    I am sorry but have to disagree with the blogger Matt saying "unglamorous locations offered by Derby & Leicester/notts" Has he ever been to the city of Derby????It is a footballing city and the people there LOVE there football. It is the city most centrally located in England has a fantastic infrastruture with airport major rail & roads(including the M1)running past it It is a beautifull city with a lovely river running thru the centre of the city and a fantastic cathedral and wonderful parks - Pride Park stadium is ready to stage WC games and with the capacity being brought up to 45,000 and a 5* Hotel being built beside Pride park stadium I think it is time the people in the know take Derby's bid seriously. I invite everyone loking and reading this to come to Derby and see for yourself what a beautifull City it is.

  • Comment number 21.

    #18 (Bramall Lane) can provide a great atmosphere with its enclosed style.


    You mean it's small?

  • Comment number 22.

    18- Obvious comments from a Blade, why are Hillsboroughs future plans sceptical and Bramall Lanes are supposedly going ahead, agreed its not definate Hillsborough's will go ahead, but its the same with most stadium plans, either money or the council could stop them, Everton have just had their bid turned down I noticed on todays news for instance so it could happen to any club, Wednesday AND United inclusive.

  • Comment number 23.

    Morning all, nice to see a few early comments. Here are some replies (in reverse order, as it saves a bit of scrolling):

    The Midland 20 (10) - You're right that giving only one city two venues has been the historical norm for Fifa - Jo'burg next year, Paris in '98 and so on - but three cities got two venues at Mexico '86 and Barcelona and Madrid got two each in '82, so there are relatively recent exceptions to this rule. Wouldn't surprise me at all if London and Manchester get two each. Can't see it happening for Liverpool and Sheffield too, though.

    DLI1984 (8) - Yep, Jack Warner's interventions haven't helped at all. But there are a few things to point out here. He is the consummate sports politician, he never does anything that isn't designed to bring him an advantage at some point. He's rattling our cage now but it would be a mistake to think his mind is made up on where the three votes he "controls" (that's three out of 24) will be going. Not bad for a bloke who used to teach history....although I notice his current occupation is listed as property developer. Hmmmm.

    ForestForever (6) - Interesting stuff and backs up what I've been hearing from BBC colleagues in Nottingham. I understand the relationship between the club and the respective city and county councils has broken down badly. Shame as Nottingham the city probably has more appeal as a location than Derby and Leicester (asking for trouble there, I know). I wouldn't give up all hope, though. The club appears to be on the mend and 2018 is still a long way off. Much can change.

    Nate_89 (5) - I think somebody has already made the Cardiff being in Wales point, which I'm sure you knew. The key thing here is that England and Wales are separate footballing nations and the 2018 bid is just from England. Fifa has said it doesn't want any more joint bids (like Korea/Japan's in '02) which is a big black mark against the bids of Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Holland. The upshot of all this is that England 2018 has categorically ruled out using any non-English venues. As for Wembley, I agree about it not being a semi-final venue but it will be used for group games and probably a quarter-final too. It cost too much to use only once in a World Cup!

    Jordan D (4) - I'm not sure, although DLI1984's suggestion has a ring of truth to it. The issue of in which regions we can show which bits of archive is massively complicated/annoying for us. Do you work for a US company?

    nhowl (3) - Yes, I did omit Hillsborough's inclusion in the Sheffield application but mainly because I was struggling with the word count. That said, more than one bid leader I spoke to said Sheffield had little chance of getting two venues and Bramall Lane was looking by some margin the more likely option. But as I've said before, much can change in 8.5 years. Sheffield Wednesday could be playing Premier League football in front of 45,000 fans in five years' time.

    rjaggar (2) - Nice try, certainly as good as any I have come up with. Is that 16 or 17 venues you're using? Might happen. Could be a couple less. I'm also not sure they'll hold stadia back for the knock-out stages. There are only 63 games to go around and given the hoops Fifa make each bidding city jump through I would have thought you'd want a minimum of four games, with the larger grounds getting five or six.

    Andrew (1) - Yes, I have fond memories of Hillsborough too. Didn't get to a Euro '96 game in Sheffield (saw one at Elland Rd and one at Anfield) but have seen Southend play a fifth round FA Cup tie there and a couple of top-flight games when I was starting out as a journalist. Good ground. But it does need a bit of an upgrade, doesn't it? I know plans have been approved to take it to 45,000 (which would comfortably give it 40,000 in World Cup mode) so there is hope for World Cup football, I suppose. I just can't see them giving Sheffield two venues.

    Anyway, thanks for reading. I'll pop in again later.




  • Comment number 24.

    Blimey, in the time it took me to write my reply I see the Sheffield Wednesday Internet Reaction Squad has been out in force. Sorry for not mentioning the name of your ground in my already very long piece written late last night on my time but it wasn't intended as a slight. Please see my reply above for a longer response but can we just calm down with the "get your facts straight" stuff? It all gets a bit tiring. I didn't mention Villa Park either and barely said a thing about the new Spurs ground. Sorry in advance!

  • Comment number 25.

    #20 Sean

    Your obvious lack of knowledge is apparent straight away. You say that Leicester has never hosted a big game.
    We have hosted 3 full internationals - England v Serbia & Montenegro, Brazil v Jamaica & Jamiaca v Ghana as well as England U21 v Serbia U21. This little list already outdoes your Derby one.

    On the whole why all the negativity towards the East Midlands? Is this country so biased that everything has to revolve around London/Manchester/Birmingham?

  • Comment number 26.

    Just to correct Sean from Derby on a little error in his post:

    Leicester HAS hosted big international Football matches, with teams including England, Brazil, Serbia and Montenegro, and Jamaica. Ok so they're hardly major competition games but we've had by far the better senior teams at the Walkers.

    I also find it offensive that Matt believes Nottingham has the stronger case for WC Football because it's a better City than Leicester or Derby. If we could do without the BBC bias here, the more educated person would realise that Matt's opinion simply isn't true. Leicester is going through well over £3billion worth of regeneration, literally transforming the City. I find it disturbing that people are looking at just the location rather than the City and the hosting facilities and benefits offered. Leicester and Derby are offering stronger bids, and don't have local politics holding them back as Nottingham does.

    I would be chuffed if Leicester got the nod, our bid is really impressive (look it up before you knock it!), and the stadium already has all the relevant planning permission and funds to have it extended and given a face-lift for the WC.

    Best of luck to all Cities though, I just hope England gets a chance.

  • Comment number 27.

    #20 It's Derby mate, home to Rolls Royce engines that's about it.

    For a beautiful city look no further than Sheffield. Greenest city in Europe, only city within a national park.

    Derby's alright, but then Sheffields better, no need to find out which is better with a fight, sheffield wins.

  • Comment number 28.

    Further to my previous post I neglected to mention we have also hosted numerous European Rugby Union Quarter/Semi Finals.

  • Comment number 29.

    I love these ambitious stadium designs and plans. Anybody who actually believes that artists impression of nottingham forests new ground is smoking some pretty good stuff. It looks like its got a bigger capacity than the Maracana!

  • Comment number 30.

    I live in Bristol and Plymouth is a pain to reach even from here. Shipping that many people those kind of distances is a terrible idea. Links to all northern and midlands venues is fine, but Plymouth?

    Also Bristol doesn't have the infrastructure to support an influx of that size. The roads are too thin, so even on a Rovers matchday, the city grinds to a halt. This is not something that can be fixed.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think it's also important to point out that Leicester are hosting Rugby World Cup matches in 2015 - surely this shows the City is ready and waiting to host the biggest competitions in world sport?

    Unfortunately for Nottingham, that stadium will never get built. There is too much upset amongst Forest fans and rightly so. The plans for the new stadium are ridiculous.

  • Comment number 32.

    Agree with #25 there seems too many bids coming from certain cities, it would be better spread out across the UK, but it might all be in vain as we'll probably not get picked anyway. We got the Olympics but the footballs a different issue altogether, we have the stadiums to launch a bid but I think other countries still remember the English fans for their previous behaviour so fingers crossed.

  • Comment number 33.

    Leicester is surely the strongest out of the three on offer in the East Midlands.

    Why?

    Nottingham is in a mess over whether they're actually going to build a new stadium - no one is talking to each other and it's an absolute shambles.

    Derby's bid doesn't even have the co-operation of the football club. There's been no permission to use Pride Park as yet!

    Leicester's bid has been given a unanimous thumbs up by the local councils and the stadium has the permission to be built to 45,000 when it's needed. Leicester is ready. Leicester is behind the bid whereas Nottingham and Derby are floundering.

  • Comment number 34.

    d4mo85

    I've lived in Nottingham and visited Leicster on serveal occasions and can assure you that they're both equally unpleasant places. Nottingham just has a completely fictitious association with some dead guy in green tights.

  • Comment number 35.

    Post 27, Sheffield shouldn't be up against Derby, you have Hull and Leeds to battle it out against, whereas we have Nottingham and Leicester - and maybe Birmingham.

    Derby and Leicester are going through changes as a whole and should help them with their bids, especially seeing as they will only upgrade their current stadiums.

    Nottinghams bid is going through allsorts of problems at the minute with the council and locations etc

  • Comment number 36.

    20. At 11:02am on 26 Nov 2009, Sean wrote:

    has a fantastic infrastruture with airport major rail & roads(including the M1)running past it It is a beautifull city with a lovely river running thru the centre


    I presume you mean Nottingham East Midlands Airport & the River Trent synonymous with Nottingham Forests TRENT End!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Thanks for the reply, Matt. I completely agree with you on what you said. Nottingham IS the most appealing city in the Midlands.

    Derby is a football city and I won't deny that but Leicester, in my opinion, is not a city that can host a World Cup. That's not spite from a Forest fan, but reality from someone who lived in the vicinity for over five years.

    Derby city centre has had a massive amount of regeneration recently, but I think as a place, Nottingham is still a much nicer city and has more appeal for the purpose.

    I don't think Nottingham will be a chosen city because of the fighting between club and councils as you noted and I think that will be a shame for both our city and our country ahead of such a big tournament.

  • Comment number 38.

    Leeds aint an issue, can't see them getting it, Hull is probable, so its either us, the Blades or Hull.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    Matt/DJL1984 - yes, am at work, but work for a UK firm, so not sure what's happened. Nonetheless there surely must be some way of ensuring that UK people get to watch it? After all, we pay our licence fee ... it is extremely frustrating.

    I think it should be acceptable for London to have three stadiums, if (and only if) the first & last game is limited to Wembley, with no group/knock out games there - they could happen at the other two venues. That way, the Wembley matches are kept "special" (although as we all know the FA have lost the concept on that a long time ago).

  • Comment number 41.

    Haha, LABSAB9 :)

    "I presume you mean Nottingham East Midlands Airport & the River Trent synonymous with Nottingham Forests TRENT End!!!"

    You mean EAST MIDLANDS AIRPORT that is in Leicestershire and is closer to Derby than it is to Nottingham? It's true they named it Nottingham East Mids for a time, but after realising tourists still had no idea where Nottingham was in relation to the major Cities, reverted the name back? That was a pathetic waste of time and money, much like Nottingham's proposal for a new stadium.

    ForestForever: I'm sorry mate but I really do disagree with you. Leicester is by far the strongest, at this current time, to host major competitions. Nottingham is very much in 3rd behind Leicester and Derby for hosting WC matches.

  • Comment number 42.

    I simply cannot believe that the Olympic Stadium is being touted as a London Bid Stadium. For a start it will have a RUNNING track around it, possibly every football fans biggest hatred as far as trying to witness the action is concerned.
    Secondly I read yesterday that it was designed to have it's top tiers removed after the Olympics and down to a 28,000 seater. Certainly not big enough for the minimum FIFA seating requirement.
    I'd be interested to known why Stamford Bridge didn't enter a Bid Matt??
    Was it because they had members on the Bid Board and couldn't enter there own Stadium??
    And NO i'm NOT a Chelsea Fan everyone, I just want the best stadiums, DESIGNED for Football to be hosting World Cup Games.

  • Comment number 43.

    Why not include Ibrox and Park Head.......

  • Comment number 44.

    #37

    How is it more appealing? And what is it about Leicester that is not ready? The infrastructure is here and we ARE experienced in holding big games & events, obviously more changes will be needed before the event (if it ever happens) but out of the three proposed East Midlands sites I would say we're in the strongest position.

  • Comment number 45.

    rjaggar (2) - Nice try, certainly as good as any I have come up with. Is that 16 or 17 venues you're using? Might happen. Could be a couple less. I'm also not sure they'll hold stadia back for the knock-out stages. There are only 63 games to go around and given the hoops Fifa make each bidding city jump through I would have thought you'd want a minimum of four games, with the larger grounds getting five or six.

    Very fair points.

    Presumably all those UEFA 5* grounds like OT, CMS, Wembley, Emirates and presumably the new WHL/Anfield will have jumped all the hoops already? It's the smaller ones where upgrades would be necessary that might find an economic need for more games?


    If you went the crowd maximisation route, I'd guess you'd do:

    Final - Wembley
    SFs - Wembley +OT
    QFs - Wembley, OT, new Anfield, Olympic Stadium
    R16 - Wembley, OT, new Anfield, Emirates, WHL, Olympic Stadium, SJP, Villa Park
    Groups:
    3 games at: Wembley, Emirates, WHL, Olympic Stadium, OT, new Anfield, Villa Park, SJP
    6 games at 4 other grounds - which solely on crowd sizes would probably be Nottingham, Sunderland, CMS and somewhere else.

    That would mean no participation of the SW or Yorkshire.

    Someone else's decision, not mine!

  • Comment number 46.

    LABSAB9, I think your forgetting they have rebranded the airport back to East Midlands Airport - when they realised that Derby is the closest city to it

  • Comment number 47.

    7. At 10:04am on 26 Nov 2009, Andrew wrote:
    #5

    This is the World Cup, Wembley would be the show piece of the opening ceremony, all of Englands group games and depending where we finished in our group, probably our defeat in the quarters.

    Do England aim to play any of their games away from Wembley or will the games be moved about the country as is happening in South Africa this summer

  • Comment number 48.

    D4mo85, I didn't say Nottingham had the strongest bid because I certainly don't think that. I believe we currently have the weakest bid and Leicester the strongest.

    What I did say, though, is that I believe the city of Nottingham to be the most appealing of the three cities as a city. That, I think, is true.

  • Comment number 49.

    Post 45, How can Nottingham be included 'solely on crowd sizes' - they have only come out of the woodwork since the team has been doing well, I think you don't realise that behind Newcastle, Derby have the highest average attendance in the Championship

  • Comment number 50.

    I don't really understand why there's so much emphasis on making sure every single region has some representation with a stadium in the tournament. In principle it would be lovely for Leicester (my home town & team) to host World cup matches (or Derby/Notts who seem to have equal merit) but it also seems like equality for the sake of not wishing to leave anyone out rather than providing the best tournament possible.

    We are lucky to have a relatively diverse Premier League and if you need 10-15 stadiums at 40k+ capacity then picking the existing ones that fit the bill would seem to be widespread enough without more provincial clubs risking debt and half filled stadiums in the future just to expand theirs and grab a place.

    Wembeley (London), Emirates (London), White Hart Lane (the new one, London), Millenium Stadium (Wales), Villa Park (B'ham), Old Trafford (Manc), City of Manchester Stadium (Manc), Anfield (Liv'pool), Stadium of Light (Sun'land), St James's Park (Newcastle) and Hillsbourough (Sheffield) seems plenty of geographical spread.

    The only stadium that would need significant improvement would be Hillsborough, and that improvement would be aesthetic rather than it's capacity. The only area that would be relatively deprived would be The West Country but with respect that is the area of the country with the least representation of clubs in the upper levels of English football. And to be fair, no-one in Cornwall would be more then a couple of hours from Cardiff anyway.

    If the 2018 bid puts all it's emphasis on making everyone happy and trying to avoid a backlash from a couple of region's tourist boards then all we'll end up with is a thinly spread package with some average stadiums in average locations. I include my home town of Leicester in that. Unless our footballing fortunes improve massively we would seriously struggle to fill a 40k+ stadium for 75%+ of our games and the same is true for Derby, Nottingham, Bristol, Plymouth, Portsmouth etc.

    Make the bid as strong as possible, not as diplomatic.

  • Comment number 51.

    #49

    Leicester are 4th and Nottingham 5th in average home attendence, so Nottingham are in fact bottom out of the 3.

  • Comment number 52.

    Matt,

    You said:

    "Fifa has said it doesn't want any more joint bids (like Korea/Japan's in '02) which is a big black mark against the bids of Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Holland."

    I personally think you're overlooking a few nuances there.

    FIFA has said it doesn't want joint bids along the lines of Japan/Korea 2002 where the geographical situation as well as the organisational structure effectively resulted into two separate tournaments.

    Blatter has also said that any nation that is capable of hosting the World Cup on its own, should avoid shared bids (Spain).

    None of this really applies to the Dutch and Belgians. Both countries are too small to host the tournament on their own. Their combined area is significantly smaller than that of Germany or even England (eliminating long travel times for fans) and there are no seas separating the two (like Japan and Korea). Belgium and the Netherlands have also already proven that they are more than capable of organising a tournament so that it is actually a single, successful tournament (Euro2000).

    Add to this UEFA's and FIFA's track record of handing tournaments to the more risky options (Japan/Korea, Poland/Ukraine, South-Africa) and I really don't think the 'no joint bids' remarks affect the Holland/Belgium bid all that much. If at all.

  • Comment number 53.

    43. At 11:49am on 26 Nov 2009, Andrew wrote:
    Why not include Ibrox and Park Head.......

    ---

    Because its an English bid only mate, see earlier post about Welsh teams, otherwise Cardiff would be included too.

  • Comment number 54.

    Apologies to Leicester city fans I did overlook the Brazil and montenegro games so please forgive me. I still think we have a better bid at Derby and to the fellow who says about the river running thru it, well that my freind is the beautifull river Derwent and the airport is no longer called Nottinham East Midlands as it did not attract any more people to the area( so whats that say about the name Nottingham?). Derby city has had a massive injection of redevelopement worth Billions £ and is still ongoing. We have major companies in the city i.e. Rolls Royce, Bombardier,Toyota and so on...time to take a look at Derby's bid.

  • Comment number 55.

    the east midlands bickering is fairly pathetic. it's a shame we can't just get together as three cities and make a bid that uses one stadium, and facilities/events in the other two cities.

    the nottingham bid looks nice and shiny on paper... but most nottingham forest fans do not want a stadium further from the city, and that consideration should override all others.

    the leicster and derby bids are unimpressive purely because the stadia are entirely unremarkable. both cities have something to offer.. though no more than each other, nottingham, or most other medium sized cities.

    a co-operative regional bid would have been something different and, surely, more compelling. three cities... all close together... trying to share the excitement and the benefit between them. so what if the games themselves are hosted in derby.. does that mean people from nottingham and leicester can't go? or that people coming to the tournament can't visit nottingham castle or the space museum? or that there can't be fan parks in nottingham and leicester? (and mansfield, and chesterfield and lincoln and wherever else people want to enjoy football????)

    i speak as a forest fan and i'd love to see a new stadium in nottingham (not gamston) holding world cup games. but this bid is not right for us... it's right for derby or leicester, and i'd be more than happy for one of them to get it, and for nottingham to become a part of their experience, rather than resentful of it.

  • Comment number 56.

    Where is this St James Park/SJP??

    Anyway the Sports Direct stadium in Newcastle should definatly be considered.

    Mk, Bristol and Plymouth should not.

  • Comment number 57.

    Why as a nation are we so obsessed about London when it comes to major sporting events particularly football. It seems completely out of order to propose 4 venues in london, 2 appears much more sensible.Taking the beautiful game around the country in a world cup tournament is something Brazil have remembered well. They have chosen Manaus, Cuiaba and Fortaleza amongst others which are hardly Premier League status in Brazilian terms but i guarantee you here all stadiums and cities will be packed out with football fans so why do we see it so difficult not to do the same with Plymouth, Bristol or Leicester amongst others. Wake up decision makers and think of the whole country for a change. An injection of good news for lesser known parts has the potential to spread the 'feel good' factor and already this is the impact bing felt in brazil where i now live. Investment in local businesses, hotels, restaurants, bars and housing well before the stadia have even started construction.

  • Comment number 58.

    'Fifa's sphinx-like electorate'

    I am trying to figure out what that phrase means:

    'Fifa's recumbent lion with a human head-like electorate' is what it is literally. I still don't get it.

    We are quite fond of conspiracy theories when posting about football matters but if there was no politics involved then the venues would be shared out equally-hence London should not have 4. Emirates, Wembley and the Olympic stadium have/will have the biggest capacity so they should be the only 3 London clubs. Another option should be Twickenham which is also a lot bigger than Stamford Bridge.

    Up North you would get Eastlands, former Commonwealth games stadium and Old Trafford (huge) amongst others.


    You do have to wonder about the timings of announcements like the rejection of Everton's Kirby bid though. I think this would have been kept quiet for another few days if it wasn't leaked on 606 last night.

  • Comment number 59.

    #53 Owls Geezer.....

    I was joking. I'd want them included about as much as I'd want the Old Firm joining the Premiership.

  • Comment number 60.

    36. At 11:41am on 26 Nov 2009, LABSAB9 wrote:

    "I presume you mean Nottingham East Midlands Airport & the River Trent synonymous with Nottingham Forests TRENT End!!!"

    You presume wrong. If you care to take a look at a map you'll see it's actually the River Derwent that runs through our city. Love it when sarcastic comments fall flat on their face due to pure ignorance.

  • Comment number 61.

    59. At 12:21pm on 26 Nov 2009, Andrew wrote:

    I was joking. I'd want them included about as much as I'd want the Old Firm joining the Premiership

    ---

    Ahh sorry, agree with that one then

  • Comment number 62.


    At 01:47 on 26 November 2009, Matt Slater wrote:

    "It's the best bid, plain and simple."


    No, ACCORDING TO YOU it's the best bid plain and simple.

    Else we should stop all the preparations, presentations and lobbying because Matt-Slatter-somebody said England is the best bid.

    It's your agenda to do what you do so I don't expect you to pick out any of the -numerous- drawbacks, first of the bid itself and also for the people in the UK. The funniest of all is the 'return of investment' you wrote towards the end, when as the Olympics specialist writer you surely know all about the shambles with the 2012 budget.

    And after all you know better than anyone that it'll probably all be down to politics in the end, what Gordon Brown or whoever will offer as political or financial return to the voters and how the alliances stand. Just like for 2012 with Blair's secret meetings and who got the American votes after they were knocked out.



  • Comment number 63.

    I think the biggest disappointment is the fact that the Olympic Stadium is in the running, I for one do not like this one bit! Its not a football stadium and its not going to be designed for one. I guess it will be chosen simply because of the massive amount of money that will be spent on it, which will be unfair.

    I think that Wembley is a certain, and they should have picked 1 of the Emirates or White Hart Lane, not both. Judging by the pics of the new WHL - its just going to be identical to the Emirates, and they are close together, so only one should be picked to represent London.

  • Comment number 64.

    Derby Dave

    Fair enough fella don't mind admitting when i'm wrong!! should check my facts before posting.

    Still believe Nottingham would be best though, Pride Park is in the middle on an abyss with nothing round it, less so the Walkers Stadium but people recognise Nottingham more than the others purely because of the 2 European Cup wins ( and i am not a Forest fan )

  • Comment number 65.

    For all you Blades trying to elbow Hillsborough out of the picture in your attempt for "pick me sir!", you will find that Wednesday have received planning permission for their ground improvements. Of course finding the funding for it is a different matter....
    Personally I think it would be great for the city if both grounds were picked and it could be used as a complete base for an entire group. However I think Matt is right and it won't happen. As for Hull and MK, chances are somewhere between slim and none.

  • Comment number 66.

    Just want to air my frustration at how sparse the bidding cities are down south. I live in Southampton, and now Pompey have bailed, the closest options for us are going to be central London - about two hours, or Bristol - 2 hours as well.
    I understand that the fifa rules and regs are a nightmare for any potential venues, but surely the benefits out way the costs?
    In southampton particularly I'm annoyed that we are not bidding - with a modern 30,000 seater that is designed to be expanded (same plan as proposal in plymouth I would think), and a billionaire owner, the only thing I can imagine holding us back is the lack of imagination of our local government.
    Sorry, rant over. Would love it if the world cup came to England!

  • Comment number 67.

    I currently live in Sheffield for my entire life except for when I lived in Derby for a year. I travel round the country a hell of a lot so I am pretty aware of what most cities are like.
    First things first. The Premier League is NOT diversely spread around the country as stated in #50!!!! Except for Portsmouth, Hull, and Sunderland, every club is based in London, or not too far from the M6. Theres 1 team to the right of the Pennines. This means that people from Leeds, have to travel 42 miles to watch a Premiership match. People from Sheffield and the east midlands have to travel for over an hour to watch a Premier League match. Thats over 1.5 million people in those areas alone.
    A quick check on the internet will reveal that Leeds and its surrounding area hold a population of 1.5 million people. Sheffield nearly 700k people. Sureley these areas deserve to host matches. Both cities have the potential to have Premier League clubs and if/when that becomes a reality, the ground expansion given for the world cup will be more than justified.
    As for the East Midlands argument thats going on. It is pointless to argue whether Nottingham is the best city. Thanks to the council and NFFC, the bid is extremely weak and would come as a huge shock if successful. This leaves Derby v Leicester. I dont agree that Derby is unglamerous. When I went to live there for a year, I expected it to be poor when in fact I find it a better city than Sheffield. Much better in fact and having visited Leicester on multiple occations, I do think that Derby should be the East Midlands Choice.

    My predictions on which cities will host the WC:-
    London - Wembley & The Emirates,
    Manchester - Old Trafford,
    Liverpool - New Anfield,
    Leeds - Elland Road,
    Sheffield - Bramall Lane OR Hillsborough,
    Bristol - Ashton Vale,
    Newcastle - Sportsdirect.com@St James' Park (fail, lol),
    Sunderland - Stadium of Light,
    Derby - Pride Park,
    Birmingham - Villa Park.

    Plymouth could take one of those spots because of how strong their bid is, however I cannot see it being viable to transport such a large following into a city that has no Motorway and the stadium being filled after the world cup has finished.

    As for the Hillsborough debate. I am a huge Sheffield Wednesday fan and I really am not bothered who gets the world cup stadium for sheffield, just as long as one ground does!! The slogan is, after all:-
    England UNITED,
    The World INVITED.

  • Comment number 68.

    Re: 'FIFA's sphinx-like directorate'

    I assume he means FIFA's mysterious, distance-gazing, riddle-speaking directorate.

  • Comment number 69.

    68. At 12:46pm on 26 Nov 2009, Rob K wrote:
    Re: 'FIFA's sphinx-like directorate'

    I assume he means FIFA's mysterious, distance-gazing, riddle-speaking directorate


    a ha. You mean like the look that Carlo Ancelotti gives the press when he is (probably) telling porkies about buying players in January. I get it now. Can't believe we still haven't had any official statement from Blatter or Platini on the qualifying debacle (FIFA, UEFA relevance to this blog). Perhaps if we do a u-turn and included the Irish rugby ground (Croke park I think) in our bid we will get a sympathy vote!

  • Comment number 70.

    30. At 11:33am on 26 Nov 2009, Ligeti_Grieg wrote:
    "I live in Bristol and Plymouth is a pain to reach even from here. Shipping that many people those kind of distances is a terrible idea. Links to all northern and midlands venues is fine, but Plymouth?"

    To be frank, that's a ridiculous comment. Have a look at a world map, now look at the size of England compared to South Africa (2010) and Brazil (2014). Then compare it to other countries bidding for 2018/22 - Australia for instance, or the USA. Even Spain/Portugal is twice as big as Blighty.
    The distance factor will not rule Plymouth out of the race.

    The FA were said to be "gobsmacked" when their inspection team visited the city - and there won't be a more picturesque fanfest than the one on Plymouth Hoe.

    I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by little old Plymouth.

  • Comment number 71.

    No 66. I'm also surprised at the lack of bid from Southampton, and you would think with Portsmouth pulling out that Southampton would step upto the plate and put in a late bid, Plymouth did so not long ago.

    I would think Southamptons bid would be a welcome one - and if they had been in the race from the start then maybe it would have been better than the Portsmouth bid?

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    I see no one is mentioning the Hull bid!

    To all the midlanders and sheffield backers there is one major consideration. Premiership football. Hull, at the moment has it, where as the others dont!

    It may seem irrelevant to a world cup bid, but it isnt. Premiership money makes a huge difference to small clubs like Hull, Leeds, Sheffield etc. Hull have the income to expand with confidence. The others cant have this confidence. Even if Leeds get out of Division 1 this season, they are a long way off the days of the Champions League!

    It just seems Hull has been written off by many southerners who have probably never ventured up this way. But be aware, we are a real contender!

  • Comment number 74.

    "Plymouth could take one of those spots because of how strong their bid is, however I cannot see it being viable to transport such a large following into a city that has no Motorway and the stadium being filled after the world cup has finished."

    I don't want to scream too loudly in defence of Plymouth's bid, but I'm clearly a fan and thus am keen to clear up any misconceptions about our bid!

    Tom - you do make a good point about the lack of a motorway down to Plymouth, but the A38 copes with thousands upon thousands of cars and caravans every year. If it can handle Bank Holiday traffic it can handle anything! There are also very good train & air connections into the area.

    As for the stadium, we're building it anyway with a capacity of 27,000 - which is more realistic for Argyle's potential. Extra seats will be installed to increase the capacity to 43,000 for the World Cup - and those seats will then be taken away after the finals to return it to 27,000.

  • Comment number 75.

    Why must few grounds be used?
    If we have 20+ grounds that are acceptable, why not use them all, it's not as if there are major travel concerns and during the group stages wouldn't it be a better idea to spread the games around as much as possible?

  • Comment number 76.

    I live near Hull and would love it if they manage to win the chance to host World Cup games. Do I think they will? No, unfortunately. And it's not because I believe the city isn't 'pretty' enough (actually refreshing to see that no-one has sl@gged off Hull on this board yet). To me, cities are pretty much the same. But I believe it will fall down on two areas. 1. The bid committee will view Hull as less prestiguous than other candidate cities. 2. The lack of Hotels, which is one of FIFA's stipulations. Not sure I buy into the whole floating hotel idea. I do think it is a shame that Hull may not stand much of a chance as I think they would really embrace it. And as answer to someone on another blog; "would you want to tell Kaka he was playing in Hull", then yes, I would.

    As someone who has been to every tournament England have participated in since '96, I believe the primary thing for a fan who is going to watch games is the availability of tickets. That means, bigger is best. However, having said that, no other nation takes travelling support like us. England home games will be played at Wembley. Period. They want to be able to make as much tickets available as possible. They'll have all the group games there, and probably do it so all the remaining games are there, if England win their group.

    Should the Olymic Stadium be included. No. I don't think this will bide well with FIFA, who want a Football legacy left.

    As for staging the group games, something we didn't do in '96 but other subsequent tournaments have realised is that it is a good idea for your economy to keep the visiting fans moving around your country.

  • Comment number 77.

    73. At 1:09pm on 26 Nov 2009, Dan Harrison wrote:
    I see no one is mentioning the Hull bid!

    To all the midlanders and sheffield backers there is one major consideration. Premiership football. Hull, at the moment has it, where as the others dont!

    It may seem irrelevant to a world cup bid, but it isnt. Premiership money makes a huge difference to small clubs like Hull, Leeds, Sheffield etc. Hull have the income to expand with confidence. The others cant have this confidence. Even if Leeds get out of Division 1 this season, they are a long way off the days of the Champions League!

    It just seems Hull has been written off by many southerners who have probably never ventured up this way. But be aware, we are a real contender!

    ----

    By the time of 2018 I'm sure a few of the teams will trade places, Hull have done well so far but can I see them staying in the premiership, doubtfull, can I see Wednesday, Leeds or United getting up there and staying there? again doubtful but who knows, the main point is if Hull are relegated this season how would you feel to be told you can no longer be in contention as a Championship club. Should we also scrap Newcastles bid? And before you argue with the money side very few teams have plent of cash that is theires and not actually debt, so most clubs are in the same boat. Hull could get the bid, fair play if they do, but to suggest they get it just because they are a premiership team and earning more revenue today than Owls/Blades/Leeds is stupid, things can change.

  • Comment number 78.

    Nottingham won't get it and that's a fact.

    There's political distrust between Nottingham City Council (Labour) and Nottinghamshire County Council (Conservative) - crucially the proposed new stadium for 'Forest would be on green belt land - which the tories don't agree with.

    Leicester or Derby would be more likely.

  • Comment number 79.

    "But then you remember the last time you went to Elland Road, try to work out who will actually pay for its upgrade"

    Well who will pay for the upgrades needed elsewhere? Who will pay for Bramall Lane or a new stadium in Nottingham?

    Leeds made 4m profit last year and just made 6m on Delph. Leeds fans pay the 9th highest prices in England and still make more through the gate than clubs like Hull. Plus the local authority collects taxes from 750,000 Loiners and there's support from the wider city region, pop. circa 3m.

    Finding the money to upgrade Elland Road to a 52,000 seat stadium is going to prove much easier than England actually winning the bid.

  • Comment number 80.

    I realise this article is supposed to be about uniting Englands bid but you can only roll your eyes at the typically selfishness displayed by London. Three was pushing it let alone four. Hopefully what the World Cup will provide is a clear contrast between the single City experience of the Olympics and the country-wide approach of the World Cup.

    Hopefully this will not only come in the form of new stadiums but redevelopment of some of the old great ones, giving Hillsborough and Elland Road a face lift. I wouldn't be suprised also if the South Stand at Old Trafford is expanded, although whether the bid will be keen on the idea of providing finance for Old Trafford's capacity to exceed that of Wembley is another matter.

  • Comment number 81.

    What about Brighton? They'll have a cracking stadium not too far away from now, the town would welcome a boost and the club needs something too!

  • Comment number 82.

    I've no doubt that if we get the world cup we will only end up ballsing it up anyway, will be over budget and behind on time... but a bigger point may well be that some of the cities being mentioned are real slums getting worse, I can only imagine how they will look by the time 2018 comes around! Historic Milton Keynes in the summer time anyone?! Maybe us hosting a world cup is not such a good idea after all..

    On the plus side.. very pleased to hear Plymouth and Bristol getting a mention

  • Comment number 83.

    #73 I don't think having Premiership football has anything to do with it. What difference does that make? It's the logisitics of the city in general that counts, including the stadia obviously.

    Who goes to Hull? People that either live there or stumble off the Pride of Rotterdam ferry after a heavy day in the Dam!

  • Comment number 84.

    Fair point on getting Cardiff involved. I would be inclined to have it at the Millennium Stadium though. Although it would be officially England hosting, I would like to see a game in Scotland with Hampton Park, Celtic Park or Ibrox getting involved and flying the GB flag. Think of it from a fans perspective, I would love to watch a game up there and soak in the atmosphere of Scotland than trek down to Plymouth and or Bristol? The stadia need to be sustainable past the World Cup and with the 3 afore mentioned already in existence it just makes sense to use the budget more productively.
    London could be – Emirates, Wembley and the Olympic Stadium
    Manchester could host 2 with City of Manchester Stadium stepping up.
    St James and Stadium of Light are obvious choices.
    Anfield, Villa Park and yes Hillsborough could do with a little care but deffo holds tradition.
    The rest can work themselves out. Would be funny though to send the Germans to Llanelli though or Barry Town FC!!!

  • Comment number 85.

    One thing I think people need to consider carefully is the NET economic benefit to a region of hosting matches.

    That's not the same as the narrow income by visitors coming to the World Cup.

    Why? Because, say, in London, you'll have millions of tourists anyway doing anything and everything. Be that going to Buck House, dancing the night away etc etc etc.

    The biggest NET benefit to UK plc will come to those regions where foreign visitors will go for the World Cup but wouldn't be coming to the UK otherwise.

    On that basis, the NE, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the SW are very important components of the mix. Less so Birmingham, LIverpool and Manchester. And probably very little to London.


    None of that is anti-London. They'll be a very major part of the bid anyway.

    I'm just flagging up that when we all talk about economic benefits you need to consider the null hypothesis as the starting point. Which in the summer in London is probably having most of the hotels full to capacity...

  • Comment number 86.

    #81 Brighton?

    Oooooooh behave yourself Pete darling!

  • Comment number 87.

    Hi all wanted to add my weight to the Sheffield big/argument.....

    Think one thing that most people havent touched upon when considering Sheffield is what a great armour the bid has in its locker not just for the city but potentially the World Cup bid in itself!!!. Other than Wembley being a massive focus on everything surrounding the bid what does England boast??? The oldest Football team in the world, the team that started it all, which is Sheffield Club, based in Sheffield (well almost for those from the city) shouldnt this be a main focus of the bid?? we gave you football we have the oldest team in the world and it still resigns in one of our host cities. As for the debate on Grounds in the city this will be hotley contested between supporters, personally i couldnt care aslong as Sheffield gets the bid both grounds have submitted fantasic looking plans. Again though one thing Bramall Lane holds over any football ground in the country/world as iam led to beleive from the club is the fact that Bramall Lane is the oldest professional football ground in the world still being used as a football ground to date (i stand to be corrected) again, like Sheffield Club this could be a great focus for the panel when submitting Englands case to stage the World Cup.

    For me heritage should be the line of attack, grounds such as Ellend Road, Hillsborough, Villa Park, Old Trafford, Anfield (as it stands) St James Park, are all ground of heritage and tradition, unlike the concrete lego sets which ground such as MK, Walkers Stadium, Pride Park, Stadium of Light, Emerates, Potentially Bristol, The K.C. dont have, once you have been to one you have been to them all if you ask me.

    Asked whether football is a main sport in the city you only have to look at two mediocre championship clubs averaging a combined average gate of 45,000 to answer the question does passion for the game really lie in this city....

  • Comment number 88.

    @#42- Stamford Bridge is too small- technically a stadium needs 44000 to meet the criteria, and the Bridge can't be extended further to my knowledge. Having said that, I'd rather have matches there than at the Olympic Stadium!

    @#43- No Ibrox/Parkhead/New Douglas Park because it's an English bid, which has already been covered.

    Most of my points have already been covered and I don't want to spoil screen inches, so I'll be as brief as I can...

    Re the whole East Midlands argument, it's not a case of which club attracts the most fans etc etc, it's a case of which city adds most to the bid on all-round terms. For me, Nottingham is a nicer city to visit, has better hotels, a good tram system and would get my vote every time.

    As for the rest, Bramall Lane is a better ground than Hillsborough, plus is closer to the city centre.

    Elland Road is a dump, and needs major investment, which seems unlikely. Access to it is terrible too.

    MK is a very forward-thinking place, however from memory there isn't much in the way of hospitality/hotels there.

    Bristol and Plymouth have to be very careful- perhaps expansions could be merely temporary to avoid future problems- these two will never be established Premier Legue clubs.

    As for London, I'd prefer just Wembley and Ashburton Grove, but we all know that won't happen.

  • Comment number 89.

    @#79: Bramall Lane already has plans in place to expand the Kop end. In addition, their debt is running at around £2mil, and they turned a profit of £6mil last year.

    They have a sound business plan in place, and will pay the development themselves.

    Pity the team's crap really ;)

  • Comment number 90.

    Good point - rjagger....but still wouldnt want to trek to the ass end of nowhere to watch a game.

  • Comment number 91.

    Sorry if I this has already been discussed, but why no Twickenham ? Can we really ignore an existing 80,000 seater ground in favour of the Olympic stadium, where the upper tier is designed to be dismantled in 2012 ?

  • Comment number 92.

    Post 81- "What about Brighton? They'll have a cracking stadium not too far away from now, the town would welcome a boost and the club needs something too!"

    They've not bid, and I'm sure if they did they'd have no chance anyway, too near London, not known as a football place and too small.

    Post 73- "To all the midlanders and sheffield backers there is one major consideration. Premiership football. Hull, at the moment has it, where as the others dont!

    It may seem irrelevant to a world cup bid, but it isnt. Premiership money makes a huge difference to small clubs like Hull, Leeds, Sheffield etc. Hull have the income to expand with confidence. The others cant have this confidence."

    As others have already commented, which league each towns' respective cluba are in in 2009 counts for very little when we're talking about 2018, there is no way of knowing what will happen before then. Using your example of Hull, 5 seasons ago they were in Division 3! Your comment that Hull are in a stronger financial position than other cities is laughable, it was only last month that Hull's accountants Deloitte warned the club could go out of business if they were relegated. Putting Leeds and the Sheffield teams in the bracket of "small clubs" with Hull is also bizarre. I don't see Hull's bid as a viable option for many reasons, firstly the fact that although the KC is a modern and reasonably attractive stadium, it currently seats 25,000, much less than the 40,000 needed by FIFA. Hull couldn't fill a stadium that big, so in my opinion the decision makers in this process need to look at cities and areas where having a 40,000+ seat stadium is viable, i.e. larger cities where there is an established football fan base.

    I'm also surprised to read Matt's comment that Bramall Lane is seen as a more likely choice than Hillsborough, that wouldn't be my perspective on the matter.

  • Comment number 93.

    A total waste of time and money all round.

    I personally don't want my club going into financial problems funding a stadium that is too big for us, just for the sake of a couple of first round games that will probably end up being South Korea V Mexico etc.

    And that's not even taking into account that fans of the clubs that own the stadiums, probably won't even get priority or discount over tickets.... and tickets themselves will be overpriced and around the £100 mark by 2018.... and most tickets will end up in the hands of sponsors and hangers-on.

    Common sense is very much lacking with this bid. Just use the stadiums that can already match the criteria. Surely FIFA are not that shallow that they prefer a computer diagram of a new stadium over an actually built and operating one? (forget I asked that...)

  • Comment number 94.

    Premiership football has nothing to do with it. all you need is a solid infastructure. parking, transport links, hotels and or hostels and somewhere to party, smash bottles and have your wicked way with the local women. Blackpool gets my vote!!!!

  • Comment number 95.

    @94- World Cup football in Blackpool would be brilliant! Unfortunately, your argument falls on its sword- if you'd have left 'transport links' out I'd have backed the tangerine dream all the way!!

  • Comment number 96.

    Those of you moaning about regions being ignored should try living in East Anglia! Of the East Midlands cities I'd have to favour Nottingham as well if only due to it's cultural heritage and existing tourist infrastructure. The closest stadium here will be Wembley or the Emirates, two and a half hours away down the A11.

    To Matt, as a Villa fan you're forgiven for not mentioning Villa Park. It goes without saying that such a fine stadium will be on everybody's list!

  • Comment number 97.

    Would be nice to see Plymouth get some games. The complete lack of progress on completion of the stadium would concern me though and I think the M5 would need extending.

  • Comment number 98.

    Ha Ha, Blackpool, quality, gets my vote as long as its agreed the French have to play all their group games there!

  • Comment number 99.

    2018 World Cup Bid Stadiums will be:
    London: Wembley, Emirates Stadium, White Hart Lane
    Manchester: Old Trafford, City Of Manchester Stadium
    Birmingham: Villa Park
    Leeds: Ellad Road
    Liverpool: Anfield,
    Sheffield: Hillsborough
    Derby: Pride Park
    Bristol: Ashton Vale
    Newcastle/Gateshead: St James Park.

  • Comment number 100.

    For those mentioning that Elland Road is not the most up to date stadium well that is true but there is certainly a lot of time to bring it up to scratch. Also at Leeds Carnegie (rugby both codes, the university) they have some of the best all weather facilities in the country that there was a rumour the Americans are going to use for their base when the Olympics is here in 3 years.

 

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