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Do you care where your team plays?

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Steve Boulton | 15:45 UK time, Thursday, 14 December 2006

At Football Focus we’re planning to make a film looking at football grounds old and new. I thought this blog might be a good way of asking what you think about clubs moving about?

Is it for the better? Is it just a financial necessity? Or is it eroding some of the history of the game?

Just down the road from where I’ve happily lived for many years is an ex-council block with a shopping centre inside it. I’ve always thought it looks like a really cool concrete spaceship that’ll one day take off and share Boots, Iceland and my late night kebab shop with distant civilizations.

However, not everyone agrees with my romantic take on the Brunswick Centre. The phrase ‘pig ugly’ regularly crops up from outsiders – sometimes not even as a direct reference to me. But you’ll never take away my rose-tinted fondness for the ‘Brunnie’.

The only other place about which I feel as defensive, is Elland Road. I doubt I’m alone in feeling a loyalty to my team’s football ground?
But is that loyalty misplaced ?

I reckon about a quarter of you reading this can probably answer my question more definitely - based on the fact that 26 sides have moved to a new stadium in the English leagues alone since Scunthorpe United left the Old Showground for Glanford Park in 1988.

Through the alphabet from Arsenal and Brighton to Wigan and Yeovil, it seems no team can guarantee staying put nowadays.

Doncaster Rovers fans are about to become the latest to uproot. On New Year’s Day they’ll take on Huddersfield Town at home. Not at Belle Vue, but at the new Keepmoat stadium.

All the evidence suggests sentiment can no longer stand in the way of comfort, capacity & commercialism.

There’s a lot of talk about what the likes of Everton and West Ham might be thinking? My club hasn’t moved to pastures new yet. I guess in my ideal world, Leeds would stay at Elland Road but the stadium would just get bigger and better. (Premiership football is also in the plan of course but that’s now been shifted onto Santa’s list for next year..)

Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge have shown that developing an existing ground can work. Capacities have grown to 76,000 and 42,420 respectively. Oh.. and if you need one more example of successfully revamping an existing site then please pop in to my Brunswick Centre. Now rebranded as ‘The Brunswick’, I’d be staggered if it doesn’t win an urban development award.

The concrete has been painted. Iceland has become Waitrose. The kebab shop has become Carluccios. It even has two chemists now, in case you feel really poorly. Which is particularly handy for supporters of Leeds.

Anyway, please let us know what you think about football grounds past, present and future. What's better? What's worse? Which ones should we concentrate on and why? We'll try and follow up on your thoughts in the film, which will hopefully be broadcast in a few weeks' time.

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