New ‘Old Stand’ Stand
A Camel Is A Horse Designed By A Committee
On Monday, Crystal Palace unveiled plans for a redeveloped Old Stand but after 4 years in the planning, you’d think it would be perfect. Right?
On more than one occasion in the dim and distant I’ve been accused of being negative, of being pessimistic or just generally pissing on good news. But those people are wrong.
You see, one of my great strengths is that I am an ‘improver’, that is someone who looks to problem solve, improve a plan and make things better. I see the flaws in things, the gaps in regulation and potential problems and look to solve them before they are set in stone and it’s too late to change things.
Basically, I’m a realist, a pragmatist and someone who is grounded. Some people like to cease on to a reason to be happy but as Blackadder once said, ‘we’re not at home to Captain Cock-Up!’
For example, in a previous job we had almost no space in the office and word came through that we were getting a new scanner/photocopy/printer machine. My colleagues were all doing their merry dance when I said “cool, but where’s it going to go?”
My boss got pissed off and castigated me for not being happy and positive. I replied, in my best Vulcan, that I was delighted but could see a major problem. Long story short, we never got that new scanner/photocopy/printer machine. We had no room to put it and I was a smug bastard for not wasting an afternoon being euphoric over something that was never going to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I can’t say I enjoy being me. I am a practical man. Buy me a Ferrari and I’d wonder who I’m going to pay for the insurance and keep it from being vandalised. I’d see that you gave me problems to deal with rather than a present.
The New ‘Old Stand’ Stand
So the plans for the new Old Stand were announced to the huddled masses and as soon as the images flashed up on the live Facebook stream that I was watching I naturally saw everything I thought was wrong.
I say ‘everything’ but in reality, it is just the two main things. One is down to personal taste and the other is down to practicality.
I’ll start off with a few positives. Steve Parish should be commended for pushing through with trying to find solutions to breathing new life into Selhurst Park. However, I think the timing is somewhat questionable, given our situation.
Steve Parish has also said he wouldn’t reveal anything to us until plans were in place so quite why an announcement has been made now does make me raise an eyebrow.
However, the fact that the player’s tunnel appears to be at the half-way line is something which is a big positive. I’ve always hated the entrance to the pitch from a corner, like at Old Trafford. I know this addition has been made mainly for corporate clients and the ‘Player’s Tunnel’ ticket, such as at Manchester City but I always think that is where players should enter the pitch.
Now for my personal gripe. In the artist’s impression above you can see a curved ‘horizon’ of seats with two big empty spaces. A lot of grounds feature this these days be it Arsenal’s ground, Manchester City’s ground or even the new Wembley. Even Tottenham’s new ground will feature this curve to the upper line of seats. But why?
I can only assume it is to do with acoustics because it looks fugly! Maybe in the final build, the ugly white background will be painted to look nicer but even so, it is a complete waste of space where there could be a lot more seats.
Given that architects KSS also designed, among other stands, the new Liverpool stand that must be curved too, right? Well, erm… no! The new Liverpool stand is pretty much straight-lined with a slight taper at the ends so it beggars belief why KSS has come up with something so horrible for the upper tier.
Another esthetic I dislike are the corners but I can live with those and they won’t trouble me too much. One corner has fans while the other has what looks like a door for service vehicles.
The Big Issue
Planning permission. We don’t have any and neither does it seem that anyone in the vicinity of Selhurst Park has been consulted on these plans. Not the residents or, more troublesome, Sainsbury’s!
Many of you will know Sainsbury’s have never been the best of neighbours for us and being a company they would look to maximise any situation to their advantage be it financial or anything else.
The fact that the residents appear not to have been consulted is another problem. Anyone living in a property bordering the potential construction area will have the potential to throw a spanner in the works, so to speak.
I love Crystal Palace but I wouldn’t like to live Wooderson Close, Clifton Road or Holmesdale Road for that matter so I can only hope all the residents are big-time Palace fans or get a decent compensation package to ease their pain.
The Road Ahead
Planning application will be submitted in January 2018 and relegation won’t affect the plans.
Personally, I doubt very much the final application will look much like what has been proposed at all, least from the outside. Many potential problems have already been cited from Sainsbury’s not knowing anything about the plans, which would impact their structure to the balcony/terrace of the stand which would overlook residents houses thus being a privacy issue.
There is a property program on TV where people want to renovate their ‘tired old home’. They have a budget and an architect draws up plans for the best case scenario. As the program goes on there are issues with planning, then the budget and finally, the owners tinkle with things. The result is nothing like what is originally proposed. They might plan to finish things off at a later date or just have a budget build.
That is what I suspect what will happen with the new stand’s design.
Residents will have concerns and want changes, Sainsbury’s will have too many demands so there will be changes and finally the best-laid plans will be different to what is produced.
I’m not being negative, I’m just not blinded by the light.
Another example of a good idea poorly implemented is in the picture below.
What on earth could be wrong with the Holmesdale Stand? Two things really ‘grip my shit’ about this stand and I hate looking at the bloody thing without any fans in it.
First, the bottom tier tapers in. Why? Back in the day, Uncle Ron (Noades) claimed it was for future development when corner stands would be built, then it would all make sense. I think that is crap!
You could still have a straight line down to the pitch then adapt the stand at a later date if we ever got that far. Ron must have known the chances of the ground being continued in that style were very remote.
The second is the words on the seats. Palace Eagles makes us sound like a fucking netball team and so primary school!
On the top tier, there are 6 blocks of seats and two half blocks. So it could have been made a 7 block tier. The bottom is as wide, save for the tapering, so there could have been as many blocks but let’s say we make just 6 blocks. A tier of 7 and a tier of 6 is perfect for Crystal Palace.
It makes no sense whatsoever that an upper tier that is wider has more blocks than the upper tier. Who fucking designed that pile of shit?
More to the point, it can’t cost that much to correct the issue because the entrances are not in line with the stairs on the lower tier anyway.
This is a prime example of how something can be corrected at the planning stage and no end up with a camel when you wanted a horse!