95% of City fans support move to new stadium
Bristol City Supporters Trust today released its latest fans’ survey results on the Club’s proposals for the new stadium. Support for the move has gone up since the last survey a year ago. Having seen the proposed stadium designs, 95% of fans now ‘support’ or ‘strongly support’ the move.
At least 70% of fans gave a top two rating out of five for the way the design reflects the findings of the previous survey as regards the stadium’s capacity, its enclosed design, the alignment and proximity of the stands to the pitch, the rake of the stands, the positioning of corporate spectators and the non-uniform nature of the stadium’s overall look.
“It is great news for the Club that so many fans are behind the move to the new stadium,” said Trust Chair Stuart Rogers. “This survey was once again done with the Club’s assistance, without which we could never have amassed the 1,867 responses that we did. We are very grateful to the Club for this and it is to their credit that they have enthusiastically sought fans’ views once again. Not every club would have done that!”
Read the full results here: Stadium follow-up survey results
Acoustics, away fans and the ‘home end’
Fans were less sure that the proposed design reflected their wishes for good acoustics. Less than two-thirds of fans gave a top two rating for this aspect of the design. Only just over one half of fans thought the need for enhanced acoustics for the more vocal fans had been satisfied.
Least satisfaction was expressed over the position of away fans and the overall ‘Bristol feel’. The majority view in the first survey was for away fans to be positioned in a corner and for the inclusion of an architectural feature unique to Bristol (in each case 65% felt this had not been reflected).
When asked specifically about the proposed design of the ‘home end’ only 25% felt that it needed no change, while 61% felt it should have a more enclosed design.
In anticipation of these findings and over the last week since they were confirmed, the Supporters’ Trust has been in discussion with the Club and architects on several aspects of the stadium design, notably the ‘home end’, the acoustics and the housing of away fans.
On the issue of acoustics, Trust Chair Stuart Rogers took lead architect Mike Trice on a tour of all four stands at Ashton Gate during a recent home game to enable him to experience the individual atmospheres created in different areas of the ground. Mike Trice has subsequently taken the Club’s acoustics expert on a similar tour. Both have been left in no doubt as to the level of importance that fans place on good stadium acoustics – especially in terms of the amount of sound retained within any given stand.
On the issue of the away fans, Club Chief Executive Colin Sexstone has now confirmed to the Trust that the Club “has asked its architects to review the position of the away fans with a view to taking into account the Survey Research”. It now seems likely that away fans will not be given the entire North Stand, but accommodated primarily in one corner, with the rest of the stand going to home fans.
On the issue of the ‘home end’, the Trust has made a number of suggestions to the Club. These include:
- That the roof be non-transparent to provide a more enclosed feel than shown in the images to date
- That the roof be lower than previously planned, again providing a more enclosed feel and – many believe – enhanced acoustics
- That a number of rows of additional seats the width of the pitch be added to the rear of the lower tier to create the look of a rectangular ‘end’ emerging proud of the sunken bowl
- That chunky, distinctively coloured handrails be fitted down the two aisles running down from the concourse parallel with the sidelines either side of this rectangular block of seats (to give the ‘end’ clear visual boundaries and to give those frequenting it a distinct area to which they can feel they belong)
- That a distinctive design scheme be adopted for the seats within this rectangular block (perhaps asking the fans – via the Trust - to come up with a design to be depicted by multi-coloured seats, c.f. the Bill Shankly image in the seats of the Shankly Stand at Preston North End)
- That at least a significant part of the ‘home end’ be designated for unreserved seating
- That a facility be provided at the back of the ‘home end’ concourse for storing flags etc
- That designated areas be identified for laying out flags (e.g. the first V-shaped corner block either side of the rectangular ‘end’ (except for sell-out games), thus further emphasising the visual distinctiveness of the ‘home end’
We are pleased to report that none of these suggestions has been rejected out of hand and moreover that the Club had already been considering a number of them itself. Club Chief Executive Colin Sexstone has advised the Trust that “the Club has asked its architects to review the height of the roofs [and] the translucent roof … with a view to taking into account the Survey Research [and that] the Club will be looking at making at least some of the seats in the home end un-reserved.”
In respect of the other suggestions, such as the added rows of seats at the back of the rectangular end block to rise proud of the concourse level and create a more traditional ‘end’ look, Mr Sexstone added, “as we discussed, I was very grateful for your suggestion regarding the home end and again I have asked HOK [the architects] to examine.”
The Trust will continue to work with the Club on these issues, aiming to achieve the best possible solution for fans and Club alike so that we can all move forward fully in support of the new stadium project, confident that all supporters in every stand will feel proud of ‘their part’ of the ground.
Below are a few images that illustrate the suggestions that we have put to the club aimed at giving the South Stand more of a look of a traditional ‘end’. These have been kindly produced for us by City fan Michael Thomson. They should not be regarded as 100% accurate or definitive – more as food for thought (click any of the images to enlarge).
1) Extended home end
Shows an illustration of how the South Stand might look with a lower, solid roof and a small tier of extra seating at the back to give the stand more of the appearance of a traditional ‘end’.
2) From North Stand
The view from the other end of the ground
3) Tier extension close-up
A closer view of the suggested additional small tier of seating at the back of the home end
4) Concourse at rear
Suggests that the concourse behind such seating would still be fairly wide
5) Lowered roof
Shows the underside of the lowered roof with a panel directed back into the stand, the idea being that this may enhance the acoustic experience within this area
6) Current proposal
An illustration of the South Stand as currently proposed