Bellfield, that’s where Aberdeen were going to be moving to from Pittodrie. This was the start of the clubs chairman Stewart Milnes crusade to move Aberdeen away from the spiritual home of Pittodrie. It didn’t happen. Then December 14th, 2015, the 112th AGM, Pittodrie the venue, the soon to be ex home or so we have been led to believe for many a year by this point. Within this twenty-three-minute meeting (hardly worth turning the Dick End lights on for) the age-old subject of a new state of the art home was mooted. The goal posts have been moved and Pittodries demise is pencilled in for the end of the 2018-19 season, this meaning by the by the time the new ground was to be built it will have had been a full ten years since the Evening Express broke the news of Pittodries soon dissolution. This time the idea was on the banks of Loriston Loch in the foggy southern end of Aberdeen. This was it. This was the demise of our dear old girl Pittodrie. Oh, but wait, hold on. We are now in that very season and the idea has yet again changed. Kingsford, a ball hair away from not being in the boundaries of Aberdeen City, so close in fact that part of the infrastructure needed approval from the ‘shire council. This idea was announced in May 2016 and given the vomit inducing “All For Aurora” tag line
Some have now learned to accept that our dear old girl has passed its sell by date and is costing more than it should be in running repairs. So the club have told us. This meaning its inevitable the club will have to move on from the dung hill. So the club says. Some have accepted the fate of the stadiums impending doom and have also accepted that we would have to play European games in Dundee or was that the central belt? So the club told us via two conflicting stories. Others have also accepted that an upgrade down the bottom of Merkland Road East in not viable due to space. So the club have said. (Hearts? Nottingham Forest? Hibs? Tiny footprints but it worked for them) But the club says so let us just lap up the crap they say. One thing that is there to be seen with plenty of proof, the club are clearly trying to ensure Pittodrie is looking as fucked as possible to force home the “we need to move” line. The place is a sotter. Its dirty, it has rainforests growing under sponsor sheets, it has broken chairs and you better believe the multi-coloured South Stand seats are a deliberate ploy too. The Main stand roof has holes. There is a bit of corrugated plastic missing in the Dick Donald wing that has been missing for seasons now. Simple but left unfixed. Those corrugated plastic bits are over grown with moss. The place just looks drab and a shitehole frankly. It’s sad. It’s also highly embarrassing that our chairman is a builder and he canna keep his building in order. But agendas need to be suited. Knob. I have veered off into a rant when that wasn’t the purpose of this ramble……
Even though I think the stadium won’t happen and I am against it (if you hadn’t noticed) there’s no harm and thinking about what it could be called. After the training ground was named after an investor who has been around for two minutes. Named after a new guy ahead of someone like a club legend for example (a complete and utter act of vain wankery it must be said). It will be interesting to see the direction in which the stadium naming goes. Who will be given the job? Will the Wigless one do it, will it be a board decision or more unlikely but not impossible will it be put to the fans. A thankless task for many reasons, for example how many times have you been asked “fits the plans this weekend min?” and “Pittodrie” is the retort, it’s just part of life, “Pittodrie”, it is short and to the point. Will the new title be such? There is also the fact that the “Stade De Stewart Milne” is opposed by a lot of fans already and even more so due to the proposed lacustrine location, add a shit name to that and the disgruntled rumblings will be felt on the Richter scale. Maybe the club could look to other grounds for inspiration. How have stadiums and arenas been named in the past across the globe?
To start there is obviously location which is understandable; we can find this practice in Scotland from Harlaw Park home of the Inverurie Loco which is on Harlaw Road which is like Peterheads Balmoor which is on Balmoor Terrace. Some are named after the town, the Falkirk Stadium the home of, well Falkirk is an example (a bit of swickery there as its really in Grangemouth). Somewhere we will never forget and the scene of one of Aberdeen’s most embarrassing days, Ochilview Park named after the fact you can see the Ochils in the distance which does count as geographically named. Easter Road isn’t actually on Easter Road but its nearby. But its worldwide too, take arguably the most iconic stadium in association football, the Maracana, quite simply named after the neighbourhood of Rio it is found, same goes for the Wesserstadion in Bremen due to its proximity to the Wesser River, Rosenberg’s Lerkendaal in Trondheim is area related. Then you have the fantastically amusing Middlefart Stadium in Middlefart, Denmark. A stadium with “fart” in its name, can there be a funnier name in football. Yes would be the answer the answer due to the name plus club name combination. Step forward Young Boys Berne of Switzerland and their old home The Wankdorf Stadium. Named after the city district, this dilapidated flaccid ground was tugged down in 2001 the replacement erection now bears the moniker of Stade de Suisse Wankdorf, a master stroke by the club in keeping the hilarity alive. If the Dons do set up shop at Kingsford, what can it be christened, Going by the artistic impressions that were released, the Kingswells Krapshack perhaps?
What about people, again this is a common practice. McDiarmid Park home to St Johnstone is a close example. Taking its name from the generous farmer Bruce McDiarmid who gave up sixteen acres of land to the club at no cost for the new stadium to be built. Another couple of iconic grounds we all know, the San Siro (geographically related but not the official name) in Milan or to give it its proper name the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium so called after the double World Cup winning Italy and Inter legend who also had a spell at AC Milan. In the heart of Spain a wee club from the capital who were humbled by our very team, Real Madrid is their name and their home turf is named after a true legend of the club Santiago Bernabeu Yeste who scored almost a goal every other game over the guts of 700 games for Los Blanco’s, he also was Director of Football, Assistant Manager, Manager and President of the club. Their city neighbours and conquerors of the Dons a few years back Atletico also named their old midden Estadio Vicente Calderon after their businessman “el presidente”. Elsewhere, in Yank “soccer” there is the RFK Stadium which is home to DC United but more importantly the greatest US “soccer” team ever assembled, the mighty Washington Whips, Budapest has the Ferenc Puskas Stadium for obvious reasons. Host of seven major finals and my favourite ground I have had the privilege of visiting, the Ernst Happel stands in Vienna taking its name from one of Austrias most famous footballing sons after his death. Belgian big boys Anderlechts home is the Constant Van Den Stock Stadium named after a former player/president, Romanian legend lends his name to the Gheorghe Hagi Stadium in his home town of Constanta and even Dwight Yorke has a stadium in his name in Bacolet in Tobago. The people behind the name don’t always have to be after ex-players or presidents though as Stuttgart can vouch for as their now named Mercedes Benz Arena was known from its opening in 1933 as the Adolf Hitler Kampfbahn with that unfortunate title being removed in 1945 and replaced by the Century Stadium. It again it took on a famous non footballer in the late 80s in Gottlieb Daimler (Inventor and all round clever clogs) who was local to the area. Monaco’s Stade Louis II is Royal example; In Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium has the Presidential seal of approval. The most ludicrous has to be the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium in Graz. But how many other famous natives of Graz can you name? Archduke Franz Ferdinand but he already has a shite band named after him. Anyway “Arnies” affiliation with capital punishment was not looked upon too fondly by the people of Graz and came under serious scrutiny leading to him revoking the right for his name to be used and found the stadium being renamed the much more characterless UPC Arena. Again, the list is endless, and I could go on forever. If we are to go down that route would it be football related, with the obvious Willie Millers, Joe Harpers and Colin MacRonalds of this world surely being top of the potential list. Or should it be a non-footballing citizen close to the public’s hearts. Surely Spike the Talking Cactus and the Guitar Wifey are in with a shout.
What about “other” as in anything other than location, names or sponsorship (see next paragraph). These examples could go on for page after page so the examples below are just random picks to show the versatility in the naming. In Scotland there are few examples Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park is named after egg chasing, Fir Park in Motherwell due to the fact it was built in a wooded area containing fir trees. Also, in Scotland and let’s face it we have all had a giggle at Gayfield in Arbroath which also applies to Gay Meadow in Shrewsbury which were named after the fact that the parks they were erected on were in days gone by where carnivals and circuses and such like pitched up when they came to town. Basically, places where folks had a “gay” time in the happy sense. Imagine how a stadium named in such a way in modern times would go down with the fans. Take note in 2007 Shrewsbury dropped the Gay and called their replacement stadia The New Meadow (now Greenhous Meadow). In Lewes in East Sussex there is the fantastically named Dripping Pan which is believed to be named after the fact the ground it is found on was once home to a monastic fish farm. Whether or not this is the reason it has to be agreed that it is certainly a quality name, Also in England there are the Valley after its valley like appearance in early years, The Hive in Barnet named after their Bees nickname, similarly Kilwinning R*****s as of this season play at The Buffs Park after their nickname. Then you have the Stadium of Light in Sunderland which is just a shite name. Abroad Spain use this method as much as they use people’s names, these range from Malaga’s Rosaleda (rose garden) Sporting Gijon’s El Molinón (The Mill) to Burgos’ green fingered El Plantino (planting bed), Italy generally name after people but Serie A diddies Frosinone are worth a mention as they play at the Stadio Matusa or Old Man stadium? The venue of one of my favourite away day to date, Go Ahead Eagles play at De Adelaarshorst or “the Eagles nest” after the coat of arms of Deventer has an eagle on it. To be noted the ground name was in existence before the club added Eagles to their moniker. Marseilles Stade Velodrome once upon a time was used for bicycle racing with the track eventually being replaced with more seats spelling the end for the two wheeled enthusiasts. Portuguese giants Benfica show off their might at Estadio De Luz aka The Stadium of Light, again that’s a totally shite name. Out with Europe Brazils Guarani play at the Estádio Brinco de Ouro (Golden Earing Stadium), reports of the team entering the pitch to Radar Love are unconfirmed. Union Santa Fe of Argentina plays at Estadio 15 de Abril after their foundation date in 1907, to be noted this is very common in Africa also with Algeria, Libya, Mali, Burkina Faso and Angola using this method. The Angolan Estadio de 11 Novembre is an interesting one, named after the date of independence of the country from Portugal, the stadium is found in Luanda the very place your writer works out of while at the same time the date is also your writer’s birthday. To the bucket list it is added. Japanese Sanfreece Hiroshima call The Big Arch their home as the roof of one of the wing stands is in the shape of, you guessed it, a big arch, Pachuca of Mexico play at Hidalgo which translates as “honourable”, also in Mexico Tijuana play at Caliente which bizarrely translates to hot/randy, whatever floats their boat. My favourite in world football has to be the Timsah Arena in Bursa, Turkey. Literally meaning the Crocodile arena. This due to Bursaspor being nicknamed the “Green Crocodiles”. But what makes it better is. It is shaped like a crocodile. It finds itself very high on my bucket list. So could the Dons give it a flowery name, name it after an item of jewellery, possibly after what it looks like, date it or name it after the fact they were needing their hole at the time? I would like to put forward the idea of a sheep related name with a Bursaspor type idea of a sheep shaped stadium
Sponsorship can sometimes make for comical reading. A mainly American trait in the past but these days due to money being paramount in football it’s becoming more and more common throughout the world. A lot of clubs have sold their soul and rebranded their pads. It has even reached our land with Livingston now playing out of the ludicrous Toni Macaroni Stadium which was previously the Energy Assets Stadium, the Braidwood Motors Stadium before that, the City Stadium before that, and previously to that the West Lothian Courier Stadium. Dumbarton are not much better as they were playing out of the Strathclyde Homes Stadium, then with the company going bust it wasn’t long until another sponsor came making it the Bet Butler Stadium but then the Sons were calling it “The Cheaper Insurance Stadium, then The YOUR Radio 103FM Stadium with the fans now rocking up at the C&G Systems Stadium. Other examples are the Tulloch Stadium in Inverness, also in the Highlands Global Energy has put their name to Ross Counties Victoria Park in recent times, Hamilton play at the Hope CBD Stadium, The Simple Digital Arena is the sell out name of St Mirren and Dundee have allowed Dens Park to be called the “Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park”. Germany has been sucked in by this trend in a big way, the Bundesliga is made up of eighteen clubs with only five of which that do not have some sort of insurance, beer, car manufacturer or bank or whatever attached, so well done Hertha Berlin, Borussia Monchengladbach, Freiburg, the aforementioned Werder Bremen and Union Berlin who play at one of my favourite named grounds. “Stadion An der Alten Försterei” or in English, The Stadium at the Old Foresters House. A truly brilliant name I think you will agree. It has definatley crept into England gradually with the likes of Emirates, Etihad, King Power, Sports Direct, iPro, Ricoh, John Smiths, Pirelli, American Express and WHAM* as quick examples of the top of my head (*to be attended by myself in a few weeks for the visit of Gillingham. It’s still the Crown ground in my eyes). Ireland’s national stadium is no longer Landesdown Road but is the Aviva Stadium also in the Republic, Hunky Dory’s Park in Drogheda (crisp manufactures). On the other side of the world Jubilo Iwata of the J league play out of the Yamaha Stadium, also from the land of the rising sun, Gary Linekers old muckers Nagoya Grampus Eight are found at the Toyota Stadium and Albirex Nigata strut their stuff at the Denka Big Swan Stadium, answers on a postcard to what they sell. Little Estonia are even at it now with national team playing at the Le Coq Stadium in Tallinn, Poland has the Pepsi arena and, Holland has a few including the Phillips Stadium, AFAS Stadium in Alkmaar and once had the the Mitsubishi Forklift Stadium in Almere. But as already mentioned when it comes to corporate branding look no further than the US/Canada, the Major League has twenty clubs with only two not having a sponsor attached, DC United at the aforementioned RFK stadium and New York City who play at the legendary Yankee Stadium, which is almost guaranteed never to be branded due to its celebrated history. The other eighteen stadiums include Toyota Stadium in Dallas (formerly Pizza Hut Park), also a Toyota Park in Bridgeview Chicago, Dicks Sporting Goods Park in the suburbs of Denver. A genuine fact regarding this ground is that when the sponsorship was first agreed it was originally to be called “Dicks Arena” until somebody decided it might not have been the best idea. In LA there is the Stub Hub Centre, New Jersey has the Red Bull Stadium, Providence Park is found in Portland, and New England Revolution are housed at the Gillette Stadium and so on. Preferably if the new ground was to be sponsored it wouldn’t be something utterly mismanaged and embarrassing like The Gaylord Entertainment Centre*, the former home of the Nashville Predators in the NHL (*Not football but deserved a mentioned in this). Will it be a local sponsor as the club have been known to use local companies on their shirts in the past? Maybe Wordies Alehouse, Bon Accord Red Kola or Shaggies could be options. It would be stupid to rule out an oil company, but I suppose that would depend on if there are any left in the area by then? Or will Stewart Milne just decide to put his company’s name to it? I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Whatever is decided will have to be appealing to the masses and not make us look daft when Jeff Stelling talks about us on Soccer Saturday(See Livingston) .As already mentioned it’s an unenviable task and will always be up for debate as we as Aberdonians put moaning down on our CV under “Key Skills” . But at least we are safe in the knowledge that we can’t get any worse that the Kuntz Soccer Stadium in Indianapolis