Tales of the un­ex­pected

The hard work in de­liv­er­ing a new sta­dium may be com­pleted but that doesn’t mean that chal­lenges wouldn’t still arise...

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - PÁIRC UÍ CHAOIMH SPECIAL -

Some of the chal­lenges that come with a new sta­dium you can an­tic­i­pate. Some you can’t.

In 2008, for in­stance, the New York Yan­kees broke out the drills for some mi­nor cos­metic work on their brand-new sta­dium, which had cost them a mere $800 mil­lion.

The rea­son?

A Bos­ton Red Sox fan had buried one of his team’s jer­sey in con­crete on the site.

Gino Castig­noli had taken a job for one day on the project in or­der to bury the jer­sey specif­i­cally to “jinx that sta­dium,” he told New York me­dia.

The Yan­kees weren’t too con­cerned - un­til they started suf­fer­ing in­juries, in­clud­ing star Derek Jeter, who was un­able to play in an early-sea­son game against . . . the Red Sox.

Just in case there was any sub­stance to that jinx, the team had the jer­sey ex­humed and re­moved.

At the time of writ­ing there were no in­di­ca­tions a rogue plas­terer had buried a Kerry jer­sey any­where within the bow­els of the new Pairc Ui Chaoimh, but more mun­dane ques­tions may also be asked.

For in­stance, it’s not un­known for a new sta­dium to re­main at­mos­phere-re­sis­tant for a while, while sup­port­ers get to grips with dif­fer­ent sur­round­ings - and dif­fer­ent acous­tics.

Many for­mer play­ers in­stanced the bowl ef­fect in the old Pairc for cre­at­ing a caul­dron of noise.

In the new sta­dium the roof of the south stand may have a role to play.

A cou­ple of years ago David Keirle, chair­man of KSS sports ar­chi­tects and de­sign­ers, told the BBC that Manch­ester United might be as well to bring in mi­cro­phones be­cause the acous­tics were so un­for­giv­ing in Old Traf­ford.

“Noise trav­els by line of sight,” said Keirle.

“There are parts of Old Traf­ford where you can’t see or hear what’s go­ing on in other parts,” he says, adding that his firm had de­signed a tilted roof for Brighton and Hove Al­bion’s new Amex Com­mu­nity Sta­dium which was built to re­tain noise and re­flect it back onto the field: “You get long re­ver­ber­a­tions and people re­spond.” The close­ness of sup­port­ers to the ac­tion in Pairc Ui Chaoimh Mark II is a pos­i­tive, go­ing on the ex­pe­ri­ence of West Ham in their new lodg­ings, the Lon­don Sta­dium.

The ben­e­fits of a new state of the art sta­dium are off­set by the fact that the ground was cre­ated for the Olympics - hence the run­ning track, which cre­ates a sep­a­ra­tion be­tween sup­porter and ac­tion on the field of play in­side that track.

One of those in­volved in plan­ning the original sta­dium, for­mer Burn­ley chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Fletcher, went fur­ther and told re­porters af­ter crowd prob­lems at a West Ham-Chelsea game that the ground should be de­mol­ished; Fletcher made the sim­ple point that the venue is un­suit­able for the sport it’s now be­ing used for: “The sta­dium is so poor in foot­ball terms, it breeds poor be­hav­iour. The sta­dium is fun­da­men­tally prob­lem­atic and like a bat­tle­ground for fans both in­side and out­side.

“There are is­sues such as the dis­tances many fans find them­selves from the pitch.

“It was set up for ath­let­ics so has shal­low sight-lines, mean­ing many fans sim­ply don’t have a good view.

“At the Chelsea match, large num­bers of fans stood on the ex­tended con­courses as they have such a poor view from their seats. Even the route the fans had to take to get in and out of the sta­dium is a prob­lem, as are seg­re­ga­tion is­sues out­side the ground due to wide open spa­ces.“

Of course, Gaelic games sup­port­ers don’t tend to be­have like West Ham and Chelsea sup­port­ers, for which much thanks. But other is­sues may arise in the course of a busy af­ter­noon on Lee­side. Go­ing on the ex­pe­ri­ence in one of the most fa­mous venues of all, you’d hope there are plenty of toi­let fa­cil­i­ties on hand.

Al­most twenty years ago Luis Ed­uardo Car­doso, an engi­neer at the leg­endary Mara­cana sta­dium in Brazil, found a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem in the ground due to sup­port­ers be­ing re­luc­tant to leave their seats when . ..

“There is cor­ro­sion in all the en­trance points to the sta­dium,” said Car­doso in 2000.

“We be­lieve that the main cause of this struc­tural dam­age is people go­ing to the toi­let.

“All those gal­lons of urine con­tain a lot of am­mo­nia which acts with amaz­ing speed. It eats through the con­crete and then acts like acid on the steel gird­ers, which is why the cor­ro­sion is so dev­as­tat­ing.”

Brazil­ian sup­port­ers seem less in­clined to make a rush to the doors marked FIR and MNA, then?

“When there are big games it can get pretty dis­gust­ing here with a re­ally hor­ri­ble smell,” added Car­doso.

“There is a huge vol­ume of this liq­uid. If we don’t do some­thing about it the very struc­ture of the Mara­cana could be de­stroyed.”

The sta­dium author­i­ties de­cided to get proac­tive, so they ap­pointed an “an­tiurine” pa­trol of eight stew­ards to take ac­tion if they found any­one trans­gress­ing.

That’s one ini­tia­tive you’d hope Páirc Uí Chaoimh II will never have to em­u­late.

LOOK­ING TO THE FU­TURE:Val­ley Rovers selec­tor John O’Sul­li­van looks on Val­ley Rovers take on Blar­ney at the Pairc Ui Chaoimh opener on Wed­nes­day. Pic­ture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

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