CEO Glenn Elliott has answered questions regarding the club’s request to utilise the sails/covers of the Adelaide Oval Chappell Stands, which are being dismantled as part of the ground’s redevelopment.
Adelaide’s TV media covered the matter of the demolition works at Adelaide Oval and the $535m upgrade. By way of background, Adelaide United through owner Robert Gerard recognised an opportunity to improve facilities at Hindmarsh by reusing the sails/covers that were at Adelaide Oval. It was understood that significant engineering reports would be necessary, however the building schedule over ruled that possibility with the AFL Season in 2014 the overriding factor.
Adelaide United CEO Glenn Elliott has answered questions regarding the club-s request to utilise the sails/covers at Adelaide Oval Chappell Stands, which are being dismantled as part of the ground-s redevelopment.
TV Reporters: How disappointing was it to be given the brush off in terms of trying to retrieve the sales from the Chappell Stands?
Glenn Elliott (GE): It is disappointing because Hindmarsh is a north south facing complex and shade on the eastern grandstand would have been fantastic, especially for what is now a summer sport in the A-League.
Obviously Rob Gerard issued a very strongly worded letter to Pat Conlon – do you sum it up as just bloody mindedness or wastage or haste to get the Adelaide Oval redevelopment underway?
GE: I guess that people are going to be in a better position to judge that than me, but the origin of it came up in a February board meeting here where Rob Gerard had met at the cricket with Ian McLachlan and Pat Conlon and made a suggestion that the sails would look terrific down here at Hindmarsh and what a terrible waste it would be if they weren-t utilized. But they were under SACA-s ownership and SACA have said it would hold the project up too much.
So you have missed the window if it was open at all?
GE: Well it sounds very much like it now, the salvage company have certainly moved as I understand it to just tear them down.
When you see or hear that the sails are basically just lying ripped to shreds under a pile of rubble, does that make it even worse that they-re being used for nothing?
GE: It-s beyond us to comment on that other then the fact we registered interest following advice from the two relevant people and now that opportunity has passed.
Did you have expert engineering advice that the sails could have worked at Hindmarsh Stadium? What would it have meant to Hindmarsh Stadium to have the sails there?
GE: It would have been fantastic! Hindmarsh is a wonderful stadium, especially during summer. If we had those sails pitched on the eastern side of the ground, not only would it have made Hindmarsh a far more appealing place, practically it would have been fantastic. But you-re right about engineering works and things like that, it may well have taken some time but it-s too late now.
When you see the amount of tax payer money the government is putting into basically improving cricket and football at Adelaide Oval and you-re being charged a fortune to operate here and you-re not even able to use a second hand tarpaulin, are you starting to feel a bit like the poor cousin of South Australian sport?
GE: It-s interesting to see the mix of things over the journey now, but we would love to see Hindmarsh as a state of the art facility. I mean it is the home of football or soccer in this State and it really has its spiritual home here and we would like to see the place improve, not only for players but supporters. This is a massive participation sport and everyone who is in South Australia associated with the sport regards Hindmarsh as home.
Could you update us on were you are at with the stadium deal? Has there been any movement or changes there?
GE: It-s an ongoing issue for us and as I said before, we only want to play here at Hindmarsh but this is also a business so you have to make economic decisions that make sense, so hopefully we move towards that but it-s a drawn out saga.
So there is every chance you might be finding a new home?
GE: I wouldn-t go that far. Everyone associated with the code wants football played here and this is the home of football and this is where we want to be.
Do you see the irony with soccer being in this predicament when the government is prepared to use half a billion dollars of tax payers- money to find a new home for Aussie Rules?
GE: We understand the economic implications of a redeveloped Adelaide Oval, but likewise there is also a strong economic argument for Adelaide United here. If Adelaide United wasn-t here and wasn-t thriving, there is probably about 15-20 million dollars of economic benefit which disappears out of this State.
The issue of Adelaide United and Hindmarsh should never be restricted to a single match day figure. It-s all of the visiting teams, the associated wages, the associated catering which benefits not only the government but the State of SA as an entity, so the economic argument that has been applied to Adelaide Oval equally applies to this club and what it brings to this State, and I think it should be explored more thoroughly than has been the case to date.