Whether it is Everton and Liverpool and proposals to cohabit as an alternative to the clubs respective plans for separate stadiums, or prospective suggestions that West Ham and Tottenham should share the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games; the idea of ground-sharing is always latent in English football. Despite the economic advantages of ground-sharing, and high profile cases of stadium cohabitation across the world it is still somewhat of a taboo in England, here are some of the main arguments;
LOSS OF IDENTITY
Many fans believe that through ground-sharing, their clubs will lose a sense of separate identity. Although many fans understand the economic need to move stadiums, for most, a stadium to call their own is something that is intrinsically bound to their clubs identity, and through ground-sharing that identity is diluted with a rival club that previously would have formed a huge part of their identity through intense opposition.
SMALLER CLUB’S LOSS OF REVENUE
Ground-shares can also be detrimental to the ‘smaller’ (I use this term with trepidation) clubs, as the ‘smaller’ clubs can fail to market themselves and attract a larger fan base ground-sharing, as they are constantly caught in the shadow of their larger neighbour. Whereas with their own ground, they would be able to market themselves in a far more effective way. This would also be the case as the stadium would more commonly by known as the stadium of the ‘larger’ or more senior club, rather than a stadium which is jointly occupied.
SHARED STADIUMS ARE SHORT TERM FIXES
While a shared stadium may provide a short-term economic boost for both clubs involved, a ground-share can never provide the economic security a privately owned stadium can especially for a ‘junior’ partner or ‘smaller’ club, as has been seen with the Allianz Arena in Munich, where Bayern and 1860 shared the stadium, but then Bayern bought out 1860, who are now paying rent to their local rivals for a stadium they formerly were part owners of.
WHERE’S THE FUN?!
Part of the fun of a local derby, especially an away day, is walking into the nest of the local enemy, when a ground-share is involved, there would surely not be as much fun or passion involved, as you are essentially going to make the same journey you make the rest of the year, albeit sitting in a different seat.
Perhaps slightly off topic, and I’m sure around the world club sides who do ground-share cope with this problem, but if the ground staff at Wembley struggle to turn around a decent football pitch, with the prospect through the winter months of two games a week being played on a pitch that is shared (if both teams that share the pitch are in Europe) how will the pitch look by the end of February? Not conducive to playing football one would think.