Its time to finish Hindmarsh Stadium

Who can forget how much SA Premier Mike Rann and the Adelaide Advertiser moaned about the cost of Hindmarsh Stadium. The Stadium became a political football regularly hitting the front page of the Adelaide Advertiser. It was the scandal of the day.

Only this week his counterpart in Victoria – Premier Steve Bracks announced a new rectangular stadium for Melbourne – at a cost of $190m.

Lets look at the numbers:

Hindmarsh Stadium = 16000 seats = $41m cost = $2562 per seat.

New Melbourne Stadium = 20,000 seats = $190m cost = $9500 per seat.

These numbers put to rest the debate over the cost of Hindmarsh Stadium.

If the money had been redirected into hospitals and schools , as wanted by Mike Rann at the time, the $41m would now be gone. Instead South Australia has a world class rectangular sporting stadium at almost a quarter of the cost per seat of the new Melbourne stadium and one that will continue to provide benefits to the community for many many many years to come.

I can accept that there were political reasons for Mike Rann sinking his boots into Hindmarsh Stadium. But Mike Rann claims to be a local football fan (and a long suffering Charlton fan). Now that he has been re-elected with a large majority – maybe it is time to follow the lead of his fellow Premier in Victoria – Steve Bracks – and deliver something small for local football. Just maybe it is time to finish Hindmarsh Stadium.

Lets be honest here – Hindmarsh Stadium has not been finished. The project cost cutting has left South Australia with a 95% completed stadium. The main outstanding items are:

1) Covering the Stands
Three of the four stadiums remain uncovered. To add to wet weather woes – the main stand may be covered but the roofing only protects approximately 50% of the seats from the rain. When the rain falls 75% of the spectators have to head home.

The original stadium drawings had the Manton Street stand covered with a sail roof in a similar fashion to the new Adelaide Oval stands. However somewhere along the sails were cut from the project.

2) Stadium Sound System
The sound system is woefully inadequate. So much so that at every major game a temporary sound system has to be brought in. It is a ridiculous situation for the sidelines of the ground to be cluttered with the speakers and cables from a temporary speaker setup.

3) Scoreboard
What more needs to be said about the scoreboard – for starters a quarter of the ground can not see it. Those that can see it are embarrassed by the 1970’s technology on display when every other major sporting ground in Australia can boast a modern video screen. South Australia may boast about being a technology state but that certainly does not extend to the scoreboard.

4) Ground Entry
The ground ticket booths cannot cope with near capacity crowds. Time and time again large queues have turned many hundreds away from Hindmarsh Stadium. With Adelaide United MkI this was acceptable because its popularity was a surprise packet. The problem should have been solved by Adelaide United MkII but it wasn’t. Now Adelaide United MkIII is coming and it is time to get it right. It is a known problem and there will be no valid excuses for not fixing the problem.

Come on Mike Rann – it is about time you stop talking about being a football fan and actually do something concrete for local football. Finishing Hindmarsh Stadium would be a good place to start.

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