Sunday, August 22, 2010

When East Fife announced a few days ago that they were planning on moving to a new state of the art stadium, the plan was met by both excitement and suspicion from the Fife faithful.

With the news coming just weeks after the Club announced at their open day the plan to expand the current ground, many have been wondering what is behind this sudden quick change of plan, who will benefit most from it and how East Fife will be left after it is all done, if indeed it ever does see the light of day.

As we said on Wednesday, we're quite happy to move from the current ground and we were cautiously optimistic about the whole plan in light of seeing the exact plans for it. Well now we have these plans and having seen them, frankly, this seems like pure pie in the sky.

Here's the initial artist renderings of the new site:



Many thanks to St Pauli Fifer for snagging these for AFTN. They're a little bit blurry in places, but you get the gist. You can view bigger versions of both images by clicking them.

Before we look at all the nonsense surrounding the ground (ponds and fun fair rides FFS), let's look at the plans for the actual stadium itself.

It's very disappointing initially. It looks like a 2000 capacity home stand, a 1000 capacity away stand and bugger all else. There is scope there for some terracing but not plans by the looks of it at this stage. For that reason, it is imperative that we continue to lobby the Club and make representations through the East Fife Supporters Trust on this matter.

After all, it just looks like we are making the move for the sake of an extra 1000 seats that we don't actually need 99% of the time. So why make the move? What is actually in it for East Fife? We already own our current stadium outright and it is in a better position transportwise. Some things just don't seem to add up at this early stage.

There's all this nonsense about being ready for a potential SPL2. So that means we're planning on being ready for a League that doesn't exist and basing our entry to this non existant League on a criteria that also doesn't exist yet!

I think if we were to get terracing and a proper four sided stadium out of all this, it would be an easier sell to the majority of fans. I could live with the people making money out of our move if we get what we, as fans, want out of it. If we don't, then as we've said, what is behind moving us? It's certainly wouldn't look like it was for the benefit of East Fife Football Club.

Looking at the plans for the overall non footballing part of the complex, it's very fanciful to say the least. I think all that's missing from the renderings are the unicorns and the magical forest.

Restaurants (notice the plural), lodges, water features, funfair rides, a supermarket, retail space, crafts (wtf?!), picnic area and an academy of sport (I take it this is the college they were referring to in the initial announcement).

Yes this would revitalise the local community but does the local community actually want this in the first place? How is this all going to be funded? Are partners already in place? How much of this is going to get approved by Fife Council and how much of it will ever see the light of day?

Are we going to be left with just a new stadium and training pitches, very little different to our current one, and possibly a supermarket? That's my current fear, as it would make the whole move pointless.

Remember when we moved to the new ground? We were promised a revitalised marina and docks area. Twelve years on and we're still waiting.

The old adage "if something smells like shite and looks like shite, then it's probably shite" is all I can think of here.

I await for the Club to prove me wrong. I'd love to have East Fife playing at this venue (ground changes as outlined above in place). If the Club pull it off then they deserve the biggest pat on the back in the Club's history.

In the meantime, more and more doubts are being raised by the fans and more questions are being asked surrounding the reasons behind it all.

The only people that can allay these fears are the Board themselves. They don't have our trust for various reasons and they need to earn it. They can start by having some frank dialogue and meeting the fans to discuss these plans. Preferably sooner, rather than later, and preferably before the plans are submitted to Fife Council.

Interesting times ahead. Let's hope things don't take some horrible turns on the way.

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