Friday, 11 March 2016

New permanent stand will change the feel of Dean Court

The unveiling of the new South stand plans and ground expansion at Dean Court have been welcomed and it is another bit of recognition that AFCB are moving forward. Having almost had a first full season in the Premier League and not yet having improved the ground, it is the next step that we have all waited to hear and work is likely to get going as soon as the whistle is blown at the last home fixture against WBA.
AFCB photo: New look south stand - computer generated. But you can expect
to see it in reality at the start of the 2016-17 season.
What the pictures don't tell you is what it is going to be like sitting in a stadium with one end enclosed at the corners. It is going to make a difference to the noise and the atmosphere and that should be for the good. Dean Court will be seen to grow up I suppose for fans who have dreamt of the day when the capacity was lifted well above the current 11, 464 seats. It will certainly beat sitting in the old three stand stadium when the wind blew right through you! On Thursday AFCB fans will be able to take a closer look at what the South stand might look like and it is tempting to wander what the future might bring in terms of ground development if the extra seats are quickly filled, which I imagine they will be.

Would you like to see another tier on the Main stand or a redeveloped North stand? It is difficult to know what might be possible with building regulations at Dean Court and of course there are near by local residents, as well as the local council and freeholder views that have an impact on what a future Dean Court might look like. While development seems the way forward at the present it has quelled any immediate thoughts of a ground relocation. But some infrastructure considerations might be the next challenge if more fans means more cars and better access from the ground is required.

AFCB have publicly stated that the current leasehold situation suits the club and while more money will come into the coffers it may not be of much benefit for the club to own the ground if it sees no hurdles being put up against ground expansion. Who knows what level of spending clubs will do in the summer with the new TV money coming into the Premier League and how much AFCB will need to invest just to stand still in this league.

For those that scoffed though at AFCB being unable to compete in the Premier League with such a small ground they have been proved well and truly wrong. Big stadiums do not always go hand in hand with success - ask fans of Wigan Athletic and Coventry City, etc. Still, I think it is a positive move for more fans to see the games and hopefully more season ticket holders will result that will close the match day financial gap a little in terms of revenue on some of the smaller clubs in the Premier League, even if the Cherries still have some way to go before reaching a capacity of 18,000, which is probably possible in the next few years.

There is a Twitter poll on the ground expansion - see @CherryChimes tweets to vote.

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