The powers that be at Elland Road have once again decided to host a rugby match there. This time round it’ll be the final of the Gillette Four Nations, which will see Australia, England, France (apparently they’re a rugby league super power?) and New Zealand go head-to-head.

The final will be held on the lush, perfectly maintained surface of Elland Road halfway through a league campaign on November the 14th. This is where my problem lies. It’s not that I don’t think Leeds United should use the stadium to generate as much revenue as possible, but Leeds United will always be the main source of income and for me, staging a rugby match there effects the quality of the surface LUFC have to play on.

If the quality of the surface is degraded, then the quality of the games we pay to watch will suffer too. The holes left in the pitch will stop the ball running smoothly and we’ll be left vulnerable to the teams that play the route one game more effectively than we do.

I know it sounds like I’m whining and I have to admit I have very little interest in rugby. If this is such a massive game then whats wrong with the national stadium? Isn’t that what Wembley was built for afterall? I’m guessing they’re using Elland Road because they don’t think they’ll fill Wembley, but there’s plenty of other grounds around this country they could use instead. What’s wrong with Headingly – Leeds’ rugby stadium?

Say Leeds stand to make £5 a ticket – which is a generous estimate at best. That’s only £200,000 assuming the stadium sells out. Is it really worth destroying the pitch for such a small sum?

Out of season, they can do what they like at Elland Road. They can do whatever they like mid-season too so long as it doesn’t effect Leeds United. The Kaiser Chiefs gig was a prime example of Elland Road’s potential and these are the kind of opportunites the club should seek in the future. Especially since the Leeds Arena still hasn’t been built.

Added a poll in the interests of democracy and feel free to comment as always – although in all honesty, I’ve had this debate with friends a few times and have yet to change my stance. Rant over – for now.

Expiring 2013: Who would you retain?

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12 Responses

  1. Keep This Shed White

    You must be running out of topics to write this, either that or you’ve gone soft. Rugby has been played on our pitch before without much trouble. And didn’t you watch the Rhino’s victory last week at Old Trafford? Can’t say I heard much whinging from that lot over the hills. Don’t forget some of the best football we ever saw was played ankle deep in mud or on rock hard pitches covered in straw. Come on, you’ll be calling in Health and Safety next.

    • TSS

      Haha. I did see last weeks match, but failed to see the point of it. If Leeds had already won the league, they were champions anyway. Seems pointless.

      Not run out of topics, just hate the state the pitch is always in the week after. It tends to lead to a slow and depressing match with the ball being launched from one end to the other as the players tire of trying to scrap it out by passing.

      As for Health & Safety. Don’t you think we have enough problems at Elland Road with the stewards, lets not bring them in as well.

  2. bogdan

    This being rugby league and not rugby union, I think it’s obvious why Wembley doesn’t even come into consideration, with it being a Northern England based sport. Also, I wouldn’t call £200,000 a small sum, even though you’re right it’s an enthusiastic estimate. For a one night event, even half that would be quite decent. Between this being an international event and Leeds being the powerhouse of English representatives in this sport, a prime location was probably deemed necessary for hte game and it’s an honour to some extent to have ER host it.

    Also, and apologies for being pedantic on this one, “effect” as a verb is quite different in meaning to the purpose you’re using it for. The staging of the match might “affect” and not “effect” the quality of the pitch. Just a widely-spread mistake that wouldn’t hurt to be cut down :D

  3. Hunters Boots

    A good article once more TSS. I think it is also a disgrace inviting rugby to ER at a crucial point in the season. In fact it could be our most crucial season, full stop. Again the ER management seem insensitive to anything that can damage our progress for the chance to make a quick buck. However, the maths and reason do add up.

    Selling players for the short term financial gain is one thing but selling our turf down the river is plain neglegence by the Board it seems. It does prompt the idea though that it, the staging of the event, could also have a political content. The LUFC board have been desperate to impress upon the LCC that LUFC can play a part in the diverse needs of the city to gain financial help ( the purchase of TA, and possibly ER). The international rugby tournament is the type of prestigious event that the LCC are keen to use to promote the profile of the city. The meeting of the disparate games in the ER theatre does not look on that perspective so absurd a decision by Bates and co as at first glance.

    I think, and I may be wrong, that you may have misjudged the rugby paying public on the prices for entry. Leeds Rhino fans pay anything between £20 and £30 pounds to watch their sport. This could yield a potential £1 million pounds per game; the cost of a new pitch is around £100k, that might be in the plan. So maybe, just maybe, they have calculated the risks.I am sure there will be polarized views on this argument but it is worth a thought.

    • TSS

      Hi Hunter’s Boots,
      The ticket prices have already been announced at £20 adults, £10 concessions. Even if they’re all adults, that’s £800,000. Each team will get a cut for appearing in it, the RL governing body will no doubt take a cut and I’m sure there’s others too.

      Then you have to take into account the matchday expenses incurred. I think £200,000 is an over-estimate if anything. I also doubt anyone at LUFC has given a moments thought to the state of the pitch afterwards. Except the poor groundsmen that’ll after deal with the aftermath that is.

      If all the money from the gate receipts was going to LUFC – which is impossible, or there’d be no point the teams playing in it, they play for money afterall – then i’d reluctantly support the decision, but it just doesn’t seem a worthwhile risk at such a crucial stage of the season.

  4. Hunters Boots

    Before you get me Bogdan, I know the spelling of neglegence is wrong, should have been negligence, oops.

    • bogdan

      Hah, no worries I don’t hunt for spelling, my previous observation was just based on the recurrence of a common mistake. Everyone’s prone to mistake.

      By the way, good point and fully agree with one of the reasons behind the game being the attempt from the club to prove we can successfully host big(ger) events. And it’s probably not for LCC’s eyes alone, with the city due to be part of the football World Cup bid it’s probably bits like these that get added up to the bigger file.

  5. Hunters Boots

    Hi TSS.
    I had no idea the prices had already been set. If it was the case we are to make very little revenue from this exercise then Bates, I am sure, would have no part in it. Therefore it could still be a political move to court the LCC who crave high profile tournaments like this to bolster, if nothing else, their bid for the future 2018 world cup.


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