Dylan Cleaver on sport

Sport analysis and comment from APN's Head of Sport Dylan Cleaver

Dylan Cleaver: Sporting venue lunacy being played by bureaucrats

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Small crowd at Eden Park, one of the world's worst. Photo / Greg Bowker
Small crowd at Eden Park, one of the world's worst. Photo / Greg Bowker

Oh what fun we're going to have in the City of Sales.

League to Eden Park, rugby to Waitakere Trusts, cricket to Western Springs, speedway to Mt Smart ... honestly, Auckland City Hall is the only place where this sort of lunacy could emanate.

Give a bureaucrat a zodiac chart, some sheep's entrails, a ouija board and a topographical map of the city and they suddenly think they have a mandate to make decisions on a subject they know absolutely nothing about.

The subject in their sights at the moment is sport.

Various councils have spent the past 30 years making astonishingly bad, short-sighted decisions on sports infrastructure in Auckland; those charged with righting the ship are contemplating compounding those mistakes by playing a game of musical stadiums.

Where is the fresh thinking here?

I'll tell you where. It's not coming out of the Super City, it's coming from those who actually care about sport.

People like Beige Brigade co-founder Mike Lane, Jeremy Wells and one of the architects of the Basin Reserve's transformation in the late-'70s, Andrew Collow. The one decent idea in all this muck was transforming Victoria Park into a test cricket venue that the city can be proud of (as it stands, Auckland and Eden Park is set to be embarrassed in front of a television audience of millions when England tour here in March and play on a ground officially rated as one of the worst in the world).

When the idea was mooted in the Herald we sought reader feedback and the response was overwhelmingly positive. To be facetious, but not necessarily inaccurate, the negative responses could be divided into three categories: those who vote Green, whose default setting to anything new is "no!"; those who hate the idea of Jeremy Wells, or more pertinently the idea that Jeremy Wells might actually have better ideas than them; and the odd Victoria Park Shih Tzu walker.

Auckland Cricket won't do it unless somebody pays them. It's selfish, but understandably so seeing as the Eden Park Trust Board is compelled to act in their best interests. The council, it appears, doesn't have the appetite to do anything but crunch some numbers and annoy the hell out of people that actually watch sport.

Oh well, maybe we'll leave it up to the next generation of bright, young things to fix our mess. We can take comfort in one thing - Cockle Bay will always have petanque.

- NZ Herald

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