Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue: Auckland's waterfront stadium has to happen


Seize the moment, Auckland. You don't often get second chances in life, but the Queen City is being given a royal opportunity to get the sports stadium it deserves, wants, and desperately needs.

Close your eyes and think of the amazing Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and the fantastic sport and atmosphere that comes booming out of that amazing place. Now open the eyes and make it happen in our city.

I could go on about the nitty gritty here, but this is a big picture moment that can launch the Blues and Warriors into a new era, and bring spectacular football entertainment to the city. And imagine watching the All Blacks in the atmosphere that envelops State of Origin games in Brisbane.

The central part of Auckland has already lifted itself out of the doldrums, but a mighty stadium built for the people rather than a few towering egos would be the crown jewel.
We've got two lessons worthy of quick study - the previous stadium debate prior to the 2011 World Cup, and the limp flap over the national flag.

The lesson is this: muddled debates favour the status quo. Revolution doesn't get run out of town, it gets posted out in a hundred different pieces.

None of the Auckland football stadiums come close to providing the fans with the the modern sporting experience. They are incomplete, jerry-built, poorly designed, badly placed testaments to public policy gone badly wrong.

The rest of the world was knocking down arenas like Eden Park decades ago. And no self respecting footy city would have put up Mt Smart Stadium in the first place.

What lies ahead for Eden Park, who would know. It has great history, which is where it belongs. But as I said, this is not the moment for sweating the detail.

Warriors boss Jim Doyle says a stadium would be great for the CBD. Picture / File
Warriors boss Jim Doyle says a stadium would be great for the CBD. Picture / File

New Regional Facilities Auckland boss Chris Brooks appears to be doing his best to unlock the door. The rest of us need to barge on through, as a city united by a dream.
Look ahead, to the buzz of a properly shaped football ground, something that could be an architectural masterpiece.

In all seriousness, I've yet to meet a sports fan who doesn't want a new stadium in the CBD, who doesn't think Auckland made the stuff up of all stuff ups prior to the 2011 rugby tournament. Most of those people scratch their heads and mutter "what went wrong - why didn't we do the obvious".

It's time for leaders to lead. Tough decision will have to be made. But this is the time for vigorous, clear headed and dynamic leaders to step forward.

Stand on a podium, and announce it is going to happen. Many of of us are waiting, desperately, to fall in behind. If we get it wrong again, what are the odds on a third chance?

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue writes about a wide range of sports for the New Zealand Herald. He has covered numerous sporting events for the Herald including Rugby World Cups and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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