Writer: Site Staff
Date:Tuesday October 20 2009
From Vital England:
Bristol is one of 16 cities currently vying to be one of the final 12 selected as host cities for England's world cup bid, but what does it have to offer?
We find out, as we ask Tins what they think it can bring to the table for the world cup bid...
1) Bristol has applied to be a host city, what are the pros of this?
Bristol is a region immersed in sport at every level and we are passionate about the opportunity to bring the World Cup to Bristol and the West Country (asides from some Gas-heads that is). The obvious pro of bringing the World Cup to town is money but it would mean far more than that to us.
We already possess a vibrant, international city boasting major cultural venues, loads of historic buildings, a new £500 million shopping and leisure quarter and plenty of green open spaces in the heart of the city but we lack the international profile to sell it to tourists. To put it simply, we're not on the map at the moment.
We are a better connected city than people think, served by two motorways, an international airport less than a 15 minute drive from the centre of town and excellent rail links across the UK and Europe. The World Cup would put Bristol in the spotlight and with this sort of infrastructure already in place, this would surely act as a catalyst for the region to really kick on and develop.
Our new ground is to be built at a place called Ashton Vale, less than a quarter of a mile from Ashton Gate, and will form the centrepiece of Bristol's bid. As this would be a new build, there would be hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs created by the development and the plans for the site are designed to encourage the revival of South Bristol and the surrounding areas.
We also possess state-of-the-art training facilities all over town, many of which have been used as a base for cricket and rugby teams in their respective World Cup's before. The city is a favourite with top athletes as well. This experience can only get better if we're successful.
I also suspect that the World Cup coming to Bristol would also inspire two of England's most underachieving footballing teams to greater things. The raised profile of both City and Rovers can only be good in terms of attracting better quality players and help shrug the false reputation Bristol has as a rugby town out on a limb.
Despite what people outside the city may perceive as a bit of a footballing backwater, the people of Bristol, and the South-West on the whole, deserve to be part of the bid to try and would be an excellent host city should we the bid be successful.
2) And the cons?
As a cynical Bristol City fan, the obvious con is that we'll be left with yet another soulless bowl after the tournament ends but our Chairman Steve Lansdown ensures that we can downgrade the capacity of Ashton Vale if we're not in a position to sustain those sort of attendances at the time. The pro's far outweigh the cons though, for both club and city.
3) Is Ashton Gate up to the task of staging a world cup game at the moment - if not will it come 2018/2022?
As it stands, I would say no. As much as I love Ashton Gate it is a tired, old beauty of a stadium but Bristol City are expected to be granted planning permission next month for a new 30,000 all-seater stadium. The plan is for this to be expanded to 42,000 to meet FIFA's regulations providing the bid is successful. The new ground is expected to be fully operational by the start of the 2011/12 season.
4) What is Bristol most famous for?
Oscar-winning actor Cary Grant originates from Bristol, comedian Justin Lee-Collins is supposedly a City fan and the lead singer of trip-hop band Massive Attack - Rob Del Naja - occasionally helps his dad run a superb cider pub near Ashton Gate. Then there's the iconic landmarks like the Clifton Suspension Bridge and SS Great Britain, the Balloon Fiesta, Wallace and Gromit, Vicky Pollard, Lee Evans, the best cider in the country, Banksy's globally renowned graffiti plus a wealth of porn stars come from down here too!
5) What would it mean to you to see the world cup converge on Bristol if successful?
It would be humungous for us. The city's already got everything in place to pull this off (bar the new ground of course) and it would definitely boost our profile as a city and a club. We would see a lot more of much-needed, sustainable tourism into the city and, as mentioned before, hundreds of new jobs would also be created if we were chosen to be a host city. It would be a massive boost to the local economy.
6) Come on, hand on heart, tinted specs off, totally unbiased view will Bristol be successful with the host city bid?
Rose tinted specs or not, there's no doubt Bristol would be a hugely successful host city!
Having been in Germany for the duration of the 2006 World Cup, I know what's required from a host city and Bristol would put on a great show, especially if we had good weather like we did for Euro '96. We've got plenty of central areas that would be ideal for a fans fest and the new ground will be fairly central to the city as well as being on the main road to the airport. We're totally geared up for something like this.
My only personal moan is that I'd rather we, as a club, chose the more expensive option of redeveloping Ashton Gate as opposed to moving into a new soulless bowl that seems to be the norm with new stadiums nowadays. Sadly, that's not an option though.
7) Most importantly, do you think that England will be successful with the 2018/2022 world cup bid anyway?
Not if Jack Warner's to be believed! No, seriously, we stand a great chance of getting it with the stadia, road/rail links and the sheer passion we as a nation have for the game. We're one of only a handful of nations who could hold a World Cup at the drop of hat given our organisation and infrastructure. It just remains to be seen if the world wants to carry on the Eurovision-style bias against us or give us a break for once!
8) Anything else you want to add?
Bristol should be chosen as a host city. Make no bones about it! It blows Milton Keynes, Plymouth and Hull out of the water.
Text BRISTOL to 62018 NOW to show your support.
More information can be found at http://www.bristol2018.net/.
Full article: England - What Bristol has to offer.
Date:Tuesday October 20 2009
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