Missing out on the stadium would be scoring an own goal

Cartoon: Charlotte Fairclough

Cartoon: Charlotte Fairclough

I cannot emphasise my disinterest in sports enough. This is largely due to a general sporting ineptitude. The thought of match days – whether that be football, rugby, tennis – fills me with as much excitement as a being faced with an Excel spreadsheet full of statistics on the annual expenditure of a paper production company. And yet, I find myself excited about the potential of a football stadium being built near the Hes. East campus.

“You are contradicting yourself!” I hear you cry. But really – there are numerous benefits, even for those who are thoroughly disinterested in the sporting world. To start, it would mean that we could actually have a venue for the Freshers’ and Summer Balls, in close proximity to campus, which acts would consider a ‘valid’ venue to turn up to perform at. If we can secure the attendance of a headlining act, surely that’s a win-win situation? If, like myself, you didn’t stick around long enough to see Ironik grace the Racecourse stage as a replacement for Wiley, Eoghan Quigg remains the Freshers’ Ball headliner that we all conveniently glazed over when telling the tale of Freshers’ Week to friends back home. The potential of that alone honestly makes me near jubilous.

University of York students could also use the York City Stadium facilities, a fantastic prospect given the state of our sports centre. The conference rooms would be beneficial as well; perhaps a partnership with the stadium would mean that some of the summer conferences could be held there and our term dates can be normalised, and no more watching as friends flock back across the country, whilst still sitting at home.

The University “blocked” the proposal made by the Council to consider building the stadium near the Heslington East campus. For whatever reason, perhaps they haven’t fully considered the positive qualities the stadium would bring to the University. Although it would not be built on Hes. East itself, they would undoubtedly advertise it in the prospectus as an asset of attending the University of York. They manage to promote the city’s ‘St. Nicholas Fayre’ as a plus point about the University, so a stadium would surely do wonders for the university’s status.

At the UGM last Thursday, things got a little heated over this motion. Disagreement amongst Union Officers (Democracy and Services and Student Activities vs President and York Sport President-elect) and other students made a painstakingly long agenda bearable. The opposition to the stadium generally noted that it would be extremely “detrimental to the lives of students on campus”, but that’s overly cynical and conservative. It chiefly focuses on avoiding negativity over the potential for positive improvements to our own university.

Of course, all of these plans and proposals are, unfortunately, only hypothetical. If the main grounds for objection remain based upon the disruption of on-campus students, then that evaluation needs a dose of perspective. I have been informed that most major matches are played on weekends, therefore the stadium would only affect the summer term exam study period in terms of noise pollution.

Surely putting up with a bit of noise is worth avoiding another terrible lineup for the Balls, no?

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