Letter: Aiming too low

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The Independent Online
Sir: I write to add a further point to the all-seat stadium/ground improvement debate, that of low capacities. I accept the point that capacities will be reduced while redevelopment continues but I wonder if final capacities are illustrative of not just a lack of space but rather pessimistic planning.

Last week, I stood in various queues around QPR's ground in an ultimately frustrated bid to gain entrance for the match with Liverpool (18 August). I, along with several hundred (possibly thousand) others, was turned away. I live locally but many of those left wandering the streets of W12 had travelled down from Merseyside. The next day I was interested to note the attendance was 19,000. Do QPR so rarely expect to achieve this number that they should not plan for it?

Given the team's current flourishing performances and acclaimed style of play, I would expect them to be involved in several big, high interest games which will attract not just their usual support but also large numbers of casual followers. Similarly Newcastle have been forced by demand to make every game all-ticket. On completion, I believe their ground will have a capaicty of 40,000. Surely there is scope for this figure to be regularly exceeded given the level of interest.

I acknowledge and applaud current stress on safety and realise that some clubs are limited by space, but I believe that some clubs should speculate with optimism and plan for gates they know they can achieve, perhaps not every week but regularly.

Yours faithfully,

PHILIP WATSON

21 August

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