In a move sure to send shock waves through the sport, Leigh Sporting Village, home stadium of the Leigh Centurions rugby league football club, announced its intention to relocate to another town after the Centurions’ relegation blighted season.
“The thoughts of coach full of pot-noodle crazed student from London … well I just feel I deserve better that’s all and that’s why I’ve instructed my estate agents to locate alternative sites.”
LSV, as the progressively modern stadium prefers to be known, confessed to our reporter:
“Here I am a modern state of the art facility, loitering on the outskirts of a small town in Wigan. And now after a terribly disappointing season from my tenants, Leigh Centurions, I will have to endure the delights of third tier rugby next season.
“And we know what that means. The thoughts of coach full of pot-noodle crazed student from London … well I just feel I deserve better that’s all and that’s why I’ve instructed my estate agents to locate alternative sites.”
The stadium, part of a sporting village complex that houses a hotel and leisure centre, with ample parking for visitors, clearly has a point here. The Centurions, despite openly planning for an engage Super League future, have slumped to relegation and will play in the Co-operative Championship One next season.
But not even the arrival of controversial Australian coach, Ian Millward, is sufficient to placate LSV as it seeks a move to a more lucrative environment where it feels it can attract not only the on-field success, but also the crowds, it so clearly craves.
“That’s quite true,”
“I’ve currently got capacity for about 10,000 people but even on a good day I rarely get even halfway full. Mostly it’s just the same 1,500 or so regulars. They’re nice folk – apart from that couple in row Z – but I want more than that. I was built for more than that.
“Look, I try hard, even to the extent of putting on pre-game entertainment. Our post-modern performances of seventies rock anthems is the best you’ll hear … on a Sunday … in the North West … of Manchester. Probably.
“I’ve been told I’ve got lovely seats and great views. I’ve even got a whole touchline stand that could be full of corporate boxes for the prawn sandwich brigade, if only I had the location to attract them. That’s what it’s about you know, location.”
LSV isn’t short of options either. Already there have been tentative enquiries from a brownfield site outside of Castleford in West Yorkshire and from a small car park in St Helens. But nothing is concrete so far and Sporting Club Leigh are hoping to persuade LSV to stick with it for one more season.
“Look, we’ve made no decisions, but I’m pretty adamant at the moment that I’m moving”.
“I’d like to stay in rugby league of course, but there’s also the union option. I’ve loads of space for their over-sized in-goal areas and my cousin in Cheshire has already spoke with the Edgley Road (home of the Sale Sharks and Stockport County), which apparently is sick of the kick-and-clap brigade and longs for a return to the glory days of the County.”
“If Edgley is feeling over worked than I’d be happy to help out,”
adds LSV with a mischievous grin.
So will LSV turn to the dark-side and move to the Cheshire-set? Or will it move west to settle in Scouseland, providing a home for the Saints?
“No, I don’t think St Helens is an option,”
LSV says sadly.
“Great team but could YOU put up with that accent? Get’s mi down it does. Makes me feel all itchy round my turnstiles. No offence but I think that the scouse option is out. Anyway my aunty Knowsley Road would be too upset if I pushed her out. She’s a grand old lady, bit doddery round the Grandstand admittedly, but still a great rugby atmosphere.
“Of course I might not stay in sport at all. My mate says I could do anything, even concerts and exhibitions. And then of course I might go down to London for the Olympics. I hear they’re looking for more than a few stadia there.”
Whatever happens, the fact that such a modern and forward thinking sports stadia is considering a drastic relocation is sure to bother the rugby football league, not something that worries LSV.
“Pah. Look if I worried about the RFL I probably wouldn’t even be here,”
“And anyway if it’s good enough for the Celtic Crusaders — they’ve moved from Celtic to Newport you know, without even changing names or anything — then I don’t see why the same shouldn’t apply to me … and to other ambitious stadiums like me.”
There was no comment from the RFL, although Celtic’s former stadium at Bridgend did say it would have liked to have gone to Newport too.
“Yes, that would have been nice, closer to England too, but no one invited me.”
Leigh’s directors, we understand, are busy making contingency plans to recruit another stadium if indeed LSV does move towns. However they denied rumours that they had tried to tempt Fartown out of retirement or that the LSV’s Auntie Knowsley Road might be tempted to move down the East Lancs Road; an option that would no doubt please the paint brush toting Ian Millward.
Article sponsored by waki-baki and inspired by The Onion; which ran one on a not unrelated theme that was much funnier.