All the stars; Mike Whitby, Paul Tilsley, Martin Mullaney, Cameron Jerome and Martin Taylor and avid Blue nose, comedian Jasper Carrott. Former Villa player, Ian Taylor, current Villa defender Carlos Cuellar, arch Villans, Phil Etheridge lead singer of Birmingham based indie rock band The Twang, and Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer, Kit Holder. Birmingham City FC Ladies Team Centre Forward Cristina Torkilsden as well as Jabbar Khan manager of Lasan Indian Restaurant were out in Victoria square today to promote “backing Birmingham” as a host city for any potential 2018 World Cup in England.
Um, like it wouldn’t be anyway?
A World Cup requires — FIFA say —12 to 18 stadiums capable of seating at least 40,000 spectators each (England are going for 11 cities, 12 stadiums). Only one city is allowed more that one stadium — and we’re betting that’s London (come on, sure we are). So perhaps Birmingham might well be in with a shout — consider that there are only ten football grounds that would be able to host a World Cup were it tomorrow:
Three – Wembley, Arsenal’s Emirates and Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge are in London, two are in Manchester, two are in Liverpool.
Which actually leaves only seven stadia (in six cites) able to host games at the moment — Villa Park is one.
Yes, there will be building, yes there will be ground improvements — but can you really see any English bid going far beyond London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, erm Birmingham — five cities in and we’re struggling. If there’s any debate it’s said to be between which south coast city would get the nod (and the inevitable stadium that its teams will struggle to fill).
So it’s lovely that ” Marketing Birmingham, Birmingham City Council, the city’s three main football clubs and the NEC” have all come together to waste time “bidding” — and it’s great that they’ll have something positive to say about football, especially the week before the hand-wringing that will follow any hint of trouble at the Blues Villa game —but all it is is another reception, or series of receptions, putrid red wine and dry canapés for council leaders who must crave eating sitting down at some point.
I’m tempted to say that far from any online vote “count[ing] towards the city’s chances of being selected” that any sensible bid team, would spend more time looking at facilities. Ours would apparently include stranding travelling fans out by the NEC — nice. I’m also tempted to vote for the most obscure place possible (Walsall?) just to see what happens.
Just for once couldn’t we have just faxed the FA a note saying. “course we will, will you be needing Jasper to host anything? What time do you want the pubs shut?” — just once couldn’t the council not be drawn to the oxygen of the “bid”.
Couldn’t the media report it with anything less than breathless excitement — “oooooh it’s just like the cocking X Factor for sporting venues”.
I bloody love football, and Birmingham could do everything that towns in Germany did last time the World Cup was around — I was in our sister city Frankfurt watching England and it was great (apart from the Budweiser and the actual football).
We would be a great venue, but seriously who is a bidding process serving?
If anyone can give me an answer that doesn’t include “we’ve got to” or “everyone else is” then I’ll be eternally grateful.