Whitten Oval set to be revived

Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Posts
1,112
Likes
858
Location
Melbourne western region
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Bulldogs / Willy / Palace
#51
I know the romanticism of returning to the old suburban grounds appeals to many, but in reality the difficulty with situations like above I think would make supporters turn sour who are used to the easy access of Docklands/MCG matches for a generation.
Easy access to the 'G? I have given up driving to the 'G from the West, it's a nightmare. I now go by train (when trains stop at Richmond) and I will if and when footy returns to WO - same convenience with a station next door. Gotta ditch the car.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

whiskeytown

Club Legend
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Posts
2,066
Likes
2,718
AFL Club
Collingwood
#55
Where are people going to park? Or will parking fines pay for the rebuild?
Good question. Whatever parking at the ground should be prioritised for those who are elderly, disabled, etc... if there is a way of enforcing that.

As with the G and Marvel... the majority will make there way in by train
 

whiskeytown

Club Legend
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Posts
2,066
Likes
2,718
AFL Club
Collingwood
#56
Zero chance of this coming to fruition.

They've floated it with a much cheaper plan in mind so they can sell that to the government as a huge saving.
Why do you say zero chance? Andrews state govt spending 230mill upgrading Kardinia Park. Partly due to election pork barreling, but also so the stadium could host other sports, facilities, services a region, etc.

Whitten Oval plan similar
 

Roogal

Club Legend
Joined
Dec 7, 2016
Posts
1,109
Likes
2,030
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
North Ballarat Roosters
#57
It's aspirational and acheivable in consideration that it is linked to commercial residential development. The article and Western Bulldogs website indicates that this is linked to an AFLW hub as well as providing a venue for occasional season games. Of course there are a few conditons with this. Richmond (a much bigger and more influential club) proposed something similar at Punt Road four years ago. $150 million has to be sourced to build this facility when the AFL and State Government have already committed that Ikon Oval will be the AFLW headquarters. The State Government did at least state in their stadiums report last year that they would commit monies to upgrading Whitten Oval lighting, its scoreboard and female facilities which would cost $12 million.

The Bulldogs are already locked into another commitment in Ballarat and have so far had $22 million spent building Mars Stadium with another immediate $6 million about to be spent fixing issues with that first stage. The Bulldogs and the Ballarat Council are pushing for additional funding for a second stage that would boost capacity and facilities in this Victorian venue where as other AFL clubs are getting nowhere near that level of funding other than Geelong. Consider that apart from Geelong, no other team is getting exclusive funding to build boutique playing venues.

So the question is whether the government and the AFL are seriously going to provide significant funding to boost one of the smaller Victorian teams (the Bulldogs) by developing for them two exclusive Victorian based playing venues at Ballarat and Footscray in addition to their main venue at Marvel Stadium? ... or is this just a pie in the sky dream?

Don't rule it out, but I imagine that if Whitten Oval is redeveloped, that it will be significantly scaled down and more attuned to what is being developed at Arden Street and at Moorabbin. The State Government seem committed to supporting the Bulldogs development of Ballarat as a longer term Blundstone Arena sized venue with the Bulldogs committed to playing there at least until 2028.

844-howitt-street-wendouree-vic-3355-real-estate-photo-9-xlarge-12227664.jpg
 
Last edited:

Kwality

Brownlow Medallist
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Posts
17,209
Likes
5,568
Location
Tootgarook
AFL Club
West Coast
#60
Why? Didnt they just develop Mars Stadium not more than 2 years ago?

On SM-G960U1 using BigFooty.com mobile app
See this from this comprehensive post 2 or 3 above:

The Bulldogs are already locked into another commitment in Ballarat and have so far had $22 million spent building Mars Stadium with another immediate $6 million about to be spent fixing issues with that first stage. The Bulldogs and the Ballarat Council are pushing for additional funding for a second stage that would boost capacity and facilities in this Victorian venue where as other AFL clubs are getting nowhere near that level of funding other than Geelong.
Note that the AFL put $0.00 into the new stadium in WA, cant remember the stated reason exactly.
 

Rob

Brownlow Medallist
Joined
Nov 8, 2000
Posts
27,454
Likes
13,046
Location
South of the river
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Peel Thunder
#61
Why do you say zero chance? Andrews state govt spending 230mill upgrading Kardinia Park. Partly due to election pork barreling, but also so the stadium could host other sports, facilities, services a region, etc.

Whitten Oval plan similar
Nah. Firstly it's not hosting AFL games, secondly there's no votes in it like there is in Geelong. It's not like people that live in Footscray aren't adequately serviced by venues in central Melbourne.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Roogal

Club Legend
Joined
Dec 7, 2016
Posts
1,109
Likes
2,030
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
North Ballarat Roosters
#62
See this from this comprehensive post 2 or 3 above:



Note that the AFL put $0.00 into the new stadium in WA, cant remember the stated reason exactly.
And $0 into Adelade Oval, Kardinia Park, Mars Stadium, York Park, and the SCG. The AFL really will only fund things which promote their agenda and not a particular club's. Consider that North Melbourne had to recently fund the installation of lights and the construction of new AFLW nd VFL faciities at Arden Street entirely through members donating $10.5 million.

It would seem positively greedy for a small AFL club in Melbourne to be demanding tens of millions in addition to what they have already received from the government in developing facilities across three venues. Particuarly when others have to pay their own way.
 
Last edited:

Mr north man

All Australian
Joined
Mar 12, 2016
Posts
766
Likes
396
AFL Club
North Melbourne
#63
If this happens the Kangaroos should get on board as well and play a few home games there.
The board of the North Melbourne football club hasn't got the brains to think of something like that.
They will continue to play at 7 home games at Marvel the rest at Hobart.
Good luck to Footscray if this happens but with them already playing at Marvel and Mars stadium with see them all over the state.
 

Roogal

Club Legend
Joined
Dec 7, 2016
Posts
1,109
Likes
2,030
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
North Ballarat Roosters
#66
You need t
This will happen when the Bulldogs find the money themselves, which will be never.
Funding VU Whitten Oval re-development. We need to consider that to date some $5 million has already been spent upgrading VU WO ground already with new AFLW facilities and a new scoreboard completed. The funding for upgraded lighting was committed in the last State Budget and is yet to be effected. The government also released crown land to the Bulldogs to allow for expansion of facilities.

The WB FC propose to fund stage 2 which will increase ground capacity through the sale and disposal of their gaming machines while they will be seeking additional government assistance to fund expansion of their community access and VU facilities. It is proposed that the ground will be primarily a VFL and AFLW hub as well as the WBFC headquarters and training centre. Their website states that they see the ground being perhaps used to host one H&A game per season perhaps during the heritage round.

I think that it's feasible. Somebody asked here, and the Ballarat Newspaper (the Ballarat Courier) have asked what the impact of this would be potentially for Mars Stadium and the Bulldogs longer term commitment to Ballarat?

Implications for Ballarat. In short, the Bulldogs website re-inforces what the Ballarat Council's Community Development Director stated on Friday, that the Bulldogs are definitely commited to 2 H&A games in per season Ballarat at least until 2021 with the government last year announcing that they had secured the Bulldogs in Ballarat until 2028. The Bulldogs have re-affirmed their commitment to Ballarat as part of a long term plan to consolidate themselves as the primary AFL representative team in Western Melbourne and greater Western Victoria.

Mars Stadium development. The Whitten Oval re-development is independent of the Mars Stadium ongoing development. The State government provided $500,000 to the Ballarat Council in last years State Budget to complete a full feasibility report for further expansion of Mars Stadium. The council commissioned Price Waterhouse-Cooper Lawyers to conduct an independent study of the ground's usage and projected needs and to report their findings back to the council and government. The details of that report have been provided back to the State Government and it is believed to have provided a number of recommendations about future development of the ground.

I had a conversation with a Councillor in August last year who indicated that the report recommended expansion of ground lighting capacity, improvements to spectator amenities in the existing standing areas (toilets, ticketing, catering) as an immediate priority with an identified need to double existing covered seating capacity. The report further identified improving PT access with existing arrangements being considered inadequate. Essentially the State government have so far committed $6 million to address issues with the lack of amenities in the standing areas although funding has yet to be provided (likely forthcoming in the State budget). Ballarat will still need at least a further $20 million to expand its stands by several thousand and to boost lighting. The figure being unofficially quoted for Mars Stadium's next stage expansion will be for 16,000 capacity.
 

Rickee

Senior List
Joined
May 23, 2016
Posts
206
Likes
238
Location
Melbourne
AFL Club
St Kilda
Other Teams
Port Melbourne
#68
I wish we still had a few suburban Melbourne AFL grounds. Going to VFL games and soaking in the atmosphere is the absolute best.

In an ideal world, we would have 2-3 boutique 15-18,000 seat stadiums shared amongst the Melbourne based clubs. It's a pity a lot of clubs, including mine, redeveloped their grounds as training facilities and bulldozed all that history.
 

Roogal

Club Legend
Joined
Dec 7, 2016
Posts
1,109
Likes
2,030
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
North Ballarat Roosters
#69
Easy access to the 'G? I have given up driving to the 'G from the West, it's a nightmare. I now go by train (when trains stop at Richmond) and I will if and when footy returns to WO - same convenience with a station next door. Gotta ditch the car.
I think that you have validated the other guy's point. The MCG and Docklands are train accessible and PT friendly which is key to their appeal and success when compared with other big stadiums in Australia. Consider that one has to really go out of their way to access most of the big stadiums in Sydney, where-as in Melbourne, you can hop on a train anywhere from the Eastern or Northern suburbs and you are passsing through either Jolimont or Richmond, or hop on a train anywhere across Melbourne and stay on it long enough and you'll eventually pass through Spencer Street next to the Docklands.
 

Roogal

Club Legend
Joined
Dec 7, 2016
Posts
1,109
Likes
2,030
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
North Ballarat Roosters
#70
I wish we still had a few suburban Melbourne AFL grounds. Going to VFL games and soaking in the atmosphere is the absolute best.

In an ideal world, we would have 2-3 boutique 15-18,000 seat stadiums shared amongst the Melbourne based clubs. It's a pity a lot of clubs, including mine, redeveloped their grounds as training facilities and bulldozed all that history.
I suspect that many look back fondly on the old home grounds through rose coloured glasses. For the main part, they were aweful. Not enough toilets, you often stood shoulder to shoulder with people and had to have sharp elbows to get anywhere (to go to the toilet or to get food). Imagine that arrangement now with smokers being forced to leave the ground every time that they wanted to burst into flames? I remember the old grounds (with exception of Princess Park and Victoria Park) being characterised by only a couple of thousand seats at best, cold outer terraces, not enough toilets and being aweful for young kids to get a decent vantage point.

Consider that Whitten Oval back in its Home and Away days holds seven of the ten worst AFL attendance records for the last 30 years perhaps because of those factors that I have just described. Arden Street, Windy Hill, Moorabin, The Junction Oval, Lakeside Oval - they too were small, cramped and may have had their own unique atmosphere; they were aweful from a spectator perspective being characterised by lack amenities, non-existant parking and lack of protection for 90% of spectators from the elements. When it rained there were no lights to brighten the viewing experience (when it was dull it was DULL), the surfaces were often quagmires around the centre, and often by half time you could barely tell who was playing for which team.

Whitten (The Western) Oval had a well deserved reputation for being a hell hole of a ground. It was long and windy like Kardinia Park, had no protection for 80% of spectators as winds and rain hammered in from the South. It could be a thoroughly miserable experience on a cold and blustery day.
 

Rickee

Senior List
Joined
May 23, 2016
Posts
206
Likes
238
Location
Melbourne
AFL Club
St Kilda
Other Teams
Port Melbourne
#71
Maybe back in the 70's the old suburban grounds were like that, but the stadiums being constructed now are done so to meet the demands of the modern discerning fan who expects to be treated to more modern conveniences than the supporter of the past.
In addition, we have come a long way design wise since the days of one brick grand stand and concrete outer and a ground with no drainage or floodlights.

I'm certain nostalgia has made people remember the grounds of the past as a far better experience that they actually were, but that is no reason to dismiss redeveloping those grounds now to a modern standard and bringing back a small slice of that experience.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Posts
23,696
Likes
25,247
AFL Club
Fremantle
#72
No one is advocating hosting an AFL game at Princes Park next week.

People want a good mix of the heritage being in tact, and modern facilities.

It can definitely be done. There's quite a few boutique grounds that are regularly used (Ballarat, Hobart, Gold Coast) and that'd be the template.

When the Western Bulldogs came out with this new plan, I thought it was so dumb how they wanted to get rid of the cool old grandstands. When people think of going to these old traditional grounds, people want to see the stands they saw as kids or to walk into proper grandstands. You can definitely accommodate this. It's pretty upsetting when AFL clubs deem it too hard to maintain old stands (see the Moorabbin redevelopment getting rid of everything; Geelong wanting to get rid of the last proper vestige of grimy footy in the terrace) because once those concrete museums have gone...





They've really made the two grandstands pretty ugly with the middling mid-2000s chunk of clubroom between them.

I'd try and alleviate that. Somehow.

Maintain the old grandstands and get them vibrant; popping with red and white. They could look great. I believe there's a fair bit of space in front of them (as well as behind both goals, especially the Footscray proper side) so I'd realign the ground so the boundary sits tight again those grandstands. It would be expensive, but I'd move the clubrooms at one end to be half-underneath a new grandstand. Make that super simple, basic looking so the grandstands are the main attraction. The flank would be a bit more spacey now so you'd be able to put a Mars Stadium-like super small, undercover grandstand there. I'd then use the station end to put in most of the amenities: gates, kitchens that would be available for hire by an interchanging set of local restaurants, a big proper concourse, lots of toilets. Make sure they're distributed in the pockets so both the grandstand and road wings' supporters can find them easier.

If you wanted to use it as some sort of AFLW hub, you could possibly keep this far end open with grass to give it a more casual feel. Not sure how well it'd go down in the middle of winter but hey, maybe people want to drink beers in the freezing cold there? Retro.



With Princes Park, I'd keep the Legends Stand and Pratt Stand. The latter would need a heap more work to be done, you'd probably need proper plastic seating now (but make sure it's still in the multicolour!) and a lot more work put into the general amenities. I love the unique curve of this side of the ground. You couldn't let that go. There's a bit of space between those now and I'd plonk a big screen between them. Sorted.

They really ****** up about 15 years ago by putting the clubrooms at the tram stop end. Tools. I'd half-sink that too, meaning most of the training facilities are underground. I'd put a big, steep grandstand here that would be two tiered and maybe the biggest stand there, but just make sure it segues nicely into the rest of the architecture. I guess a good example of this is the new end at Geelong's ground.

Of course the Gardiner Stand has to say. The Heritage Trust should chip in some cash for the maintenance of this classic old stand.

I'd put a brand new stand that would look like the tram stop end where the Heroes currently is. This would just have a bottom tier of seating, continuing it tidily as along the rest of the perimeter, but most of this stand would be for media, corporate boxes, and the club. Limited proper seating, it would probably look more like the new flank at the Bankwest Stadium in western Sydney. But most of the 'fun stuff' and AFLW-centric attention would go on near the parkland behind – there'd be no real concourses, but give heaps of space for kids to hang out, lots of toilets and amenities, heaps of space for food truck sort of set ups. I'd make sure it has a real festival sort of feeling for the summer months.
 

Roogal

Club Legend
Joined
Dec 7, 2016
Posts
1,109
Likes
2,030
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
North Ballarat Roosters
#73
Maybe back in the 70's the old suburban grounds were like that, but the stadiums being constructed now are done so to meet the demands of the modern discerning fan who expects to be treated to more modern conveniences than the supporter of the past.
In addition, we have come a long way design wise since the days of one brick grand stand and concrete outer and a ground with no drainage or floodlights.

I'm certain nostalgia has made people remember the grounds of the past as a far better experience that they actually were, but that is no reason to dismiss redeveloping those grounds now to a modern standard and bringing back a small slice of that experience.
Can you imagine the lynching squads of members locked out of grounds because there is only a capacity for 18,000 in Melbourne? To build a Mars Stadium type ground in Melbourne with a capacity of around 18-20,000 would still cost upward of $100 million as opposed to around $45 million in Ballarat in consideration of higher wages of building workers and labour in Melbourne. That said, the cost would likely not be a determining factor because what's $50 million either way to the AFL? I suspect that it would be the limitations of the size of a boutique ground forcing the locking out of members who aren't prepared to pay a premium for the Boutique Ground experience. There are already a lot of grumbles among Melbourne based Bulldogs members about Mars Stadium for exactly that reason. Imagine doing that in Melbourne to clubs like Saint Kilda which has a bigger membership?

It perhaps wouldn't impact North Melbourne as they barely get two men and a dog to their games. I did argue all the long that The Bulldogs should have left North Melbourne alone in Ballarat. They had a happy arrangement with the now defunct North Ballarat Roosters, the Roos wanted to play AFL in Ballarat and their members (Two men and a dog) were totally supportive of the idea of playing three H&A games per season in the RAT. Ballarat lost its VFL team because as the truth has played out, a non-AFL supported/aligned team is not inkeeping with Channel 7's broadcasting plan. Every attempt by North Ballarat FC to meet the VFLs terms for re-entry have been roadblocked and stymied.
 

Bomberboyokay

Brownlow Medallist
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Posts
26,432
Likes
23,037
Location
The Temple, Boyle Heights
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Roosters, Mets
#74
Who'd have paid to develop all these small grounds and keep them at a pleasant standard? And would people, particularly those who claim to hate Docklands, really be willing to pay $50 per ticket?

The AFL has made mistakes but having all the Melbourne teams play at two big stadiums next to the CBD isn't one of them. We'd be like the NRL in Sydney crowd wise if that hadn't happened.
 

Rickee

Senior List
Joined
May 23, 2016
Posts
206
Likes
238
Location
Melbourne
AFL Club
St Kilda
Other Teams
Port Melbourne
#75
Can you imagine the lynching squads of members locked out of grounds because there is only a capacity for 18,000 in Melbourne? To build a Mars Stadium type ground in Melbourne with a capacity of around 18-20,000 would still cost upward of $100 million as opposed to around $45 million in Ballarat in consideration of higher wages of building workers and labour in Melbourne. That said, the cost would likely not be a determining factor because what's $50 million either way to the AFL? I suspect that it would be the limitations of the size of a boutique ground forcing the locking out of members who aren't prepared to pay a premium for the Boutique Ground experience. There are already a lot of grumbles among Melbourne based Bulldogs members about Mars Stadium for exactly that reason. Imagine doing that in Melbourne to clubs like Saint Kilda which has a bigger membership?

It perhaps wouldn't impact North Melbourne as they barely get two men and a dog to their games. I did argue all the long that The Bulldogs should have left North Melbourne alone in Ballarat. They had a happy arrangement with the now defunct North Ballarat Roosters, the Roos wanted to play AFL in Ballarat and their members (Two men and a dog) were totally supportive of the idea of playing three H&A games per season in the RAT. Ballarat lost its VFL team because as the truth has played out, a non-AFL supported/aligned team is not inkeeping with Channel 7's broadcasting plan. Every attempt by North Ballarat FC to meet the VFLs terms for re-entry have been roadblocked and stymied.
Obviously, you wouldn't play games likely to draw a big crowd at a smaller stadium. The very reason to redevelop the smaller grounds is to save clubs like St Kilda and the Bulldogs money and to limit the likelihood of playing in front of 12,000 people in a 50,000 seat stadium. Saints fans would love Moorabbin to be redeveloped into a 20-25k seater where we would still get a reasonable crowd Vs GWS or Freo and not lose precious money we can't afford to lose, and it would certainly help to have it for our eventual AFLW and VFL sides.

I can't honestly see any downside in it, the cost could easily be recouped and would pay for itself very quickly, and I highly doubt the AFL would ever charge $50 to go to a smaller stadium just because it's smaller.

It sounds like you don't want it to happen because the Bulldogs will then pull out of playing games in Ballarat, which comes off as a bit selfish.
 
Top Bottom