Well, bad news of players being sold aside, there is some very exciting news coming from the S-Pulse boardroom. A release last Friday detailed the desire club president Hayao Iwakawa holds to improve access to, increase facilities and car parking provision for, and ultimately raise the capacity of our beautiful home, Nihondaira Stadium.
Regardless of the status of the project, that the board is thinking and planning in such a manner is great news for fans, the city, and the competitiveness of S-Pulse in the J. League. Anyone who went to 'Daira this year will know any crowd over 18000 (of which there were a lot) means hundreds of people left standing around in aisles and at the back of the stands. I don't doubt that some of these people are not going to come back to a ground they can't get a seat in, so I agree 100% that an increased capacity is needed. More fans, more money, less need to sell players, and those four extra points needed to get into the ACL are won. It all looks pretty simple in black and white, doesn't it. :)
So where could an extended capacity / improved access be incorporated? Let's get our speculation caps on and have a look:
Quite where the improved access is going to come from is something I'm not too sure about. There's currently the one road which runs up to the ground, and I can't see how it can be improved in any meaningful way. They may have a whole other plan, though, (probably nothing like my idea above!) so for now I'll stick to something I can readily image, and that's stand extensions.
Now I'm no architect, but I can see two areas which could be enlarged, and that's, as labelled above, the main stand and The Kop. There is a large amount of open space behind The Kop in particular which has potential for development / an improved bus rotary / car parking etc. If I had a wish, I'd also request a roof for this stand. Rain puts people off in their thousands, and a roof would also help keep in the awesome noise we generate each week.
That S-Pulse are committed not to take the easy option and rely on a bigger stadium so far away is massively encouraging to hear. That they want to instead work to make Nihondaira realise it's full potential as a top football venue in Japan is great for Shimizu and Shizuoka. Shizuoka City is famed for it's connection with all things football, and with S-Pulse on the edge of greatness, come on Shiz City bods - let's work together and make the leap from a 4th placed team to a true title contending outfit!