This summer further construction works are expected in Vigo. But even before tender has been launched, Celta Vigo called the new east stand a “bungled job” of “nefarious aesthetics”. It's like a telenovela by now...
You may recall how last year it turned out that the lower main stand of Abanca Balaídos offers extremely little legroom to fans. It's the outcome of poorly planned renovation works that didn't foresee how wide seats would fit in old, narrow rows.
That mistake should be corrected this summer, when every 5th row is removed and seats more spread out. Estimated cost stands at €250,000 and will be paid by the city.
Removal of some seats in the lower south stand is an issue of its own for Celta, because the club hasn't been able to sell season tickets for the east stand this season. That stand was set for demolition last summer and yet it's still untouched and will remain in use until the end of this campaign. Which means the club lost revenue while the city didn't carry out works as expected.
Now, following approval of funding for the new east stand in late February (€16.6 million), it's expected that the east stand will finally be demolished and replaced by a new one. For Celta this means two more seasons without season ticket sales for this part of Balaídos (work is expected to last 1.5 years, until early 2022, but hasn't been contracted yet).
To add further tension, the city – without consulting the club – removed proposed commercial spaces that could benefit the football club. Instead, only spaces for municipal use will be created. This move comes as 'punishment' for Celta not participating in this phase's cost.
The club is now understandably bitter and decided to release a very harsh statement. Its first paragraph calls the entire plan for new east stand an immense bungling. Celta also condemns this as a “nefarious aesthetic proposal”.
The new stand will hold 6,418 people on two tiers. And while these tiers will be significantly closer to the field than of the old east curve, it's not close enough for Celta. Also, the roof isn't protective enough, according to the club, while the assymetric layout is criticised as negatively impacting mobility.
The statement goes on: “In addition, the stadium will have completely different and asymmetrical stands, with different structure and height. The setting of the stands has been carried out without a minimum of aesthetic criteria and is simply horrifying.”
Further, the club reminds the city that it's only the third of four new/revamped stands, which will be ready as late as 2022. Meanwhile, initial plans suggested the entire stadium would be revamped by 2018. The price tag is also problematic – it was promised to be delivered under €30 million, meanwhile only this one latest phase will cost €16.6 million.
Not the merits, but the spirit
Not all attacks by Celta are warranted, at least not entirely. After all, the roof is in line with all requirements What matters is the strong animosity between both partners of this reconstruction project. This spirit of mutual resentment has been present has been present nearly from the start and certainly isn't helpful.