We need ideas for Shay - not just hikes in rent

The Shay
The Shay

We are currently living in an era where tightening our belts is a common theme. Austerity is affecting each and every one of us with job cuts rife and the increase in the cost of living intensifying the strain on most households.

The theme of the Con-Dem Government is that ‘we are all in this together’ which is a fair premise though many doubt its underlying credibility given that the cuts seem to be most painful on the lowest paid.

Calderdale Council are quite rightly cutting its coat according to its cloth and whilst it has little option but to do as such, the debate will rage on as to what should be cut and which jobs will be sacrificed.

This brings me onto the article on 29th Feb ‘Rent rise is on the cards for Shay users’.

Although someone who wants to see both FCHT and HRLFC prosper I can see the argument from both sides. The stadium – whilst a ‘community facility’ – is also home to two commercial sporting entities. It is therefore important to find a balance between providing decent facilities at a fair price without the stadium being subsidised heavily by the local authority.

Both sporting clubs pay an annual fee for using the Shay – it is difficult to know whether it is commercially reasonable, too much or not enough. It is however very easy to view it short-sightedly as Cllr Stout has done once again when it comes to anything to do with the stadium. He seems to have a disappointingly poor attitude that if the Shay is running at a loss, then the easy way out is to hike up the rent of the two clubs. It has to be noted that the clubs are just two of many other organisations now using the facilities.

What would be better would be a bit of imaginative thinking by Calderdale Council – and that includes a bit of direction from our elected representatives. Whilst the Shay has its faults, it is still a decent arena with facilities that should be used seven days a week and for at least 16 hours a day. It is pointless building a facility like the Shay’s East Stand, showing little or no interest in the stadiums potential and then complaining when it loses money.

The future for both clubs is currently looking very bright so it is surprising that the Council has failed to capitalise on this in securing any kind of sponsorship or naming rights. The Shay will always be the Shay, but in these difficult times it would be hard to argue against the stadium carrying a different name – albeit for commercial reasons.

There are four individual stands, numerous bars and functions rooms; each one could be sponsored separately. Has this even been looked into?

When the East Stand facility was completed there was excitement about the future potential of the stadium. Since then with a lack of vision, interest and imagination it is hardly a surprise concern is being shown. However the Council needs to look at itself rather than look at the two clubs and start to take an imaginative and active interest rather than a distant and short-sighted approach.

Gavin Butler

Milner Close