c/o Football Invective-Commentary with Balls
West Lakes and Waverley. Football and VFL Park respectively. They are 100’s of kilometers apart, yet the two are so close in many ways. They’ve even been referred to as ‘sister’ stadia. While VFL Park is long gone as a league venue, the last match for premiership points played in a previous millennia, upon entry into 2013, Football Park is too on the cusp of sharing the same fate. Next year, Footy Park will become a former league venue.
Image courtesy of Adelaide Now
Both grounds were built by respective football leagues, the VFL and the SANFL, looking to break away from their respective ‘home’ bases, the MCG and the Adelaide Oval, which were both controlled by local cricketing authoriteis. Waverley opened in 1970, West Lakes 1974. The move for the SANFL was described as the “most exciting and momentous since the SANFL was formed almost a century earlier.”
Both grounds were built ‘out of town…’ VFL Park some 23 km’s from the heart of Melbourne, and Football Park 14km’s, in the much smaller city of Adelaide. Both also began with grandiose visions, the VFL’s original plans catered for 166,000 patrons and a stadium ‘equal to any in the world.’ The capacity reached the mid 70 thousands, although 92,000 did cram in on one occasion. Similarly, Football Park was designed to cater for 80,000 patrons. It too, never got close.
Plans for Football Park on the left (80,000) and VFL Park (166,000). Looking quite similar!
The ‘sister’ stadia shared the same basic design; concrete and bench seats all the way around, with an elevated stand opposed to ‘the outer.’ VFL Park ‘boasted’ wooden plank seats, Footy Park aluminum, a feature of many Adelaide football grounds. The plastic bucket seat has however won the day.
Aluminum seating-still alive an well in Adelaide! Unley Oval image from austadiums.com
The West Lakes oval shape is less rounded and not as expansive as Waverley Park, which could comfortably host little league matches between the fence and the boundary line. Here are the two grounds under construction, can you tell which is which?
Image on the left courtesy of Adelaide Now
Here is what ringed (I’m referring to Football Park in a past tense I know) the outer of both grounds. Whilst Football Park is clearly smaller, both share near identical features; larger lower section, smaller ‘upper’ sheltered section with the same roofing/advertising hoardings.
Here’s an aerial shot which gives a clear look at the similar set up of both stadia.
Both grounds even had a gap between their stands where a small scoreboard was situated. While VFL Park boasted the notorious ‘Big V’ scoreboard, this ‘small’ one was Football Parks main board until recently.
Well it’s nearly curtains for West Lakes, both it and Waverley conquered by the very cricket grounds they sought to replace. But they have played their roles admirably, and football now resides at the MCG and Adelaide Oval (as of 2014) in a more powerful position. I hope the South Australian footy people can send the old girl off in style. Ugly as she was, she had character.
And in a final twist of synchronisation, Football Park will join Waverley in becoming both a housing estate and elite AFL training venue…..together forever.