We fear change.
Golf fans are up in arms over some truly awful restoration work on St. Andrews’ Swilcan Bridge. The famous stone structure spans the Swilcan Burn between the first and 18th fairways on the Old Course, and has been a photo-op hotspot for icons of the game including Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, as well as countless visitors, amateurs and fans. It is so popular that the course keepers felt the need to protect it: admirable sentiments, but unfortunately, they dropped a triple bogey in the execution.
St Andrews Links said in a statement: “For the avoidance of doubt, we can clearly state that no works have been carried out on the bridge itself.” The work is around the entrance to the bridge, which sometimes gets muddy because thousands of people want to take their picture next to it, but it won’t get any more muddy because now there is a cul-de-sac under -urban 1970s crazy paving around it. Yay.
Golf fans are unimpressed. “This is…very weak. What’s wrong with replacing the grass with a “drop in field style” when the turf wears out??? I can’t believe a sane person thought that It would be a good idea,” said golf pro Mark Allan. Sir Nick Faldo said: “If you traveled halfway around the world for your bucket list round of St Andrews, would you rather leave with a bit of historical dirt on your shoes or a few scraps of cement mix?” Ken Brown said: “Looks like they should have a BBQ.”
Objectively, not exactly a masterpiece of design and execution, but with such a famous sports site, there would be no solution that did not affect golf lovers. Here are some other times when sports fans have been laughing at redevelopments.
When the current Arena Circuit was created in 2010, Bridge Corner at Silverstone was eliminated, and Priory Corner was also changed to increase safety. It worked, more or less, although at the first British Grand Prix turn of the new layout, Andrea de Cesaris wiped out at Bridge anyway. The Bridge itself became a wall of fame but for many fans, something has been lost and not completely changed.
The most famous feature of the most famous place in English football history was that the architect Norman Foster and the Sports Minister Tony Banks did not meet when they went to work ditching Wembley’s Twin Towers. Banks said the Towers were “a couple of extras”; Foster wasn’t a fan either. They were leveled in 2003 by a Liebherr 974 crawler excavator known as “Goliath” and nicknamed “Alan the Shearer”; cruel irony that Germans were at the top of their reign.
Old Trafford Cricket Ground was first used in 1857; Lancashire has played there since 1864. The greats he has seen: Victor Trumper scoring a ton before lunch, Jim Laker’s 19 wickets in a Test, Beefy 118 in the 1981 Ashes, Warnie’s ball of the century for Mike Gatting, the 2006 Razorlight concert .
In 2010 Lancashire built the red conference centre, The Point, a bold and original version which was part of a wider development which also saw the pavilion updated. Perhaps the most significant thing, as well, they rotate the field through 90 degrees which means that players did not squint into the sun (on occasions that it is not raining). Arch rivals Yorkshire County Cricket Club attempted their own renovations nine years later, at Headingley: a venue Duncan Hamilton described in Wisden Cricket Monthly as “almost devoid of aesthetic delight and lacking in appealing symmetry.” The geometric Emerald Stand 2019 has never looked quite right, but on the other hand, Yorkshire have bigger problems.
Looking to the future, plans are underway to settle on another Old Trafford, although these are dependent on who owns Manchester United. West Ham, who already disappointed their fans when they moved from Upton Park in the first place, plan to make up the West Stand at the London Stadium, bypassing season ticket holders into new seats in the process . The huge goodwill amassed by Wrexham owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney may be on the horizon as they update The Racecourse Ground – the world’s oldest international football stadium still hosting international matches. They said in a statement: “The derelict state of the Kop has long been a bone of contention.” Nothing can possibly go wrong here.