On December 2nd, FIFA will unveil the host of the 2018 World Cup with England, Russia and two co-host bids between Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium. Last week's inspection reports claimed that Holland/Belgium and Russia would be 'medium-risk' bids and that Spain/Portugal and England would be 'safe, low-risk' bids. Whether that is an early indiction from football's main governing body that it is a two-horse race is anyone's guess.
More than £400m will be ploughed into the 2018 World Cup bid and plans are in place for the construction of 4 new stadiums in England. Twelve host cities have been chosen with over 20 stadiums highlighted as potential World Cup venues. The 12 host cities that were chosen are: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Sunderland and Sheffield.
Villa Park (Birmingham), Elland Road (Leeds), Old Trafford and City of Manchester (Manchester), St James' Park (Newcastle), Stadium of Light (Sunderland) are the only stadiums which look a definite in England's bid, with development planned for Hillsbrough & Stadium:MK. The bid is also is open to new stadiums like the New White Hart Lane, New Anfield and the Olympic stadium in London. Of course, if FIFA select England as the host nation then they will have to narrow their options down to the final 10 stadiums.
A number of new stadiums will be constructed for smaller league clubs ahead of the World Cup bid. Plymouth Argyle, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City are likely to have stadiums constructed holding over 40,000 each. Plymouth have an average attendance this year of just over 7,000 - so why on earth would they attract anywhere close to 40,000 post-World Cup?
And it is the same situation with Bristol City who have an average crowd of around 14,000. MK Dons will have their own 40,000-seater arena but only attract crowds of around 8,000 per matchday.
Is that a sensible investment of England's money, considering the blatant lack of quality footballers coming from grassroots level?