Reds to play finals at Adelaide Oval again
The Reds copped criticism from fans and players alike for deciding to host their 2014-15 elimination final against Brisbane Roar at Adelaide Oval instead of their usual home ground, Coopers Stadium.
The match attracted a crowd of 20,155 fans, only a few thousand more than Coopers Stadium’s capacity of 16,500.
The Reds also hosted a regular season match against Melbourne Victory at Adelaide Oval with a bumper attendance of 33,126 back in October.
Adelaide CEO Michael Petrillo reasoned that the decision - made in conjunction with the FFA who 'host' finals - was based on allowing the maximum number of supporters the opportunity to watch “the bigger games”.
“We see Coopers Stadium as our home ground and we certainly want to play the majority of our games there,” Petrillo told FourFourTwo.
“We’ll play at Adelaide Oval for the bigger games which attract a bigger crowd.
“For example, the Melbourne Victory game where we had 33,000 people last year.
“We wouldn’t be doing the right thing if we didn’t take that game to Adelaide Oval to allow as many people into that game.
“To give an extra 15-20,000 people an opportunity to attend that game, we’ve got no choice but to have it at Adelaide Oval.”
Petrillo said the preference was to play a regular season Adelaide Oval match before the cricket season rather than after, as the club felt the surface was in better condition.
The A-League fixtures will be publicly announced later this month with the Adelaide Oval situation meaning the Reds are likely to host Victory again in the opening month of the season.
The Reds CEO added: “At this stage, the plan is to play no more than one or two A-League games at Adelaide Oval.
“That won’t change in the short to medium term.”
Meanwhile, Petrillo confirmed plans were on track for the club to move into its new facility in Playford by the end of September.
Regular chopping and changing of training grounds disrupted the Reds' 2014-15 season.
Petrillo said Reds coach Josep Gombau and his coaching staff deserved great credit in achieving the results they did, which included winning the FFA Cup, earning a spot in the AFC Champions League and third place in the A-League, despite the disruption.
“There’s a bit of time to go before the pitches are ready but we expect them ready by August,” Petrillo said.
“We expect to move in during September. That’s when we expect the facility - in terms of change-rooms, gym and office space for the football department – to be ready.”
Petrillo added: “I don’t want to underplay how difficult it has been for the players and coaches.
“There’s been some weeks where we’ve had to swap training grounds three or four times in a week. We’ve had weeks that from one day to the next we didn’t know where we’d train.
“For the coaches to get the team to perform the way they have, with the conditions we’ve had to work in, substandard pitches, especially for a club who want to play attractive football, it makes it tough.
“Our new training grounds will benefit us enormously as well.”