In the latest of his regular Blog's, Hillary Street-Ender takes a look at yesterday's massive announcement that Sir Elton John will be staging part of his much anticipated European Tour at Banks's Stadium next year.
In the latest of his regular Blog's, Hillary Street-Ender takes a look at yesterday's massive announcement that Sir Elton John will be staging part of his much anticipated European Tour at Banks's Stadium next year.

Back in the summer, as we began in earnest to look forward to the new season and made plans to attend pre-season friendlies, I particularly wanted to be at the game against Wigan Athletic at Leigh Sports Village. The game offered the chance to visit a stadium we’d never played at before and probably never would again with the place being a bit of an oddity in that it’s neither league nor non-league. Tickets were purchased and travel plans made in vain, as the venue for the game was changed a couple of days before the due date with the added frustration that the match would now be played over three thirty minute periods behind closed doors meaning that we wouldn't be able to see it at all. It turned out that the change of venue had been necessitated by damage done to the Leigh playing surface during an Elton John concert, something that brings us nicely around to the news coming out of Bescot this week that Reggie and his rug will be stopping off to play a show from his European tour on our hallowed turf in the summer of ’15. To be given the opportunity to stage a show by such a major star – and they don't come much bigger – is quite a coup for the club considering that he could probably have chosen any outdoor venue he wanted although it has to be said that you'd probably have expected him to choose somewhere with a larger capacity. Maybe it’s just that we’re cheaper? Of course, this isn’t the first time in recent years that a musical event at Bescot has been announced. Anyone remember the proposed UB40 show of a few years ago? The one where the acts dropped out one by one when ticket sales didn’t take off and that ended up being cancelled when it looked likely that there’d be more catering staff than fans present if it were allowed to go ahead. I found it surprising that a show to be headlined by a major band from just down the road had to be shelved like that considering that Bescot is fairly small as football stadia go. Okay, UB40 aren’t the Strolling Bones but you’d still have expected them to have little trouble pulling in a decent crowd near their home town, so maybe nothing is absolutely guaranteed.

The show stands to be quite a money-spinner for the club and if staged with no major problems could well lead to more shows in future years if WFC can build a reputation for staging large shows successfully. If the club can pull off an Elton John show smoothly then why shouldn’t other major acts follow? I can’t see any way in which this can be anything other than a smart move by those running the club. This will be a show by a man who’s a star on a worldwide scale so will be a real chance to put the club on the map when it comes to staging major events of this ilk. Ticket sales shouldn’t be a problem as EJ is one of those acts who seem to be recession proof – are we still in a recession? You tell me – and there ought to be no reliance on rapid sales during the week before the show. The announcing of the show at this time of year proves that those behind it aren’t daft as a fair few sales will no doubt be made with Christmas in mind with prices comparing favourably with those for a Premier League game, particularly those of the PL clubs in this area who seem to be offering precious little in terms of entertainment and rapid costume changes.

Some will probably be concerned about possible damage to the pitch and it’s probably true to say that staging the event isn’t going to do it any good but the club will have factored this in when making their pitch to stage the show which is due to take place on Saturday 13th June, leaving almost two months until the start of the 2015/16 season which ought to be more than enough time to have the pitch looking pristine in time for the big kick-off. Putting on such a show is a very big deal for a club like ours so I feel that those who’ve made it possible are to be congratulated both for impressing EJ and his people sufficiently for the concert to be given the go-ahead and for being confident enough to take a step into what’s pretty much the unknown. There are probably times when those running WFC feel they can do no right but landing such a prestigious deal reflects well on those involved, so they deserve a lot of credit.

Well done to all.

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