The Rugby World Cup, the RFU… and You

Twickenham stadium

Twickenham stadium

New World Cup item is HERE.

Previously…

Twickenham in south west London is famous as the home of English rugby. How’s that for an utterly fatuous introduction to an article? It’s pathetic. You live here, you know that already. Despite the opening inanity, what that ‘rugby fame thing’ actually means to you personally is something which carries a little more significance. Like it or not Twickenham is a rugby town – not exactly built around rugby perhaps, but certainly heavily influenced and affected by it. Whether you love rugby, can’t stand it or are totally indifferent to it, having up to 82,000 fans descend on Twickenham for big internationals isn’t something you can simply ignore.

The Autumn Internationals are upon us (two down, three to go) and you’ll be delighted / devastated to hear that it’s just three months until the 2015 RBS Six Nations begins again. And 2015 will be quite a year what with the ol’ Rugby World Cup malarkey taking place in England.  Some huge games will put Twickenham under the global rugby spotlight like never before.  [We’re not entirely sure what the global rugby spotlight is but it sounds pretty powerful.]

The tournament kicks off with England v Fiji at Twickenham on 18th September and over the following six weeks Twickenham will host ten matches through to the final on 31st October. That’s a lorra, lorra rugby. Add to that all the visiting fans staying locally and the South Africa and New Zealand teams being based nearby at St Mary’s University and the Lensbury Club and it should make for quite an event. El Brute have even announced that they are setting up a, wait for it, Rugby World Cup Scrutiny Panel, to help create a ‘Festival of Rugby‘ across the borough. We’re talking arts, music, sporty stuff and even a FanZone. The festival will run from May until the end of the tournament. Twickenham will be buzzing.

So far, so what? Twickenham isn’t just the home of England rugby, it’s also a real place, with real residents and real businesses. The RFU has the tricky task of managing ‘rugby plc’ complete with very large stadium whilst also trying to maintain good relations with the locals. It’s certainly not impossible but it does have its tensions. The RFU’s website says, “The relationship with Twickenham Community is of utmost importance to the RFU. We aim to ensure our impact on the local area is a positive one through a comprehensive community relations programme called Home Turf”.  Initiatives under this banner include the Rugby Post newsletter, the ticket ballot for locals (good if you like rugby, of limited interest if you don’t), working with the Council and Police to reduce match day disruption and supporting a wide range of local community events, perhaps the biggest of which is the annual Strawberry Hill Music Day.

That all sounds good. But for many, living near a mahoosive great stadium is not without its downsides. The traffic, the road closures, the people pissing in the streets don’t help, and let’s not forget the smell of frying onions, the surfeit of brown brogues and the repeated singing of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’. And then there are the concerts, the other events and, very recently, the possibility that Chelsea FC (off of doing football) could perhaps play their home matches at Twickenham while Stamford Bridge gets redeveloped. Nearly 1,500 people have signed an online petition opposing the whole concept. It’s fair to say it’s one idea that’s not got down at all well Twick-side.

The disruption is clear and for some businesses the rugby can have a direct impact on trade as local customers avoid venturing out on big match days. But whilst many might suffer from the disruption there are also some businesses in Twickenham for which rugby days are boom days. A few might even struggle to survive without them. Is the balance of events right? Will it ever be right?

Meanwhile there are those who ponder whether the RFU should have stumped up some cash for improving Twickenham station when it came out in support of Solum Regeneration’s masterplan.  We’re not aware of any RFU financial contribution to the scheme – we could be wrong – and you could certainly argue against rugby revenues contributing to a third party’s property development project.  But then there are those who might observe that it’s on rugby days that the station’s deficiencies are most apparent as it creaks under the weight of fans trying to get to or from the stadium.  And speaking of getting to and from the stadium, there’s now also a petition running to try to persuade the RFU, TfL or someone to cough up for footbridges over the A316 near the stadium.

Here on twickerati it’s not all about bus lanes, bike lanes, the latest restaurant to open (then close again) and occasional ‘quite good’ photos of the river, we also like a bit of sport too. We think that despite some downsides rugby is good for the town and that 2015 will be a great opportunity to show Twickenham in a positive light. Who knows, even non-rugby fans might find themselves drawn into the spirit of a major sporting event come next September.

So, have you got World Cup fever yet? Is the RFU doing a good job at balancing the interests of the town with those of the game? Or, when you think of rugby in Twickenham, are you more inclined to think “Arrghh, F.U.”?

Cannes

Twickenham Stadium

LINKS:
* RFU Twickenham Community Relations
* Rugby World Cup site
* Richmond Council Rugby World Cup page
* RFU What’s On
* Previously on twickerati: Chelsea in Twickenham move?

46 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff

46 responses to “The Rugby World Cup, the RFU… and You

  1. Ben Makins

    I’ve been watching all the comments while away for past few days. Fascinating stuff and clearly quite divided opinion. Dellboy notes that one of us is on the newly set up RFU Home Turf Group….so that’ll be me then (any others out there?). The first meeting of this group is due shortly. I’m very happy to feedback views and opinions expressed via Twickerati. To declare my position: I’m generally a rugby fan, played it (badly) at school and attend when I can (local ballot). I also live locally and experience the down side too. If I can’t go to the match I often watch it in a local pub, so I am around Twickenham on match days. I’ve indirectly benefited from RFU support e.g. for my kid’s school’s PTAs and to local causes and events. It also supports national causes and promotes sport among all sorts of groups nationally. The funds the RFU raises goes to support rugby around the world. Long may that continue. However I’m not uncritical of the RFU and the way it operates, but think it recognises broadly that it has to be a “good neighbour” in order to secure support for its continuing existence here. I believe that broadly the Twickenham “brand” is enhanced by its presence. It puts us on the map. I’m sure businesses such as the Twickenham Brewery benefit from the recognition. We also have a lot else to be proud of too and I trust the RFU can continue to be engaged with the improvement and development of Twickenham as a visitor destination and place to live and work.
    Pragmatically I think we have to accept that the stadium is here to stay. The only realistic approach is to enhance the benefits and diminish the drawbacks. I’ve not been sure where I stand on the Chelsea issue, but have been a bit dismayed by some of the “Rugby OK – Football not OK” comments. I also watch soccer…..but Arsenal, so no agenda for Chelsea! However, watching this thread has generally moved me towards a view that the appetite and capacity for more matches here is very limited and not up to 15 additional games per season Chelsea want. The autumn internationals and 6 Nations, “Big Match” plus others such as Varsity, Army v Navy, Barbarians etc, seems fair enough and significant growth in the past few decades, along with the expansion in capacity. I wonder if some of the pressure for more could be accommodated in the summer period or in more evening / midweek fixtures.
    I particularly note all the comments about anti-social behaviour. I’m not sure I recognise the accounts of match days which seem to depict the streets of Twickenham becoming an open sewer, awash with poo, pee and vomit. Yes, I’m sure there are isolated incidents of unsocial and unacceptable “toilet behaviour” and I think this should be actively addressed. I’d suggest a note to go out with all tickets and to clubs registering members for them asking for respect of the neighbourhood and environment. Leaflets should be handed out at the station and in car parks with clear signposting to an increased number of loos with a, “Please use these and nowhere else” message. I also attend Glastonbury Festival which has a similar problem with punters using the hedges as loos. I think we should similarly institute the comedy “green police” who challenge people who are ignoring this message and shame them into using the right places. Other positive ideas welcome. How’s that for starters?

    • Sally

      Um, Ben, the pee and poo problem doesn’t consist of isolated incidents, much as the RFU would like to view them as such. Report any to the RFU and get a response along the lines of: “The RFU is working tirelessly to address such rare incidents. Goodbye.”Every single match brings a big toilet problem to our street and the two surrounding it and we are not all that close to the stadium.Really, choose a match at random and we’d be happy to take you on the world’s worst guided walk to prove this.
      Its nice that locals are involved but hard not to see it as a bit of a PR strategy to ensure the RFU can do what it likes as things are-and possibly paving the way to expanding the number of events. If you think locals have really been given power, see what happens if you ask for a written, legally binding undertaking that the extra games whether football or rugby will not be put on.
      Our leaders are very flattered to be “consulted” by the RFU and at times its hard to figure out their loyalties. For example, sift through all of Lord True’s arguments for the need for a station high rise and most of them boil down to: “The RFU wants it”.
      I really don’t want to look at more creative ways our council with our money can address the behavior of the RFU punters. What about the RFU paying? Going by their profits from the games alone what they contribute to our locale is currently the equivalent of a person on an avergae wage giving less than a penny.

    • Ben Makins

      Sally, which street is this? If I can I’ll pop up there before this evening’s match…or after it. When do you experience the problem most.

    • Ben Makins

      Sally, and I absolutely agree, the solutions have to be at the RFU’s expense and not a burden on Council Tax payers. I’ll certainly ask to be made familiar with the RFU accounts; revenues, expenditure, distribution of surplus, and the proportion of expenditure on mitigating the impact of games on the area, community development and support, voluntary and charity donations, “green” initiatives etc. Will be interesting to see what the Kempton Park “Park and Ride” scheme has on traffic this evening.

    • Walkinthepark

      I like you am very proud of Twickenham’s name in the Rugby world though I rarely watch a match even on TV and only played once (when the netball players beat the uni 1st 11, just saying…). Having taken time out of Twickers to live abroad I know how revered the stadium is worldwide and we have quite a few friends flying half way around the world to be here in 2015, and I know many families for whom the presence of the RFU and Harlequins enhances family life. I do think some of the posting here is a tad NIMBY.

      However the toilet habits of fans is a major issue that really has to be addressed, most fans really do think it is perfectly acceptable. The foot of the steps by the station which are the busy main access for people living on that side of the High Street does literally become a stinking lake. It isn’t a matter of isolated incidents, hundreds of fans pop down there, often two or three at a time (not nice to watch either). Why is there not someone down there to impose the on the spot fines? or a webcam to make them think twice?

      I strongly suspect that mounting a force to impose the on the spot fines would generate revenue that could be used to the benefit of the community.

      I agree with your points about the RFU mounting a publicity campaign on tickets etc but it needs to be stronger. Peeing on the street or someone’s garden is shameful and that message needs to be got across.

      Or we could all go and wee in Lord True’s garden, that might test his loyalty to his RFU cronies

    • Ben Makins

      Thanks WITP. Yes, I came down the steps by the station last night after the Quins game…and even then it was pretty revolting. Clearly this needs a “big push”, if that’s not an unfortunate choice of words!

  2. Sal Magundi

    Yes, thanks to the RFU for placing portable communal urinals quite so prominently on the Twickenham station forecourt. It was a real pleasure to walk past on Saturday and see them in action, doors wide open facing the bus stop and road. Is it too much to ask that they are placed both conveniently and discreetly? Twickenham is just not a great place to be on rugby days anymore.

  3. If you didn’t want to live in an area with a big stadium why did you choose to live in an area with a big stadium?

    No it’s not perfect, but most of you are just bitching on the fact that a stadium is here. Same old same old with the locals of Twickenham, bitch away about very obvious problems & offer no solutions.

    Any post looking forward to the World Cup is getting “thumbed down” like crazy…just for looking forward to what could be a great event. If you hate the rugby and stadium go somewhere else. No one’s stopping you. Good riddance. You can sully that community with pointless complaints that stop anything from happening.

    • dellboy

      When I moved here over thirty years ago, it was not a big stadium, there were far fewer big games, it was the amateur three nations cup, less vehicles on the road etc. Things have changed, not just a little, quiet a lot.
      I watch the games on terrestrial TV some of the time, I Don’t mind adjusting what I do on match days. I will do the same for the world cup.
      Your rant is irrelevant because of the major changes.
      The problem is the RFU might try and expand the usage of the stadium because it makes money and doesn’t seem to worry about the effect it can have on the local population.
      What we put up with now, urine, excrement and vomit is bad enough. The RFU doesn’t seem to want to provide enough toilets in the area to cope with the problem, so why should we not point these things out.
      Nobody can predict accurately the future, so how could any of us know what was in the future when we moved here. My rant over!

    • Cleo Talbot

      Totally agree with you, Dellboy. I too have lived in Twickenham for more than thirty years and have witnessed the growth of the stadium and its massive impact on the town. But Twickenham is my home and I love it, despite the domination of the rugby. I find suggestions that I might like to “go somewhere else” highly offensive.

    • Sally

      OK. The RFU were allowed to expand the stadium because they made various undertakings about the number and types of events they’d put on etc etc.They are now looking to reverse some of the promises.Here comes another undertaking: “this would only be in the short term”
      This is exactly the type of deal Councils are wayyyy too fond of accepting: “Let us build this and, honest, we’ll only use it in these ways”
      You seem to think that the RFU should be allowed to get bigger and bigger and put on what it wants and that to complain is some sort of sporting blasphemy.That vomit and pee shoudn’t be mentioned because they are RFU vomit and pee and therefore sacred.
      We moved here knowing about the stadium-and the fantastic schools, green spaces, riverside, community, history etc etc.Can’t accept that residents who don’t worship all the RFU does should leave.

    • dellboy

      in the cold light of day it appears you didn’t take in what was said in the article or the comments.
      The article points out that investment by the RFU in upgrading the station, which is a bottleneck, could help.
      The RFU and/or TFL could build a footbridge over the A316.
      Most of the “bitching” in the comments is not about the stadium or the games, it’s the mess left behind.
      Tickets for an England game start at £75 for adults and £15 for kids. Threequarters of the seats will be priced at £165, £215 and £315; average that to £200 = £12.3 million for one match.
      They can afford to pay for more toilets and commercial clean up crews, will they?
      At least one commenter is part of the “home turf” set up, and is happy to forward comments to the RFU.
      So, criticism has been constructive, solutions put forward. I think you have shot your self down in flames.

    • upend

      As a big rugby fan and also a twickers resident I do love being next to the home of Rugby. It puts Twickenham on the world map for sport and it does bring in a lot of footfall into the town, even if that does mean a rather disproportionate number of drinking establishments & curry houses. You can’t blame the rugby for all the coffee shops and estate agents though!

      We do have may more portaloos than there used to be and there are infinately more loo’s in the stadium than there used to be, so although there are more people, the wee problem (big problem?) is not so much more than it used to be. It doesn’t seem to be either expensive or difficult to provide many more portaloo’s around and should help with many of the people commenting of the sea of wee!

      There’s also the paradox that many more people come by public transport nowdays, what with drink driving being rather rarer than in the 1970’s.

      One thing – it’s been the 5 nations since the war, so actually the change to 6 gives only 1 more game every 2 years. The Autumn internationals does make more games though.

      When checking that, I came across this on Wiki – just proves that none of this debate is new!

      “In 1965, the South Terrace was closed due to structural failings. It was found to be cheaper to build a new stand as opposed to repairing the existing one; however, planning permission was refused, due to objection from local residents.”

    • dellboy

      apologies over three nations, got it wrong. The south terrace in ’65 was stopped over lack of light, the RFU bought up all the affected houses and re-applied.
      Trying to find out the capacity of the stadium over the years is tricky, if in the 80’s it was 45-50K it’s a large increase of footfall to and from the stadium now.
      Apart from the perceived toilet problem, trying to move around the game is a nightmare,cordoning off of roads causes cars to be trapped in the cordon till kick off, then caught outside until the spectators have cleared the area.
      To be inconvenienced by a few big games, isn’t really a problem, what
      I think worries people is expansion, if the RFU does want to expand the use of the stadium, for those not involved with the event it becomes a real problem. Don’t forget heathrow is trying to do it, which makes people nervous.

  4. James B

    Why are people “proud” of the stadium ? Did they build it ? Do they play in it ?
    There are lots of other middle 1970s edifices with a bit of faux-modernist statuary outside. Do people feel “proud” of those ?
    I note that house prices decline the nearer one gets to the stadium, suggesting that either the “proud” are less well off, that the building is best admired from afar, no matter how proud one is or or (more plausibly) that folk don’t like it enough to want to live near it. Perhaps one of the people expressing pride here would like to swap houses with someone living right next door to it ? Winners all round, surely ?

    • Ron

      No James, I think its pretty obvious most people are proud that Twickenham is the home of world rugby and home to The England Rugby team. Its what goes on there that is important not the concrete pillars. Proud to be English and therefore support our national team and welcome the world to our door step on occasions, that’s all, pretty simple really. I also don’t get those who bought their house in Roman times (or perhaps slightly more recently) near to the Rugby ground and then moan about rugby taking place there. Bit like those who move to the country and then complain about church bells and cockerels really

  5. Stepdjam

    Re the street pee problem, I see the people of India have found the perfect solution… http://youtu.be/974dSHFLoJA

  6. Whitton Roadster

    with you Adam. Living in Twickenham is for life not just for the world cup. ( i use the term ‘world’ loosely, former colonies invitation would be more appropriate,) ask the town centre shop keepers if they look forward to no trade and mopping piss and puke out of their door ways. we deal with living here, it is reflected in the price, but this ‘community’ bollocks from the RFU is insulting. And the parade of shops and ‘restaurants’ at the top of Whitton Road is the worst in the town, some opening only for events, where once we had Casa Mia and a tapaz bar. now look, crap food cheap beer aimed at drunk fans.

    you need to find a way to get the fans in and out with minimal disruption, the path along the Crane proposed last year is the only way, not crossing London Road and closing Whitton (is there a stadium in the world where that happens?) Road for hours on end, Get them fans out of the town at 7pm (yes, close the pubs like they used to) and issue penalty notices, 100s of them if need be, for anti social behaviour. zero tolerance.

    we should come first as rates payers, not last behind the RFU

    • FORCE proposes the path along the Crane – not as a route for rugby fans, as its necessary width would then destroy the environmental value of the river corridor and the fans would spill out into the middle of the Heatham Estate – but as a narrow and meandering pathway which, on rugby days, would also act as a controlled one way exit and entrance for local residents against the prevailing rugby flow along Whitton Road.

      This would allow a permanent environmentally sensitive route through Twickenham Rough – behind the new Sorting Office development – and greatly reduce the stress for local residents wishing to escape into town and/or return home. It may also benefit Twickenham businesses and allow a smoother one way flow for the fans to and from the stadium.

      We have been putting forward this proposal to all the key parties for several years now but we are still unsure as to whether it will be taken up

  7. twickerman

    Regarding the pee problem…

    The RFU keep telling that they provide more portaloos than in the past.

    This may well be true, but it’s of no use to town centre residents because the number of portaloos in the town centre has been reduced since Hannah Barrett took over as Community Liaison Manager.

    You may have noticed the omission of the toilet map from the latest Rugby Post.

    The reason for this, as reported to the Riverside PLG, is that:
    – NO portaloos will be provided by Happicraft
    – Only ONE portaloo will be provided outside Travelodge (at top of the smelly steps), but only IF attendance is > 60,000. Unfortunately, this lone loo has failed to materialise for the last 3 matches.

    So that’s a grand total of ONE town centre portaloo promised, but NOT yet provided, by the RFU.

    Considering the RFU have just installed an additional 600 seats in the stadium, and have added in an extra couple of warm up games before the RWC, you’d have thought they would be flushed with cash to splash on the community. Sadly not.

  8. Martin'O'StrawberryHill

    Well, I must be one of the few here who thinks that the RFU doesn’t do anything for Twickenham, apart from feathering its own nest.

    The Stadium is probably in one of the worst places for 82,000 visitors to get to by rail or road and rather than have increased its size it would have been better for users if it had been re-located to somewhere more central, like Birmingham.

    The income it brings (and I’ve never seen a proper study of how much it benefits the local area) appears to only support the over-abundance of pubs and eateries, which then make enough from the season to limp through the rest of the year.

    I deliberately avoid travelling on trains after a match, knowing the over-friendly, shouty, beer-sodden spectators will make life hell for anyone who doen’t enjoy their stream of racist and sexist ‘banter’.

    Nope, not a fan of rugby, nor the RFU.

    • Sally

      Agree. We avoid shopping, driving ,riverside, public transport when the big matches are on . So I’ll trade the thrill of knowing that there’s some Big Game or another happening just behind that concrete stadium wall (The chants! The crowds! The sticky pavements! The pee! The vomit on the steps!) for being able to get out and about with my family where we live.So no to more and more events.

    • Walkinthepark

      For many local families Rugby is their family day out, whether is as debenture holders at the stadium, or winning the ballot, or going to Harlequins games. Indeed some familes moved here because of it, rather than in spite of it. I would say on balance the presence of the RFU here has been more of a benefit to my family than a hassle. Yes more needs to be done to police the toilet habits of a small minority of fans, and the RFU could always do more (it’s marketing department has clearly expanded exponentially judging by the people walking into their offices, perhaps they could do with recruiting locally for some empathy, insight and common sense……) but walk down the High Street after a match and a lot of the fans are sober respectable people of all ages , and most of the drunk ones are good natured and having fun. I have never had to worry about walking with my children to Marble Hill past the pubs after a match, in fact my children always found it especially fun.

      And I really do not think that you can argue that the stadium getting bigger has made our lives that much worse. my earliest experience, 37 years ago, was of games bringing the traffic to a standstill even though the North stand was still just a row of concrete steps.

    • sian

      I unfortunately had to get the train last Saturday with a drunken load of old men who were oblivious to a woman seated near them with their swearing and so called humour. I found my way through the vomit on the way home. Time to rein them in.

  9. michelangelo

    I was at the All Blacks match on Saturday, and the ticketing system wasn’t working at Gate A. A large crowd built up, and conditions became quite dangerous (crush-wise). RFU must prevent such glitches occurring. It is maddening to arrive 20 min early and then almost miss kick-off

  10. George

    On the whole I think the RFU do a pretty good job on managing the balance between the game and the town, and the two aren’t mutually exclusive anyway. I am looking forward to the World Cup and managed to get tickets for a Twickenham game through the ballot, although not England, which is probably just as well for my bank balance.

    The traffic on rugby days is pretty appalling but most of us can learn to plan around it. It’s just a shame that the Council’s work in the town centre is making some ordinary days more like rugby days.

    So it’s a yes from me for the World Cup and a decent number of big games every year, but a big ‘no thanks’ when it comes to Chelsea or anything else that would result in such large crowds on a significantly increased basis.

  11. Mumto1plus2

    Definitely looking forward to the World Cup although disappointed in the way they sold the tickets. I wonder how many people who actually live here will get to see a match in Twickenham? I managed to get tickets for Brighton and the Millenium stadium.
    On the subject of pee though, I would really like to see more policing and far more portaloos in central Twickenham. The Army v Navy game is always the worst and I’d hate to see the World Cup marred by this kind of behaviour too.

  12. Ben Makins

    I’m with Carole and “walkinthepark” on this. Yes, always a few “side effects” but the RFU is serious about trying to tackle these with transport plans, free bus services, loos etc. and tries to be a “good neighbour”. The behavior of some fans is unacceptable, but it’s pretty rare. You can feedback to Community Manager, Hannah Barrett, via twickenhamcommunity.rfu.com. Maybe she could tell Exeter about their “fans” and ask for more considerate conduct.The RFU also do a lot more in the community than just support the Music Day. However, this alone has raised over £100,000 since 2002 when I got them on board for the first one in Radnor Gardens. Twickenham would be a diminished without the stadium and, yes, presumably we all knew about it when we chose to move here. For me that was a positive attraction. I enjoy the buzz of match days and attending games (via the ballot) and concerts with friends and family. Yes, if you don’t like the inconvenience of the World Cup and can make a few quid by renting your house out, then that seems a pragmatic and positive thing to do. Good luck; I’d get on Airbandb soon.

    • Sally

      I was at a meeting organised by Trevor Bayliss called “Toilets for Twickenham about just this problem and there was a RFU preson there. Residents all spoke about the people peeing all over the place-and worse. Rather huffily, the RFU rep said they put lots of toilets about etc etc and if we saw anybody doing this we could call her (not in on weekends and what would she do-rush down and tell them to stop?) She also said the Community Police hadn’t said there was a problem. This is exactly the response the RFU loves to give. Who among us would call the police about someone pissing in our garden? By the time you fight your way through the community police answering machine and operator the culprits are long gone. They behave like that because the area has nothing to do with them, its just a sort of toilet and snack stop on the way to the stadium.They pee on the sides of the toilets.
      I disagree with the “you knew what you were getting into when you moved here ” line because it becomes a blank cheque for the RFU do do what it wants . However big it gets. They have expanded in size since we moved here, the expansion being permitted because they made a lot of promises about the use of the staduim they now want to overturn.Rather like Heathrow.

    • dellboy

      Agreed, the game has changed to professional, it’s no longer two teams turning out on a Sunday morning with family and friends watching, a quick change then to a pub for a few beers and home to a late lunch.
      The RFU has a refurbishment programme ongoing (£76 million). If they can put aside that much they could contribute much more into the local area, even if it’s only for better toilets.
      The disruption caused at matches wasn’t as bad in the amateur days, now it does have an effect on anyone trying to move around on match days.

    • Ben Makins

      Sally and Del boy…good points, though I don’t think that the professionalization of the game and the development of the stadium has made things worse in Twickenham. I went to an All Blacks game in 1981 (?) and last weekend and the big difference is the amount of facilities at the stadium now. Too much info, but I was easily able to enjoy a “comfort break” before walking home so managed to avoid peeing in anyone’s garden, despite advancing years! Also there’s encouragement for spectators to stay around the stadium after the game with a few bars and lots of food outlets open and bands playing, rather than all decanting into the town. OK, so less spent in the town, but you can’t have it both ways! I certainly think some more messages either going out with tickets or in the programme saying “Respect our Neighbours” might be a good idea. Certainly more loos in Twickenham needed, but not just on rugby days! To declare an interest, I’m now on the RFU “Home Turf Residents Group” run by Hannah Barrett, and very happy to take forward views and opinions voiced on Twickerati’s pages, positive and negative towards RFU, especially in run up to the World Cup.

    • dellboy

      Ben, in the four decades between matches things have changed; car ownership has increased by over 40% nationally, of the london boroughs Richmond has the highest percentage of car owners at 75%, Kingston 66%, Hounslow 62%,so the traffic increase has been greater here than elsewhere in london.

      The stadium now holds 80K +, how many was it back in the 80’s?. You talk of good experiences during those games, the problem here is you would be “going with the flow” to and from the ground. Everything is geared up to get you to and from the game. If you try to go against the flow it is nearly impossible, trying to cross it you are stopped by road closures.

      Your experiences have been good, against those who wish to do other things which can be bad if it involves anything around the RFU

  13. Personally I can’t wait! Allez les Bleus!

  14. Walkinthepark

    Unless you are 107 then you did know what you were getting into when you moved here.

    With the exception of being landed with a tower block on top of the station on the unfulfilled promise to Lord True and the RFU that it would deliver a bright shiny new station for the World Cup, and the piss, I think the presence of the RFU and stadium, the fun and the disruption, is the making of this suburb. Without it we would be just another East Sheen.

    On the subject of piss can we please have a CCTV live streaming and shaming the live streaming at the bottom of the steps by the station? The on the spot fines do not seem to have worked, you still have to wade through a lake at the bottom after match days.

    Also could someone get a message to the Exeter fan that I am not an “uptight old dyke” for objecting to him and his pre teen son pissing in my front garden on my roses, and it really isn’t alright?

  15. Carole

    Love Twickenham and proud of its place in the Rugby world. Really enjoy Rugby days – they bring the town alive. World Cup – bring it on!

    • Sally

      Why “proud”? Our town just has a big stadium in it. We didn’t win the honor, the business just set up there. Heaps of things to be proud of around here but not sure if we should preen ourselves on the supposed compliment that a big business is making a lot of money selling seats to a rugby game.We also have a Greggs factory. Should we all be proud and loyal towards doughnuts?

      No reason why the RFU should care about Twickenham beyond keeping the Council sweet (not too hard) and so protecting their business interests.Their major PR spin is to invite locals to have a sense of ownership and pride in the stadium. Why? This is like living near a huge Coca-cola plant and feeling misty eyed that the nice chaps had chosen our town in which to make millions.
      Meanwhile, they want to put on more events.

    • boanerges

      Comparing the RFU with Greggs is facile. Rugby Union is an international sport, and the RFU is the governing body. There is much more going on there than just a field for playing rugby, as you would see if you went on one of their conducted tours. Yes, I am very proud of it; whenever we have visitors, we make sure we show them the Stadium, that always impresses (and how about that statue?).

    • Sally

      The task for the huge corporation which profits from the game and owns the enormous stadium is to encourage a sense of ownership, nay, patriotic identifacation in locals. Its like putting a Union Jack on the marmalade jar-love Britain, love this.Its “our stadium”.We are part of the truimphs of well muscled chaps charging about a field.Don’t you think its a bit of a con? Its a nice game but no special award that they have their staduim here.
      Don’t dismiss Greggs.It too is a local business,and unlike the rugby, never results in pee, noise violence or gridlock.I’m not a baker I don’t work in their shop or factory and I am not a shareholder-but then you too (probably) are not a rugby star, employee or shareholder with the RFU! They are both local businesses. Its just that one has bigger premises and is more trouble.

    • boanerges

      I am proud of the stadium in the same way I am proud of St Paul’s Cathedral, The Houses of Parliament, the poppies at The Tower etc – and locally York House Gardens, Eel Pie Island etc. I am not knocking Greggs: it is not just a “local” business, having more than 1500 outlets, and being the largest bakery chain in UK They do a good job, and contribute to the economy nationally and locally (people living in Colne Rd might not feel the same way, however). I don’t think RFU is a plc, so I certainly don’t own shares
      It is remarkable that when you tell someone you live in Twickenham, they almost always recognise the name and associate it with Rugby (not, with due respect, with Greggs!)

    • Rufus McDufus

      To be fair the Gregg’s lorries are a bit of a PITA! Then again if they left it’d inevitably get built on and there’s a room for a lot of flats or houses on that site which’d probably be worse traffic-wise.

    • Cleo Talbot

      Hmmm, “PITA” … very appropriate for a baker! 😉

  16. Adam

    Does anyone know the best way to rent out a house near the stadium so I can get as far away as possible from Twickenham for the whole World Cup? I’m not looking to make a fortune, but enough for a nice holiday would be excellent!

    • illiad1

      “rent out a house near the stadium” ??? If you are hoping to get money from fans or others wanting a ‘rugby holiday’ then you need to be careful they dont trash the place….

    • Very tempted to get the hell out of Dodge myself. Actually had no idea what it would be like when we moved here as we’d only seen the town on Army and Navy day and thought ‘this is probably a bit unusual’. Please don’t bother telling me we shouldn’t have moved here. We love it and rugby does not define our lives. To us there is much more to Twickenham that makes it worth being here. I suppose we should take it with a pinch of salt when we’re confronted by men pissing in the alleyway to Waitrose; when we can’t buy a bottle of wine to drink in our home because the alcohol aisles have been closed by police officers; when we open the door to someone retching in front of our door, and ask him to move along and after a slightly embarrassed apology, he says ‘I wasn’t doing it in your HOUSE or anything’; when we are unable to eat or drink at local pubs or restaurants because they are either closing early or so full of drunken fans that it doesn’t make for a pleasant experience. Walking the dog becomes an obstacle course of glass, vomit and discarded food the next day. I totally understand and appreciate that they’re out having a good time, and I don’t in any way begrudge that, but the RFU does need to put more into clean up, and certainly has a big job to do in convincing those of us on the route from riverside pubs to the stadium that they are serious about investing in the community, apart from good deeds for charity.