YORKSHIRE are to re-name Headingley’s West Stand in an attempt to further banish its bad-boy reputation.
The stand will become known as The White Rose Stand as part of Yorkshire’s drive to make the ground a more pleasant environment in which to watch cricket.
Over the years, the West Stand – formerly the Western Terrace – has been a focus for rowdy elements, with Yorkshire conceding they lost control of it during this summer’s New Zealand Test.
However, with the club having already reacted to that by announcing plans to split the stand into specific spectator categories, they are now seeking to further improve the image of the ground.
“We have chosen the new name because it is synonymous with Yorkshire and Yorkshire cricket and because it moves away further from the bad-boy reputation of the Western Terrace that was,” explained chief executive Mark Arthur.
“We want to change the look and feel of the cricket ground, and how it is perceived by some people.
“We’re also going to soften the feel of it by putting more flowers around the place – blue, yellow, white, traditional Yorkshire colours – so that when you first come in there’s a really different atmosphere, a really different feel.
“People are coming to Headingley for a day out, and we want it to be a fun place to come and watch cricket.”
Starting with next summer’s Test match against Sri Lanka, the White Rose Stand will be divided into three separate areas.
There will be a “fanzone” in which fancy dress is permitted, a “popular” area for over-18s in which no fancy dress is allowed, and an “1863” area for adults and juniors; 1863 was the year that Yorkshire were formed.
In addition, the North Stand – which runs along from the West Stand towards the pavilion – is to be renamed the Community Stand and will be alcohol-free.
“That West Stand part of the ground is essentially going to be broken up into four distinct parts,” said Arthur.
“There will be different prices in those areas and different acceptable codes of behaviour.
“So, if you want to dress as a pantomime horse, there is a section available for that.
“If you want to be in a non-alcoholic area, there will be somewhere for you, and with each ticket we sell there will be a description as to the type of behaviour that is acceptable and the type of person that you’re going to find in that area.”
As ever, it is all about striking the correct balance.
Arthur is keen to ensure that cricket is not played in a cathedral-like atmosphere and that people can still enjoy themselves with a responsible drink.
“On the one hand, we don’t want a library; on the other, we don’t want people to be out of control,” he added.
“Headingley is a wonderful place to watch cricket and we want it to be wonderful for every spectator.”