By Peter Desira, Herald Sun
Wednesday, 7 February 2001
Colonial Stadium looks set to host its first soccer game: the derby between Melbourne Knights and South Melbourne in three weeks’ time.
Knights has been negotiating with Stadium Operations Limited, and club spokesman John Sigur said yesterday the signs were favorable for the February 25 fixture to be switched from Knights Stadium in Sunshine to Colonial.
“We’re 70 per cent certain. It’s a matter of nutting out the financials and making sure the pitch can take three matches in three days,” Sigur said.
Colonial will host the Ansett Cup match between Geelong and Essendon on the Friday and Melbourne Storm’s rugby league game on the Saturday before the soccer derby on the Sunday.
It will cost Knights more than $100,000 to stage the game but the club has gained sponsorship backing and has said ticket prices will remain at their usual level.
“We need 16,000 to break even but believe we can attract a bigger crowd than that,” Sigur said.
“The level of interest is already big with South Melbourne on top and with us climbing the ladder.
“Shifting it from Sunshine to such a central and comfortable venue will expose the club to the mainstream sports public, and at soccer level, it will attract the non-diehards who may be hesitant to go to Somers St.”
Sigur has been negotiating with Colonial Stadium representatives Judy Cain and Paul Drennan for reciprocal rights for the Knights’ sponsors and VIP treatment for gold-pass members at Knights Stadium.