Belfast Telegraph

Biting back: Windsor Park bog returns to haunt famous old stadium

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

By John Laverty

The bog was always going to come back and haunt them. No matter how this Windsor Park thing plays out, the fact remains that you should never have built a stadium on marshlands.

It wouldn't happen today, of course, but then today is 110 years too late.

Windsor is, of course, not the first famous stadium where the ghost of planners past has come back to haunt them.

Fifteen years ago it was discovered that the Maracana in Rio de Janiero was crumbling due to the sheer number of fans who had relieved themselves on the terraces down through the years. Inadequate provision of toilets for what was then the world's largest stadium (since rebuilt, of course) led to a tradition of people (mostly men, but not exclusively - this is Brazil, after all) urinating on the stand.

The problem came to light after officials noticed that the building's concrete and steel structures were starting to sag. At the time, civil engineer Luis Eduardo Cardoso declared: "The main cause of the damage is people going to the toilet.

"All those gallons of urine contain a lot of ammonia which acts with amazing speed. It eats through the concrete and then acts like acid on the steel girders; that's why the corrosion is so devastating."

You could, therefore, say that a 'bog' of a different kind ultimately put paid to football's most iconic venue...

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