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The Good, The Standard And The Ugly: LCCC Floodlights

Jonathan Schofield illuminates himself getting progressively dimmer

Written by . Published on July 5th 2011.

The Good, The Standard And The Ugly: LCCC Floodlights

Category: Good  

What and when

The floodlights at Lancashire County Cricket Club (LCCC), Old Trafford. Put up about 25 minutes ago – or a couple of weeks, at most. There's a picture of LCCC chief exec Jim Cumbes in the gallery below, next to one of the floodlights, looking pleased with himself (He's pleased because of the club's epic victory over Derwent Holdings - click here for the story.)

What's so special about floodlights?

I find floodlights thrilling. As a child the sight of Rochdale AFC’s floodlights lit over their Spotland ground used to give me butterflies. This was all about the magic a matrix of floodlights creates; electrical energy focussed down on a crowd of people lured in for the love of sport (                   ). That’s a deliberate blank space for any sarcastic comment to be inserted given I’m talking about Rochdale AFC and the love of sport. The sight of floodlights still makes my mouth water for horrible hotdogs transformed into dainty delicacies under the neon shine of the big lights. 


I know. I recall trips down the motorways of Britain spotting stadia as we went - Walsall and Villa on the way to London, for instance. More recently I took a flight to Norway. On a sunny day it flew over Elland Road, the Riverside, The Stadium of Light Entertainment (I put the last word in - S Binns, sub-editing this and bitter Boro' fan) and Sid James’ Park (I put the first word in - Binns), all standing out quite clearly from the urban forms around, even from 20,000 feet in the air. But let’s get back to floodlights. 

Indeed. So now we have these at Old Trafford?

Yes. Good ones too, in a classic foursome. 

Describe them.

They are the best type of floodlights; simple, efficient. That’s where their beauty lies. A slender tower climbs to the sky and is topped with an inclined plane of peepers. Very good, like the spatula I do the eggs with in the morning, but excellent all the same. There’s a Latin phrase I’m thinking of.... 

Et Cetera, Per Ardua ad Astra, Concilio et Labore, Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, Biggus Dickus?

No I’m thinking of Charles Barry designing what is now Manchester Art Gallery to the motto ‘Nihil Pulchrum Nisi Utile’ in the 1820s. This means ‘Nothing Beautiful Unless Useful’. These floodlights conform to this. They also show how cricket is changing, how it needs to pursue shorter versions of the game and play it when people aren't at work and when kids aren't in school. And they work that floodlight magic too. 

Go on...

Living in Old Trafford I’ve already seen people turning their heads while driving along Chester Road, Kings Road and Talbot Road. There's something else too.

I bet there are...

Nor are these just utterly pointless like some towering metal structures in the city. 

Tower Food Forrester 002
What do you mean?

Well, earlier this week I wrote about the Peeps project in Ancoats and started with a quote from the artist Dan Dubowitz  - click here. He was referring to the type of structure at the Great Northern. Or on Piccadilly Approach. Useless and ugly (to invert Charles Barry’s motto above), they appear to have no function other than as a very cheap tower to finish off a wall, and to annoy anybody who has any sort of opinion about our towns and cities. There was a weird fashion for these sad accretions about a decade ago. It seems to be over now, thank God. 

Fair enough. And the Old Trafford floodlights. Vital statistics please?

Each floodlight is 53m high, made from galvanised steel. There are 109 bulbs guaranteed to last at least 10 years on each tower. But that’s not my favourite fact. 

And that is?

The floodlights have two settings. Let’s quote the official club information. 'One (setting is) for matches and another (known as house lights) makes them dimmer’. In other words there’s a dimmer switch. How neat. 

What’s the dimmer for?

That’s for the new marketing idea LCCC have. Now you can hire the cricket square for romantic evenings, dim the lights, get frisky in the gloom on a massive waterbed, have Barry White played from the tannoy. Bowl a maiden over. Get your bails squeezed. Hit someone for six off a googly to fine point. Get one in the box from a yorker.

That was fun. Ha bloody ha. Seriously though, is it true the dimmer switch is for people who have hired a waterbed on the cricket square?



Twenty20 matches coming up including floodlit games

Sun 10 July, 2.30pm, Notts Outlaws

Weds 13 July, 7pm, Warwickshire Bears

Fri 15 July, 7pm, Northants Steelbacks 

Adults £13 (£18 on the day)

Kids £6 (£9 on the day)

Family £32 (£35 on the day) 


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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Bruce WayneJuly 6th 2011.


AnonymousJuly 6th 2011.

Ah yes floodlights. That was our childhood game as well, spotting them when we went through towns.

Greek DaveJuly 6th 2011.

Well done to LCCC for beating Derwent. And yes I love these Good, Standard and Ugly columns, and the floodlights do benefit from being simple.

AWattJuly 8th 2011.

It's just some lights. Get over yourselves.
The dimmer switch is for winter use, so shoppers at Tesco can see in the car park.

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