Naming a stadium stand after a serial killer? It may sound absurd, but it became a reality at an English club.
Southend United will probably not be known to everyone. In terms of sport, the English club is unremarkable and plays in the fifth division.
So what makes the club so special? In fact, it’s neither the players nor the fans, but rather the stadium. To be precise: The “Gilbert & Rose West Stand” grandstand in Roots Hall Stadium. Because this is anything but normal – it was accidentally named after a serial killer.
Real estate agents Gilbert & Rose bought naming rights
How could this happen? It all started with a regular real estate agent called “Gilbert & Rose”. He bought the naming rights to the grandstand, which is why it was then named after him. So far, so unspectacular.
But now to the English serial killer. Rose West and her husband Fred tortured and murdered nine young girls and their eight-year-old stepdaughter between 1973 and 1987. West has been in a British prison since 1995 after human remains were found at her home in Gloucester, England.
The grandstand called “Gilbert & Rose West Stand” unintentionally immortalizes just that English serial killer. In Southend this story became a real scandal.
The club’s fans reacted shocked on Twitter: “How was this approved?” or “What a big mistake by Southend United” were two of the numerous tweets.
Southend United welcomes fans to new stand
Fans have even called for the stand to be renamed, while the club issued a statement on the unfortunate choice of name: “We are grateful for the sponsorship of Gilbert & Rose for the coming season and look forward to working with them on a number of areas, including community projects. However, we can understand the fans and will try to find a solution.”
Either way, Southend welcomes fans to the stands for the new season. Should the club actually terminate the contract with the real estate agent, the story would be forgotten – according to the English telegraph United is now considering a name change. “G&R West Stand” or “West Stand sponsored by Gilbert & Rose” should be possible names.
So the serial killer will continue to be an issue on the island one way or another. In any case, the “Gilbert & Rose West Stand” goes down in the history of England’s most curious grandstands.