Statement on stadium delays

June 5, 2008

[image1]Following the news that broke last Friday concerning the plans for the regeneration of the Memorial Stadium, your Executive Committee believe that they should convey their views to members and accordingly issue the following statement.

The Executive Committee were hugely disappointed in the news that Opal, the student accommodation provider, pulled out of the development scheme at such a late stage. The committee have always supported the scheme and have recently been extremely busy in planning for the move to Cheltenham, including arranging an open day at the Whaddon Road ground and funding transport for the event. The news breaking last Friday gave the committee no choice other than to postpone the visit at almost no notice to supporters. 

Schemes of this nature are always complex and for their success they require all parties to be on board to enable them to even commence. The economic climate has obviously had a serious impact on the ability of the student accommodation provider to finally commit to this project although the news has still come as a shock.

Whilst the pulling out of the project by Opal was out of the hands of the football club negotiating team, the committee were nevertheless disappointed that further comment from the football club board was not forthcoming – leading to a certain amount of bad press. It was also regrettable that the executive committee were not fully informed of events as they developed, although it does appreciate the practicalities and timings involved. Whilst the Supporters Club Chairman was willing to take questions from the media, the committee believes PR would have been better served if there had been representation from the board and this message has been conveyed to Ron Craig, the football club chairman.

With the uncertainty of signing-up a new student accommodation, the committee are in agreement with the board’s decision to postpone the move to Cheltenham for a year as this will allow for due consideration of alternative providers.  

The committee has been pleased to learn that representation from the board will be able to impart further information and answer questions when they appear on local BBC and ITV news bulletins on Friday evening. 

Finally, the executive committee remain of the opinion that the scheme is an excellent one and is in the long term best interests of Bristol Rovers and look forward to working with the football club to ensure its success.  
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