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Future of BP
By: Rob Sedgwick
The future of Blundell Park
This week, Dave Peasgood takes on the role of devil's advocate to argue against a new stadium. In favour of the venture is his alter ego John.
Hear their views and YOU decide in our latest 'fishy' poll.
If Grimsby are to have a future in modern football they need to move to a new stadium. Decent facilities for a 20,000+ crowd.
We can do all that and still remain at Blundell park.
Car parking is bad enough there when there's anything near 10,000 so imagine 20,000. It's not like the old days when football special buses ran.
Car parking at many premier clubs is as poor as Grimsby. Chelsea is a good example, being in an area as built up as ours. Supporters expect to park within 2 minutes of the ground, but could manage if they parked 5 or 10 minutes away. If the support was there then park and ride transport or football specials would be viable once again. The buses stopped running in the 70's because the crowds disappeared.
An out of town stadium with custom car parks would be ideal.
Except for the single access road in and single access road out. Waiting 15 to 20 minutes to reach the main road isn't ideal. People leave BP early as it is, the new stadium would be half empty with 5 minutes to go. Anyway, what about supporters who enjoy a pre match beer and walk to the ground or catch any of the many buses along Grimsby Road.
They could have a beer at the ground and buses would be available.
It isn't viable for buses to run from all parts of town to Great Coates, the way they currently run to Cleethorpes. Many routes would be nigh on empty and 'stagecoach' wouldn't keep them going. They can't afford to subsidise GTFC.
There's a train station.
But access is only really from Grimsby or Cleethorpes central. Who wants to drive into the town centre, struggle to park and then have 2 train journeys, one in and one out and then a walk back to the car. It wouldn't be used.
Well you won't get 20,000 in Blundell Park again, and if a premier division 2 occurs with minimum entrance requirements, we'll be consigned to div 2 soccer forever.
Blundell park could be redeveloped. A redevelopment of the Main, Osmond and Pontoon stands, plus covered corners has been priced at 2.5 million pounds against 14 million for a new stadium. There may be more that could be done. I just don't think anyone has thought it through enough.
But that still won't hold 20,000.
We don't know that yet. Firstly there is no stated definite need for a 20,000 capacity. Secondly BP could be expanded both backwards towards the river and upwards. A 'staged' expansion to give single tier Main, Osmond and Pontoon stands/corners with an option on 2nd tiers IF necessary, could house 20,000.
The residents wouldn't like that.
The Great Coates residents don't exactly like the new stadium idea either. On top of which they have good grounds for winning a planning battle. The local government schedules for development and expansion do not require any more out of town shopping developments, which this plan is essentially for, but with a football stadium thrown in.
The toilets and catering at BP are primitive. They detract people from coming.
I agree. However new toilets and catering outlets at BP are not a huge hurdle to overcome.
So why haven't we got them after 100+ years?
Because no-one has wanted to invest seriously in the club. This new development, be it at BP or Great Coates, will mean major investment one way or the other and if it's at BP then new facilities would be part of that plan. Anyway you are missing the point. Grimsby cannot yet attract 20,000 supporters. We have a hard core of about 4,000 and we'll lose some of those if they have to drive out of town to a new ground. They don't all have cars or petrol money.
A lot of clubs have doubled attendances with their new stadia.
No! That's a misnomer. Sunderland have and so did Bolton when in the premiership, but they were under capacity to start with. The Scunthorpes and Walsalls of the world will tell a different tale, and anyway where is the money coming from?
Euro funding, the developers of the site and football trust grants can provide 10 million. We need to find 4 million more. That is not a lot for what we will get for it.
4 million now, could be 6 million by the time planning permission is won and construction starts. Who will fund any over-spend? Who do GTFC have anyone on the board with the finance and desire to give that sort of money away?
With effort, sponsors can be found, plus some extra income will come in from the development side of the new site. New share income is also feasible.
I would want to see facts and figures about that before committing myself there. I wouldn't want to end up like Oxford with a half built derelict new ground and bankruptcy. I agree about new shares but it will be some considerable time before the two sides that recently fought for control of GTFC are prepared to come together and authorise share issues which will effectively dilute the power each side currently holds.
But think of the atmosphere and kudos of a new stadium. Something to be proud of. a sign for the future and GTFC no longer the butt of seaside jokes.
Yes if it were full I might see that, but think if 4000 supporters are watching div 2 or 3 soccer huddled into some corner of a vast empty stadium where the club has had to sell all it's best players to finance the building and have nothing left to show on the pitch. GTFC fans aren't noted for their noisy singing. It would be a funereal atmosphere.
We might attract a higher caliber player or Management with a decent stadium, facilities, changing rooms, fitness centre etc..
Yes we might, but better players still cost money which we may not have. We can have such a stadium at BP for 2.5 million, but call it 5 million to allow for expansion to double tier stands if proven necessary. That leaves available money to strengthen the team and THAT is the key to success. A winning team will get fans in and perpetuate success. When we can sell out BP with 10,000 every week I will listen to new stadium plans more freely.
But we are already losing 10,000 pounds a week on the wage bill. we MUST have more capacity to break even.
Having capacity and putting bums on those seats are two different things. They do not automatically follow. When did BP last sell out?
OK I agree, but I still feel a new stadium is the only way forward for a new century and a new outlook.
Change for change sake is not my belief. GTFC may well be capable of fluking a way into the premiership for perhaps the odd season in 10 come the future, but I don't expect we could sustain that. However if we got there, THEN we should look at a new stadium, because premiership football is possibly the only criteria that would fill such a ground. We do not have a sugar daddy to build us a stadium and ALSO buy a team that can buy their way out of div 1 as Blackburn once did and Fulham are trying to do even now.
But without ambition, we never will have people prepared to invest in us. The only way forward is a brand new stadium on a brand new greenfield site, with good catering and parking facilities and clean and tidy seating. Somewhere that parents would not be ashamed to take their families for an afternoon or evening. Somewhere comfortable and pleasant.
People with money to invest, do so if they see a potential return on their investment. Believe me I want to see the best for GTFC and long term I'd probably be delighted to see GTFC in a new stadium playing premiership football, BUT they are a million miles from that. They need to balance their books, achieve success on the pitch and then use the strengths and income generated from there to build for the future. Jumping feet first into a new stadium 'could' be the biggest mistake in over 100 years for Grimsby town.
Well I'll go to a new stadium regardless of travel or cost.
I wish everyone in Grimsby had your fortune and income John. But they haven't. I know. Lets ask the supporters.....
Is it worthwhile persevering with trying to develop Blundell Park?
This poll has been closed!
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