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Studying 'The Study'

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 06/05/2005

A feasibility study? What exactly does John Fenty mean when he says we have to conduct a feasibility study? It cannot be a study to determine if GTFC can build a new stadium.

Anyone can do that!

Providing of course that they have the money and can put all the pieces together and that is not difficult in real terms.

But Grimsby Town FC do not have the money.

They have a commitment from the developer, or did have, who would put in a significant proportion of the money if they could sell the retail space. So far they have failed to do that.

They also have a commitment from Conoco.

They have also reckoned into the figure, the amount of money they can get through other sponsorships.

They also had a commitment from the football trust for a grant towards the building costs. It would be safe to assume that still holds.

The club also had to put 2 million pounds in towards the building costs.

All that was 2 or 3 years ago. But costs have risen since then and it would be hard to estimate just how much they have increased.

So back to the feasibility study.

My understanding is that the study is not only about the feasibility of building the stadium.

It will probably include a study of the region, the economy, the future plans, new developments and the most important part, the retail market in the region and the benefits to the club in having a new stadium.

But can the area stand another major retail outlet?

About 2 -3 years ago, a report by a major retailer suggested that the retail sector in the Grimsby area was saturated and it would be a brave company that would put its venture capital into the area.

And that is the most difficult task Grimsby Town FC has. Convincing a major retailer to be the major investor in the project, which would draw other retailers into the mix.

Either that or find another five million pounds from somewhere.

That is the purpose of the study as I see it. If the study is positive in its findings, it is that which will be used as the major marketing and promotional device and there could be some hope that the club would succeed in its aim.

But without that, hope fades.

John Fenty has been committed to the new stadium since he was on the late Bill Carr's board and was the driving force behind it. So there can be no doubt about his commitment to the project.

But he has to face facts. Without a positive report, the chances of a new stadium within the next 5-15 years are very slim. In fact, he might do a lot worse right now in calling it off, and instead, investing some money in improving the facilities at Blundell Park.

That looks a lot easier to me. And more feasible too.

But there again, I could be totally wrong. But I don't think so.


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