Potential investor is tempting Grimsby Town supporters with his vision of a new stadium for 14,000 people. While promising, the concept offers more questions than answers.
In early April we've heard that Grimbsy Town are forced to put the new Freeman Street stadium plan on hold because of the ongoing pandemic. Club finances have suffered a huge blow, especially that we may see fans left out of football games until 2021.
It's thus no wonder that a few days ago chairman Philip Day assured there are more pressing issues for Grimsby Town to work on the stadium now.
“A new stadium is well down our list of priorities at the moment. We would be working in conjunction with North East Lincolnshire Council. They are on record as saying they want to regenerate Freeman Street and they see a new stadium as an integral part of that regeneration. But I am sure that is down the list of priorities for North East Lincolnshire Council now too.” Day said.
It's the more interesting that his words were then followed by a refreshing release of alternative stadium plans by entrepreneur and potential club investor Tom Shutes. He released photos of renderings for a new 14,000-seat stadium at the iconic but deteriorated fish docks.
The vision was drawn in 2018-2019 by London-based Waugh Thistleton architects and foresees the creation of a distinctive main grandstand, which is shaped to resemble a boat, honouring the city's proud fishing traditions.
Shute used this opportunity to criticise the club's current plan as less viable and not friendly to the densely populated Freeman Street community.
The new vision looks great, but Grimsby Town were quick to react to the release. The club have confirmed it was shown these same renderings back in February 2019 and wished to move forward with the vision. However, it lacks a credible financial plan.
“The board was happy to proceed further and asked the representative to let it have financial projections for the running of the club over the next five years. In particular the board required clarity on the cost of the new stadium, how this would be financed and the financial implications for the club - would there be capital and interest repayable over a period of time and if so what period or a rent payable and again at what rate and over what period.
„Such financial information is also required by the EFL in connection with the change of ownership. From that date and up to present that information has not been forthcoming.” reads today's statement from chairman Day.