A 20,000-seat facility outside professional football in England? Yes, that could soon become a reality, at least until Southend United does not get promoted to the fourth tier of the competition. Will we finally get to see a new venue there after almost 20 years of waiting?
Essex-based club officials are more than confident that they will start the 2024/25 season at the newly built Fossetts Farm Stadium. The team currently plays in the National League, in the fifth tier of the competition, so that, at least in theory, it could be considered as a non-professional club. However, grand plans to build a new facility definitely deny this theory.
Southend United first dreamed of moving out to Fossetts Farm, north of the town centre, back in 2006. 2 years later, the design had been developed and the concept had planning permission, but it did not come to life. In 2017, the concept was updated, changing some major features. The new idea was to build two residential units and a hotel entirely on the north stand.
It's now 16 years since the first concept was presented, and the club continues to perform at the worn-out Roots Hall, which, as the name suggests, has long roots, dating back to 1955. Mr bet users certainly won't be waiting that long for a withdrawal. It is there just as it has to be in Southend, fast, because the club has no more time to waste, as the new arena is expected to be commissioned in just 2 years from now on.
In the announcement, the club revealed that
the target is to commence the 2024/25 season from the first phase of the new stadium at Fossetts comprising, initially, the south, east and west stands that will incorporate a range of corporate and entertainment space. The club insists on continuing work on the project and hopes that the new stadium will make Southend United a self-sustaining business.
It is still necessary to refine the design of the stadium. The authorities would like changes in several areas, including:
- reducing the target seating capacity from 21,000 to 17,000
- changing the west stand to create a version of Liverpool's The Kop with safe standing
- increasing the commercial space throughout the first phase of the stadium (mainly in the south stand).
Construction is to take place in two phases, with the south, east and west stands being the first to be built. Only when these are completed will work begin on the north stand, transforming Southend United's facility into one of the most exciting and modern in all of England.
The club's goal is to provide the infrastructure that will enable them to follow the success of clubs like AFC Bournemouth and Brentford FC, both of which currently play in the Premier League. Fossetts Farm target capacity of 17,000 seats is well above Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth and on par with Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium.