PSL’s small big club

United toy­ing with idea of tak­ing over Cale­do­nian Sta­dium and re­viv­ing it

The Times (South Africa) - - SPORT - NJABULO NGIDI TimesLIVE

SUPERSPORT United are con­sid­er­ing re­lo­cat­ing from Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium to a more com­pact venue to make the most of the sup­port they draw.

Mat­sat­santsa a Pi­tori and their neigh­bours Mamelodi Sun­downs strug­gle to fill the At­teridgeville venue that sits 28 900 peo­ple even though they both have en­joyed great suc­cess at this venue.

The back-to-back Ned­bank Cup cham­pi­ons‚ United were worst af­fected and this has prompted them to look at other op­tions to play in front of a packed and buzzing sta­dium.

The club’s chief ex­ec­u­tive‚ Stan­ley Matthews, said: “We are in talks with the city coun­cil about tak­ing over Cale­do­nian Sta­dium and re­viv­ing it.

“We feel that it could be a vi­able so­lu­tion for us‚ a 6 000-7 000-seater sta­dium‚ close to the city hub where peo­ple can walk to the game.

“There is a cos­mopoli­tan crowd and we wouldn’t be far from our base in At­teridgeville‚ Laudium‚ Soshanguve‚ Mabopane‚ GaRankuwa and sur­round­ing ar­eas.

“That’s what we are pur­su­ing at the mo­ment. If that fails‚ we are go­ing to sit down again and think about our lo­ca­tion as a club. It’s a sen­si­tive dis­cus­sion.

“We have turned down a num­ber of of­fers to re­lo­cate that would have been fi­nan­cially good for the club but they would have taken us away from our ex­ist­ing and loyal crowd.

“If I had an ex­tra 5 000 sup­port­ers com­ing to watch our games‚ I would have ex­tra money to buy one or two play­ers. I don’t have that at the mo­ment,” he added. “If the fans are not speak­ing through the turn­stiles‚ I can’t change the re­al­ity of where the club is. This is del­i­cate.”

United’s pos­si­ble move is un­likely to hap­pen dur­ing the 2017-2018 cam­paign that starts next month.

The club will con­tinue to go on nu­mer­ous drives to bring fans to Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium for the up­com­ing cam­paign.

“We’ve tried re­ally hard in in­creas­ing the fan base and we’ve kind of ac­cepted where we are now at around 5 500-6 000 level‚” said Matthews.

“That’s our level. To try to fill Lu­cas Moripe as a club‚ we won’t be able to do that. We don’t have the fol­low­ing. We’ve been at it over 15 years in and around At­teridgeville.

“We need to be more like [Bid­vest] Wits‚ play in a 5 000‚ 6 000 or 10 000-seater sta­dium like most of the clubs in Africa.” —

‘ We feel that it could be a vi­able so­lu­tion‚ a 6 000 to 7 000-seater

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