ROVERS UNVEIL PLAN TO UPGRADE THE MEM
IT’S ON to Plan B for Bristol Rovers, who will be staying at the Memorial Stadium for the time being according to owner Wael Al-Qadi.
Following the breakdown of negotiations between the club and the University of the West of England over a proposed new stadium, Al-Qadi confirmed on Tuesday that the Memorial Stadium will be redeveloped instead and that the club will no longer be seeking out new sites.
Rovers’ chairman Steve Hamer stated last week that the collapsed UWE deal has cost the club hundreds of thousands of pounds, but the Qatari spoke robustly about the new plans.
“We’ve always had a fallback plan,” said Al-Qadi. “That is to look into regeneration of the Mem, it’s a beautiful piece of land – spacious.
“I believe there were two sets of planning permissions in the past for the Mem to be built up into a proper stadium which offers fantastic facilities for our supporters; that’s what we want to do now.
“Our aim is to provide supporters with modern, beautiful facilities to watch great football in.
“Very soon we’ll try to reconvene and try to create a structure for this project to function on its own – so our legal advisors and project managers can get account of what’s needed and move forward.”
Al-Qadi’s family bought Rovers in February 2016, but with the UWE deal being uncompleted for some time rumours have circled amongst fans about whether the family will pull out of the club, with Al-Qadi batting those claims away.
“I’m not running away, I’m here talking,” said the club owner. “Open to all questions, open to all queries, just an open book.
“Obviously we wouldn’t go and talk to UWE, or talk about regenerating the Mem, if funding is an issue. It’s not Doomsday for the club.”
PLANS: Wael Al-Qadi