Town chairman John Fenty: We still need a new stadium
GRIMSBY Town remain committed to a move to a new stadium, according to chairman John Fenty.
Mr Fenty told a fans' forum at Blundell Park this week that he still believes the Mariners need to relocate from their current home in order to boost income and progress as a club with the ambition of retaining its Football League status.
And he doesn't feel redevelopment of Blundell Park is a viable alternative to a move to a new home.
Mr Fenty said: "Talk of a new stadium first came about in 1994 and, when I joined the board of directors in 1999, it was my bag.
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"It stalled but in 2003 after the ITV Digital collapse we dusted down the planning application in a bid to move forward.
"As everyone knows we hit monumental barriers and many problems but we eventually won all our battles, going to great lengths at huge cost.
"We finally got planning permission and then the economy crashed.
"But I still believe we have to have a new stadium and that belief won't change."
The chairman insists Town can still realise the dream of a new stadium in the future but refrained from putting a timescale on a move.
He does believe, however, with the backing of North East Lincolnshire Council, it will happen.
Mr Fenty went on: "The council we have today is very willing and on board to help us.
"We still want to relocate and we need to.
"As for a site, Great Coates is not entirely dead and buried and that is still the preferred location.
"But we have to face facts that the scheme in its current form can't be delivered and that is why we have decided to let the current planning permission lapse.
"We have to reinvent the plan to move to Great Coates but we are also looking at other sites.
"We have not stopped working on it and myself, the board and Mike Parker (vice-chairman) remain committed to a move."
Asked at the forum if redevelopment of Blundell Park could be an option instead, Mr Fenty said that wasn't something being considered.
He added: "Redevelopment is always an option but I don't see that ever solving our problems.
"We need to have a facility that can provide seven-day income streams and a new stadium, with enough car parking, does that."
While a new stadium remains on the agenda, it's likely Town will be playing on at Blundell Park for the foreseeable future.
And the chairman confirmed the ground still meets Football League criteria should the Mariners achieve promotion from the Blue Square Bet Premier in May.
He said: "We have just submitted documentation and Blundell Park does fulfil the criteria for the Football League.
"If we do win promotion it will be straightforward for us going back into the league without any ground concerns."