Celtic announce potential stadium move
Monday 27th February 2017 10:25 Football Sports Stalybridge Posted by Mark Phillip

Stalybridge Celtic have announced plans to potentially relocate the club from Bower Fold to a new stadium in the centre of town.

The announcement was made last Thursday at a fans meeting in the Bower Fold social club.

Hosted by club chairman Rob Gorski, well over 100 fans braved storm Doris to attend the event.

As well as outlining the stadium proposals, the meeting, which lasted over an hour, allowed fans to pose questions about the club in general.

A statement released on behalf of Stalybridge Celtic and Tameside Council stated:  “We can confirm that discussions between Stalybridge Celtic and Tameside Council have taken place in relation to a possible relocation of the football club from Bower Fold to a Stalybridge town centre site. No agreement has been made and these discussions have been very preliminary, with a possible next step being a more detailed feasibility project over the coming months.

“These discussions form part of a wider ongoing dialogue between Stalybridge Celtic and Tameside Council. With a joint objective of seeing the football club have a healthy and successful future be it at its current Bower Fold site or a new town centre one.”

 

Over 100 fans attended the meeting on the same day that Tameside was battered by Storm Doris.

If the plans do materialise, the club can look forward to playing in a modern stadium with an estimated 5,000 capacity.

In a bid to bring in revenue seven days a week, the ground could potentially boast a state-of-the-art 4g pitch, have shops or offices inside and outside the ground, as well as potentially exploring ideas such as a money generating car park.

With an aim to become a community hub, the stadium is likely to become the new home of the academy – which is currently based at Stockport Sports Village – as well as the junior section and first team.

The stadium will also have classrooms to facilitate study, as well as a social bar to increase its attractiveness to the local community.

Speaking to Reporter Sport following the meeting, Gorski told us how the ideas originally surfaced. He said: “It all started when I met one of the council members when we were talking about the opportunity to refurbish or rebuild the social club, and basically the conversation evolved from there.

“They proposed a couple of ideas that we thought were interesting.

“We met them on a second occasion and things developed further from there, which culminated in a meeting yesterday with the leader of the council and a few of the main cabinet members, myself and Ian Milligan, and I have to say from our side it sounds really exciting.

“The council have devised the plan, but we see that it potentially has legs, so we just hope that in terms of feasibility it works.”

 

 

Bower Fold has been the home of Celtic since the early 1900s

Despite being in its early stages, Gorski is hopeful that the plans will develop over the next six weeks. He added: “Over the next six weeks we will have conversations with the council, then we will hopefully enter an MOU – a memorandum of understanding – where we will set the parameters.

“We will then probably spend three to maybe six months going through a whole bunch a feasibility studies – planning, analysis and economic analysis – and then if the stars are aligned, and if there’s a will from both sides – and I do believe there’s a will from both sides – then hopefully we can make some big announcements in the late summer to early autumn.”

In a move to allay supporters’ fears, Gorski stated that he wouldn’t proceed with the plans if it meant the club would ‘go into debt’, while adding that ‘it has to be the right deal for the club’.

Although an exact location couldn’t be disclosed at the meeting, Gorski stated that the new site would be ‘plumb in the centre of Stalybridge’.

Gorski did confirm, however, that a negative review from the health and safety officer would kill the proposal dead.

If this scenario does occur, Celtic fans can take comfort in the fact that a two tiered social club, partly funded by Tameside Council, will be built at Bower Fold.

Gorski revealed that the idea of a new social club acted as a catalyst for the stadium proposal.  “That’s how it all started initially, and Tameside Council have been tremendously helpful and cooperative” he said.

“We would very much like the bigger project to work, but we’re very appreciative and comforted by the fact that if it doesn’t, they will support us on the new social club anyway.”

Despite facing a potential relegation this season, Gorski has reassured supporters that manager Steve Burr will remain at the club. “Absolutely 100 per cent he’ll be here next season” said Gorski

“I asked him several times about his commitment, and for me, Steve is absolutely, in all but name, a Conference Premier manager.

“There is a strong possibility that we will be playing in the Evo-Stik Premier Division next year, but he is absolutely adamant that he wants to stay with us and get us back up at the first time of asking.”