New Bradford Park Avenue owner Gareth Roberts has revealed that the club might have to move out of their Horsfall Stadium as early as next year.
Roberts took charge of Avenue officially on Friday, taking over the majority shareholding in the club from Bob Blackburn.
But while keeping the club in the Conference North is his main priority, he has admitted that the club might have to relocate – and could even build a brand new stadium.
The Horsfall Stadium, also used as an athletics venue, is owned by the council, but has been the home of BPA since 1994.
Originally opened in 1931 and used as a running track, BPA moved in in 1994 and have since made necessary improvements.
A directors room, new medical room and the installation of 1800 new seats just some of the new features.
But now, the new owner does not know of the stadium’s longevity.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Roberts said: “We don’t know yet whether Horsfall can be our long-term home but we’re talking to the council, who own the site, to see what we can work out. If not, we are prepared to relocate and build on another site and we’ll explore all the options.
“We’re ambitious for the future but the new directors can’t go it alone. We’re prepared to invest hard work and money but we need the ongoing commitment of the supporters, players, staff/volunteers, sponsors and partners who have got us this far.”
The state of the pitch at Horsfall has come under immense scrutiny after a string of postponements – with Saturday’s clash with Colwyn Bay also falling foul of the weather.
Roberts says that he will not accept the poor playing conditions and will seek to do whatever it takes – even if it means relocating – to improve the club.
He said: “That’s not decided yet but is being looked into as a matter of urgency. Everyone knows we need a much better pitch, with better drainage and greater resilience in poor weather, and the new directors are talking to the owners of the land, the council, about some emergency repairs.
“A lot depends on the leasing arrangements for the site and whether we can make arrangements to stay at Horsfall beyond next season: that will probably decide whether it is worth any significant investment in the ground in terms of the pitch and the other facilities.
“If it’s not possible to secure a long-term commitment for Horsfall, the directors will urgently explore other options for the short and longer term.”
The team are struggling in the drop zone of the Conference North this season, but do have a number of games in hand, mainly due to the poor playing conditions at The Horsfall Stadium.
This weekends home game against Colwyn Bay the most recent to fall victim of the weather, however it did give new director Gareth Roberts chance to talk to the fans.
The club called a fans forum in the clubhouse so that supporters could meet the new director and put forward their questions.