DCSIMG

Seasiders South Stand options

BLACKPOOL look certain to build a south stand this summer - because Karl Oyston believes it's the only option.

The Seasiders chairman is well down the line in terms of discussions about how best to progress and it is believed an announcement will be made in the next few weeks.

There are several choices open to the club - a temporary stand, a permanent stand, or even a mix: a permanent south west corner and a temporary south stand, for instance.

Hear more from Karl Oyston's interview with The Gazette

However, Oyston makes no bones about his favoured route.

He wants the club to build a multi-million pound permanent structure across the entire south end of the ground and he has told the board - including Owen Oyston and president Valery Belokon - just that.

"I've made it very clear to the board that if we don't increase our capacity by one of the scenarios that I've outlined to them - and I've outlined every scenario that I believe is available - then we will struggle," said the chairman.

"I'm only telling the board members what they already know, which is that doing nothing isn't an option.

"It is not that there is any reluctance to have a gamble to increase capacity - it's just how we do it and how we structure it to make sure that we increase the capacity so it doesn't have a negative impact on the business and Simon Grayson's ability to bring players in.

Seats

"The preferred option is obviously to build a permanent south west and south. The worst case scenario fallback is to build a temporary south."

But in his interview with The Gazette, Oyston made it crystal clear that he wants a permanent stand.

However, if that's the case it will take around 40 weeks to complete and means it won't be ready until towards the back end of next season.

Responding to that, Oyston replied: "It just depends on how the construction programme looks, and when we can bring seats on line.

"We've had discussions with the club's project managers about that.

"But you're quite right, it is a consideration, that if went down the permanent route then income-wise we'd be stymied because of the length of construction time.

"But I think that is something we've got to take on the chin.

Detail

"If the decision is to build the south-west and south then I don't think we can let the loss of a bit of gate revenue for half a season or more get in our way.

"It's the best thing for the club long term, if it's structured right, to have permanent stands."

Rumours are rife that the club is on the verge of making an announcement about a start date for the stand, and that it will indeed be a permanent structure.

But, as expected, the chairman won't be saying anything until every last detail has been agreed and paid for.

"I've said time and again I will say something when there is something to say and I'm not going to be drawn at all, not now, not ever, on stadium redevelopment," he said.

"I have to choose my words very carefully because whatever I say seems to be scrutinised, twisted and warped beyond recognition and people then turn that into a promise that has been made.

"The bottom line is that we are making progress but it has to be right for the football business.

"We really really don't want to do anything that would affect our ability to be able to support the manager to bring players in."

The south stand issue has been bubbling for the last 12 months and has caused unrest among many fans impatient for further stadium redevelopment.

However, the club now seems in position to start the third side of the ground, which will be named after Seasiders legend Jimmy Armfield.

It is expected to cost in the region of 6-8m and will raise capacity by a further 3,000.

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