22/06/2006 : Yeovil Town Company Matters : Fry's Ambitions For Yeovil Town
22 June 2006 : Fry's Ambitions For Yeovil Town
Hot on the heels of taking over ownership of the club (see yesterday's story, below) John Fry has revealed some of his hopes and ambitions for Yeovil Town.

Fry will be looking to attract significant new investment into the club over the coming months, investment connected to major development of the twenty-six acre site in which Huish Park sits, and that could involve more movement of the shareholding.

Speaking to the Western Daily Press Fry said :

We have 26 acres, which is mostly freehold - although there are some convenants on the land, which will need to be lifted. We are looking at both commercial and residential developments around the ground, because at the moment the stadium is only used for two percent of the year.

There has been a lot of interest in Dave Webb's shareholding and the club has made massive strides in recent years. We have to make sure it keeps moving forward and make sure it is not torn apart by internal wranglings and unrest. I consider my staff to be at the forefront of my vision for the club. Their future is the club's future.

According to the paper a hotel and a retail, sports and leisure complex are amongst the commercial developments being considered. There are residential elements to the plans as well. These would involve accommodation for key workers from the public sector, and students. Fry also hopes to raise income from the club's car parking space, which could be rented out directly or used as a park and ride scheme, presumably in conjunction with the council.

The club has produced a brochure, Invest in Yeovil, as part of its bid to pull in new money. It sets out ambitious aims :

We see the opportunity to enhance this part of town by providing exciting new facilities.

Leisure and fitness will be key to this area. There is room for a new swimming pool/spa suite with gym and training facilities. The area is ideal for the development of a centre offering hotels, shops, cafes and more.

An extensive range of outlets would fill the versatile design of Huish Park Place. Shopping choices, food choices and activity choices would all be there. And at the end of the day a comfortable night's rest would be waiting, with a choice of rooms.

Of course it doesn't take a genius to work out that this is all a non-starter unless the relevant local authorities are on board. There have been indications that the club has been working in this area over the last months, though with what success remains to be seen. It's certainly long past time that the council moved further than paying its customary cheap lip-service to the benefits Yeovil Town FC brings the area, and started working proactively in tandem with the Glovers to the mutual good of the town and the club.

Another issue is the various covenants on the site, once more mentioned by Mr Fry. It's no secret that the club has been pushing hard on these in recent times, but again it remains to be seen with what success.

Although well aware that revenue generation is crucial in allowing ambitions to reach fruition, fans are generally more directly interested in what those ambitions on the footballing side actually are. In Fry's view :

We want to be in the Championship and that would mean a stadium which could hold between 16,000 and 20,000. We've got a big catchment area and we have a strong brand. It's the football which creates the interest in the club and stadium.

So is it worth getting excited just yet? Perhaps some words of caution are in order. Ciderspace well recalls the last major scheme, perhaps unwisely named The Dream Stadium, promoted by the club. Chairman John Fry then stated :

A 15,000 all seater covered stadium incorporating a multi-purpose sports and leisure complex including our own football academy remains our medium term plan for the development of the 26 acre Huish Park site at Lufton. We will continue to work closely with the South Somerset District Council and with the people of Yeovil. We would like to develop partnerships with other sports and business organisations in order for our 'dream' plans to be achieved.

And the date? 1998. There may be need for further patience.

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Other Entries In The Yeovil Town Company Matters Section.
Date Title Author Link
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