The Groupama Arena in Budapest - the inspiration for the new Posh ground. Copyright: Lagardere Sports Hungary

New Peterborough United stadium delayed by a year due to coronavirus pandemic as Posh chief addresses ownership issue

Plans for Peterborough United to move into a new stadium have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 5:40 am

Co-owner Darragh MacAnthony revealed the date for the new ground to open has been pushed back a year but remains firmly on course.

The club had previously hoped to open a new stadium in time for the 2022/23 season with capacity for 17,500 fans – potentially rising to 23,000 – with the option for safe standing after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the city council.

Along with Posh matches, it is expected the new stadium - which has been inspired by the Groupama Arena in Budapest, the home of Ferencvárosi TC - will hold large concerts and events.

It is likely the stadium will be situated on the Embankment.

Speaking on his ‘The Hard Truth’ podcast, Mr MacAnthony said: “Everything’s been put back a little bit time wise. There’s finance involved, there’s money involved, and there’s a pandemic and a mini recession and the economic impact of that.

“We’re still buying the ground we’re in - that deal’s going ahead. It’s taking time - (co-owners) Jason and Randy are working very hard on that.

“The new ground is still full steam ahead, it’s just been put back a year. But as far as we’re concerned it’s business as usual. We’re back a step (but) we think those things are going to happen.”

Under the agreed terms with Peterborough City Council Posh will pay £5.265 million for the Weston Homes Stadium, Allia Future Business Centre and 12 car parking spaces, while the council will hold onto much of the surrounding land it bought as part of the original deal, including the London Road car park.

The Vista development land on which 295 carbon neutral homes were built is also excluded from the sale.

The deal was reached between the local authority and Peterborough United Properties Limited which has been set up by Mr MacAnthony and fellow co-owners Stewart ‘Randy’ Thompson and Dr Jason Neale, who will own the stadium separately to the club.

The council bought the stadium and surrounding land for £8.4 million from a property developer back in 2010.

It said back in August that it had received £3.9 million over the years from its investment, while the car park is planned to be converted into 82 affordable apartments through the authority’s Medesham Homes partnership.

The Peterborough Telegraph has contacted the council to clarify the situation regarding the sale of the existing stadium.

Addressing the decision for the co-owners to own the ground separately from the club, Mr MacAnthony added: “It’s something I’ve always been a big believer in. If Peterborough United owned the ground and Peterborough United went into administration, guess what gets sold to pay the debts.

“If Peterborough United’s ground is owned separately by owners, if the football club fails to deliver it won’t impact the ground. I always think people attaching debt to the ground is not a good idea.

“The idea is we as owners raise the money to buy the ground. It’s our own personal money. We’re taking mortgages and debts on - we don’t want to put those mortgages and debts on the football club.

“The other thing is it’s our money going on the ground.

“I’ve never done anything to show our fans to worry about ownership of the ground. We will always have a place to play - I’ve always done it the right way.

“And as a club we’ve been paying ridiculous rent for too long. That will be re-adjusted as well.

“People get too hung up on the argument about ground ownership. As long as the club has a place to stay and there’s an agreement in place that the club has 50 years, 100 years, you don’t find yourself in a Coventry situation.

“What you want to make sure is your club has a good lease with the owner of the ground that protects the club, that they can’t get thrown out, that the rent can’t go up ridiculous amounts, that the owner was not taking big percentage of the commercial revenue or matchday revenue out.

“Of course you have things in place like that.”

Page 1 of 3