The Posh Supporters Trust has pledged to ‘thoroughly scrutinise’ Peterborough United’s anticipated purchase of the club’s stadium.
Posh announced at its Hall of Fame launch on Thursday, October 18 that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Peterborough City Council to buy the ABAX Stadium and London Road grounds from the authority.
The two parties expect the sale to be finalised over the next six months with Posh keen to redevelop and modernise a stadium with a current capacity of 14,100.
The Posh Supporters Trust said: “Having been informed on 18 October 2018 that the football club has signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase the ABAX Stadium, London Road ground back from Peterborough City Council, the Posh Supporters Trust (PST) Board will be looking into the details of the sale as it is important this process is transparent and in the best interests of our football club and the local community.
“The Posh Supporters Trust want the football club to be reunited with its ground and have publicly campaigned for the football club to buy back its London Round ground ‘home’ since the unfortunate sale in 2003 to a property developer.
“It is, therefore, important that any sale of the ground is the right thing for the long term security of the football club and is scrutinised thoroughly by those who have the best interests of the club at heart.
“The PST have no doubt that co-owners Darragh MacAnthony, Randy Thompson and Jason Neale through their ownership of the club have every intention of doing the right thing for Peterborough Utd, but we must make sure any concerns we may have about the sale are aired to the appropriate people / parties.
“The PST will make a further statement once more details are made available.”
It is understood the deal will take time to complete due to covenants attached to the land. One involves the right of the Trust to attempt to buy the stadium back themselves. The Trust is thought most unlikely to get involved.
The city council bought the stadium and surrounding land for £8 million from Peterborough United Holdings Limited (PUHL) in 2010, a deal which was widely welcomed as it secured Posh’s future.
PUHL had previously bought the ground from Peter Boizot in 2003. But it caused plenty of anxiety for Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony who revealed the rent was set at £500,000 a year with the club responsible for repairs and improvements despite being tenants.
Following the announcement that the MOU had been signed, Dr Jason Neale, the Posh co-owner who led negotiations with the city council, said: “As stewards of the Posh we are building a better, bigger club.
“Having control of the ground will allow us to create Championship-grade facilities and grow ancillary commercial income, both of which are critical to our longevity. While there is still work to be done, this is a significant moment for both the community and the club.”