After a summer of building and design work, Leeds United FC has unveiled a new look to Elland Road. Following Chairman Andrea Radrizzani’s purchase of the stadium and in line with his vision to take Leeds United forward, improvements are being made across Elland Road with the club working closely with Leeds based agency, The Works. The inside of the West Stand, dressing rooms and hospitality suites in the East Stand are all undergoing changes and new creative has been designed to dress the front of the East Stand, South Stand and the North-East corner of the ground. The new creative concepts feature legends from the club’s prestigious past as well as current day heroes. The club has worked closely with the council throughout in delivery of the project.
Managing Director Angus Kinnear said:
Whilst we’re building for sustainable success with our key focus remaining on sensible financial management, we knew we wanted to give back to the fans as well. We felt it was important that our home should honour our heritage, celebrate our first team squad and make loyal and passionate fans proud on matchdays.
The club has also launched its brand new hospitality concept, The Legends Club. Guests in The Legends Club will be able to enjoy VIP hospitality in the company of some very familiar faces from the Champions League campaign, with guests such as Danny Mills, Ian Harte, Gary Kelly and Lee Bowyer.
Brentford stadium redesign
Matthew Benham, owner of BFC has published an open letter to Brentford fans on the club’s website explaining the rationale behind the new stadium design:
I have spent a lot of time reviewing the stadium design and associated business plan over the last couple of years. I ultimately reached the conclusion that the original plans were no longer realistic. There was a substantial chance of indefinite delays in the project, which would have tied up many tens of millions of pounds in legal limbo. The amended plan means that, after decades of waiting, a new, modern stadium will be built just a few hundred yards from Griffin Park. This will help push the Club towards a sustainable future.
The original plans were ultimately too risky for the Club to pursue. A complicated build process, for a complex stadium design, on a difficult site to develop, was likely to lead to further delays and further escalating costs and thus endanger successful completion. There was also too much risk associated with a business plan that involved the Club sharing the running of a full-time conferencing and hospitality business with potentially significant start-up costs.
While this original business plan could have been made to work, it was my judgement that there was a significant chance that the business model would fail and saddle the Club with further debt. The Club has no prior expertise in this type of hospitality and I have no desire to build that sort of business in a highly competitive marketplace such as London.
I asked for a review of the stadium design and business plan with specific instructions to de-risk the project. The end result is a stadium that is smaller, has more matchday premium seats, and has a simpler design. I acknowledge that this has resulted in the removal of some of the original elements, such as the Club Shop and pub, and I understand that some fans are concerned that we could end up with a soulless identikit of other stadium designs, so I will address each of these points in turn.
The smaller stadium is a direct result of the need to make the build process more straightforward. While it is a complicated site to develop, I feel it is preferable to have a smaller stadium in Brentford than a much bigger stadium miles away. The smaller capacity still gives significant room for growth in attendances. I have no interest in the Club taking additional risks in the short term to subsidise a hypothetical set of fans who may wish to attend in the future.
It will be possible to increase the stadium capacity in future but, as with the previous design, that expansion would be difficult and expensive. I want to be straightforward and state that I can’t imagine a situation in which the additional investment needed to expand this stadium on this site will be financially justifiable. In my view, the only situation in which a larger capacity would be needed would be if we are in the Premier League. However, in such a circumstance the revenue from ticket sales is a small fraction of the overall revenue that would be available to us.
The increase in premium seats will generate significant additional revenue that will enable us to keep prices at a realistic level for those fans who have been with us through the more difficult times. It will also help us to attract additional sponsorship revenue. There will be a range of prices that will appeal to existing fans, and there will be no shortage of high quality seats in the rest of the ground with much improved facilities compared to Griffin Park.
In other Brentford Club news, the Boards of Lionel Road Developments Ltd and Brentford FC (Lionel Road) Ltd – both wholly owned subsidiary of Brentford Football Club – have accepted the resignation of Brian Burgess as a Director with immediate effect. Burgess said:
Now that the Club is finally in a position to deliver a new stadium and preparatory work has started on site I feel the time is right to step down and look forward to the opening game at Lionel Road. The Brentford FC Community Sports Trust is also very close to my heart and I look forward to continuing to support their inspirational work, whilst liaising closely with the Club.
Matthew Benham, owner of BFC, said:
On behalf of everyone at the Club and all our fans I would like to thank Brian for his commitment, dedication and the enormous contribution he has made to the Club and to the Brentford Community Stadium project over so many years. We would not be in the position we are in today if it was not for the work, some five years of it on a voluntary basis, that Brian – together with Chris – put in. We owe Brian a huge debt of gratitude for his efforts. In recognition, the Club has offered and Brian has accepted a position as a Brentford FC Associate Director.