CEO of Cambridge United Alex Tunbridge has revealed that the club is looking to replace the Newmarket Road End terrace with a new stand.
He revealed that initial designs will be shown to supporters in the months ahead.
The revelation comes not long after it was announced that the club had reached an agreement in principle to buy back the freehold of the Abbey, and Mr Tunbridge joined as CEO.
It is expected that the plans for replacing the stand will be progressed following the repurchase.
Alex Turnbridge, CEO of Cambridge United said :“Once the buy back’s complete, the next stage will be to start looking at the NRE. That’s going to involve some initial concepts, that we’ll probably look to release to supporters in the coming months, to show them the designs.
“Then it’s going to be lots of consultation with supporters and supporters groups – what does that stand look like? What does it feel like? Is it terraced, is it seating, is it a mixture of both?
“The new ticket office and new shops are going to need to go in there, and some other additional facilities as well. That’s a big project, and it’s probably a little bit more complex than just a standard stand with 1500 seats in.
“It’s really important that we get that right, so it looks right visually from the Newmarket Road End, so when you’re driving past, it sets a statement. That’s going to be a really exciting project over the next couple of years.
“There’s a big design piece, big planning piece, and a big funding piece as well. It’s not going to be a cheap stand by virtue of the amenities inside it.
“I think it’s going to be a few seasons on from here, but certainly work will start on that journey next season.”
“No matter who you meet, whether that is an owner, a board member, a member of staff, a volunteer or supporter, or just somebody in the street, there is a huge passion for the club,” he said.
“That’s why I think it’s really important that in any decision that we make, we think about the heritage, history and the supporters, and make sure that we’re making decisions now that means we protect the football club.
“Essentially anybody involved is a custodian – we’ve all got a responsibility to make sure that we leave the club in a better place than when we came into it, no matter who we are.”
During the close season, works to the grounds will include work being undertaken on the pitch, the installation of 500 new seats in the Main Stand, and the refurbishment of hospitality areas to house 60 extra people each game, as well as increasing the size of the home changing room, installing a new physiotherapy room and improving club offices.
The club also intends to address its food and beverage matchday options, including the installation of upwards of 40 beer pumps.
The club also aims to complete the repurchase of the ground by the start of next season, whilst they are also investing in their training ground.
Mr Tunbridge continued: “The buyback of the Abbey Stadium hopefully will be completed during the summer. I think an ideal world, [it’ll be] before the season starts, but we’re in the hands of lawyers and that system.
“Then the other big project is the training ground. We’re looking to put in place a brand new building there, and that’s something that we’ll be updating people on probably in the next few weeks.
“We’re at pre-planning at the moment, and once we get through pre-planning and planning, then we’ll be in a great position to start sharing what that will look like, and that’s really important.
“That’s important for retaining players and staff, attracting new players, and the future of the club. That will include the scholars and the first team being based there, and the transition of players coming through that pathway into the first-team environment.
“That’s a really exciting project which we hope we’ll complete next summer.”
Image source: Cambridge United
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