‘Watershed’ for Featherstone Rovers

Rovers stadium
Rovers stadium

FEATHERSTONE Rovers’ boss Mark Campbell says the club is about to enter a “watershed” in its history with “exciting” plans unfolding over the next few months.

The club’s managing director told the Express this week he plans to meet rugby chiefs next month to discuss grant options to complete extension work at the Big Fellas Stadium.

Mr Campbell said while immediate work to improve the Post Office Road site by putting up two new stands bought from Scarborough Football Club last year was on hold, he anticipated the development would still be completed in the next year.

He said: “We are hoping to name a new investor to push on with the next steps. If we get them on board, that will allow us to get the stadium built in 12 months.

“We have put it on the back burner while we set up this deal. We have got the stands, they’re at Featherstone, and they’re on site. At the moment we are preparing the steelwork and speaking to the Rugby League Facilities Trust for a grant to put them up.”

Mr Campbell said he was meeting trust members this week to discuss the grant and added that previous plans to build houses at one end of the site were likely to be axed.

He said: “It’s exciting. We’re looking at our options and we have it narrowed down to a couple of ideas but it’s very likely that the plans for housing will get dropped.

“We have spoken to developers and our preferred option would be to leave the pitch where it is, lengthen the pitch, put up the two new stands and use the other land for small industrial units for start-up businesses.

“It’s just a matter of what money we get from the trust and if the new investors come on board. Everything boils down to money at the end of the day.”

The Rovers’ boss said he was optimistic about the club’s future and said extending the stadium would enhance its chance of getting a Super League licence in 2014.

He said: “As I see it, this is a watershed in the club’s history. This is the start of destination Super League, we are going to be very hard to ignore in 2014 when licences are handed out.

“Everything we do will go toward making the spectator experience better – we’re now the team to beat in the Championship so we have to grow the business and increase the crowd numbers.”

Mr Campbell said he was hoping to name a new chief executive in the next few weeks following Simon Riley’s sudden departure last month. Featherstone Rovers’ annual meeting – where the makeup of the new board will be discussed – will be held on February 20.