Co-owner and chairman of Tranmere Rovers Mark Palios says no decision on a new £100m stadium will be made until the club has consulted with its fans. Tony McDonough reports
Tranmere Rovers co-owner Mark Palios says no decision on a new waterfront stadium for the club will be made without first consulting the fans.
Documents from Wirral Council, revealed in the Liverpool ECHO this week, reveal plans that could see Rovers leave its Prenton Park home. The club has been based at the Birkenhead stadium since 1912.
Next Monday (June 13) the council’s Economy, Regeneration and Housing Committee will consider plans for a £100m ‘Sports City’ complex at Bidston Dock. The development would comprise a 15,000-capacity stadium, digital golf driving range and retail outlets. It would also include a hotel and conference facilities.
On offer is £100,000 from from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. This money would pay for a feasibility study into the project. If the scheme was to go ahead it would see Prenton Park demolished to make way for housing.
Rovers currently play in EFL League Two. A 15,000-capacity arena would be seen as big enough for the current fan base. However, in recent years the club has been in the Championship and has threatened to go higher. Under the new plans the stadium would be designed to enable it to increase capacity to 25,000.
On the opposite side of the River Mersey, work on Everton’s £500m stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is well under way. That is being seen as a catalyst for the regeneration of that part of north Liverpool. Sports City could have a similar impact on the so-called ‘Left Bank’ of the river in Wirral.
Documents released ahead of the meeting state: “If the project were able to proceed it would not only help to safeguard the future of Tranmere Rovers FC as an important ‘community asset’ but also to contribute to enhanced health and leisure provision as well as increased employment and long-term economic growth.”
Mr Palios, a former midfielder at the club, took ownership of Tranmere along with his wife Nicola in 2014. In a statement he welcomed the council report.
He said: “From the club’s perspective, if the feasibility study is approved it will determine whether or not a stadium move will help to establish TRFC as a self-sustainable Championship club. Once the outcome of the study is known we shall enter into a period of consultation with the fan base.”