Thursday, 15 December 2011

Pirates accept they cannot be promoted this season

Dicky Evans, the owner of the Cornish Pirates, has just put out a statement accepting that the club will not be playing in the Premiership next season. He says that the proposed stadium will not be built in time, and with no suitable stadium, the club cannot be promoted.

I think this was bowing to the inevitable - however much of a disappointment that might be for supporters.

Although I do not support the use of public money for a stadium, I fully support the ambition of the Pirates to be in the Premiership and that means having a suitable venue to play - a stadium with a much bigger capacity than the Mennaye could ever manage. Having the Pirates in the Premiership would be good for Cornwall (and even good for my team, the Cornish All Blacks).

Even with a deal involving using Home Park in Plymouth for a few games at the start of the season, the potential for having a stadium up and running within 12 months seemed ludicrously ambitious. So far only outline planning permission has been achieved and a huge number of key issues have been reserved. And we still have no idea how the construction will be funded. The financial woes of Truro City simply add to the confusion.

I am concerned that the key advocates of the stadium project, Cornwall Council (despite neither full council nor the Cabinet ever having actually voted in favour of the project going ahead) may be giving people false hope both about the viability and about the timescale. Mr Evans is far more realistic and I respect that fact that it is he who has sought to calm expectations.

One key line in Mr Evans statement stands out however:
We are also assured that the Business Plan for the stadium remains robust despite the doubt involving Truro City FC and their commitment.
That business plan will be discussed by Cornwall Councillors in the New Year. I hope to be able to publish it sooner than that so that the public can judge for themselves whether it adds up.

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