Stadium Expansion - Bushey Hall

Discussion in 'The Hornets' Nest - Watford Chat' started by Stevohorn, Jul 13, 2019.


For or against a new stadium at Bushey (see post #558)

  1. For

    89 vote(s)
  2. Against

    55 vote(s)
  1. TBF a lot of clubs built new grounds because they had too, their old ones were tumble-down wrecks and safety hazards that hadn't had a penny spent on them since the days of flat caps and lard sandwiches. They made Selhurst Park look like the Ritz.

    Readings old ground for example was a couple of wonky crumbling terraces and a few wooden sheds. It would be condemned nowadays.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2021
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  2. Hogg-DEENEY!!!

    Hogg-DEENEY!!! Reservist

    Coventry got relegated before they moved, Reading moved before they ever got promoted to the top flight. Leicester are a weird one, moved, continued to yoyo before going down to the third tier, only to bounce back with an absolute vengeance. While their model is a great one to have, nobody can bank on a 5,000-1 shot coming through!
  3. Otter

    Otter Gambling industry insider

    Since Swansea and Cardiff moved they have been on an upward trajectory, as have Reading as mentioned, Brighton is another example and one could argue that Rotherham and Doncaster have done slightly better since their moves too.
  4. nascot

    nascot First Team

    Hull maybe in League 1 now but they only started to move up the leagues once they built the new stadium. Crap ownership has seen them go back down that way.
  5. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    Watford Borough Council continue talks with Watford FC over stadium plans | Watford Observer

    Looks like the club are in a strong position. WBC certainly want to keep the club at their current location. It's all to do with finances though and what is the better deal for the future. I'm not sure if this is common knowledge, but the GT roof needs replacing in the near future and that will cost millions. So it's a decision the club have to make. Sell up and move with all the increased revenue that a new stadium could bring with commercial and sponsorship benefits plus a potential upturn in fanbase or stay at The Vic, which is currently fit for purpose, but will likely become too small if we go up and stay up for a lengthy period of time. The Bushey Hall location will not be around forever, pending planning approval of course. I believe the stars are aligning for this to happen. Perfect new site and costly renovations could push Watford into making a decision.

    Personally I think the number crunching will favour a move, especially if the stadium build is part of a bigger project as in what is proposed at Bushey. It will move Watford into the 21st century and will raise the profile of the club as a genuine top tier operator, instead of gate crasher or "yoyo" club.

    I like Vicarage Road and all that goes with it, but I just don't see the point in staying there, unless there is no ambition to progress the club beyond a Championship level. As an EFL club, VR is still good enough, but not as a EPL club. All depends on how the ownership view Watford these days and what is their ambition for the club.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 12:59 PM
  6. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    I think the scale of the Bushey outline plans would only be achievable with outside investment. And that isn't going to happen unless we go up and stay up. I can't believe no one showed an interesting buying a stake from Pozzo in the last stint in the PL and I wonder if he'd be more minded to accept now he's been through the full promotion/plateau in mid table/relegation cycle? For all the fantasy talk about being best of the rest, 30k stadium capacity etc, there's nothing in the way Pozzo runs the club financially that suggests he has the money in the bank to make that a reality.
  7. a19tgg

    a19tgg Squad Player

    I agree with all that, but I think VR is (now) a perfectly serviceable PL ground, it’s just the move would give us the opportunity to increase revenue longer term. This would help us, or better enable us to establish ourselves as PL club.
  8. Bore

    Bore Reservist

    I thought there was interest from outside and an offer for 30%
  9. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    There was about 3 years ago an approach from Prolific Media Holdings for a 37.5% stake giving Watford a £125m cash injection. It was rejected at the due diligence stage though.
    neraksarrab likes this.
  10. Eastcoastorn

    Eastcoastorn First Year Pro

    Interesting to hear about the roof. It was only made of some sort of plastic so probably due replacing now. I guess they would need outside backers to fund a £300m stadium.
  11. Abdi

    Abdi Academy Graduate

    It helps that Leicester is a city with 350k population without any real competition nearby. If the team is half decent they will always be able to fill a 30k stadium.

    We aren't in that position. If I remember correctly we didn't even sell out an FA Cup final 10 miles down the road.
    Happy bunny likes this.
  12. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    The entire project is quoted as being £300m, including hotel, 6,000 seater arena, care home, golf course etc. A new stadium would be probably a third of that, especially as the club would get sponsorship to help fund the project. The cost to the football club would not be prohibitive I suspect. They also own their own ground which would be sold off to developers, raising additional funds.
  13. Eastcoastorn

    Eastcoastorn First Year Pro

    It sounds perfect
  14. LeedsOrn

    LeedsOrn First Year Pro

    I broadly agree but they did just significantly redevelop Udinese's ground and Udinese are one of the only clubs in Italy to own their own ground, so clearly the Pozzos do value the commercial opportunities offered by a redevelopment. That said, I really think we'd be better off adding a couple of thousand seats and a new row of executive boxes to the SEJ stand which is something that has been mooted. Let's say that costs 10m and gets our capacity up to 24/25k in one or two years, can we really justify forking out 100m to up the capacity to 30k in a project that will take 5+ years to finish, surrender the intimacy/history of the Vic and be a total white elephant should we get relegated.
    Happy bunny likes this.
  15. AndrewH63

    AndrewH63 Reservist

    I think that is a good point. They are a Leicestershire club, rather than a Leicester city club. But just up the road are Derby County and Nottingham Forest. I would say all three are clubs of similar status and pedigree. Of course in recent times Leicester are the most successful.

    Norwich is another regional club with support throughout Suffolk as well as Norfolk. It is a regional “capital”, but it only fills its ground because it is a successful side. Thirty years in the lower two divisions of the league, and I expect it would have crowds similar to Exeter City.

    Watford, Hertsmere and Three rivers council areas though are also approximately 350,000 residents. Watford needs to be successful to build that level of interest. But I think you have to have the ambition, vision, strategy and plan as a club to go toward a 25,000/27,000 home support (3,000 away) to not just fill the stadium, but to secure long term top division status.

    Being in a large urban area does not in itself command a big home support. For example Doncaster Metropolitan council is over 300,000, but I expect there are as many Leeds fans living there as Donny Rovers. But that’s a legacy of the successful period Leeds United had from the 1960s.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 4:33 PM
  16. V Crabro

    V Crabro Reservist

    The population of the Leicester "metro area" is moving towards 600,000. This would probably match the catchment area of the football club.

    "Filling the stadium" is as much about ticket pricing as anything else. Next season we might be the only EPL club within 100 miles of the north side of London - price it competitively and build a regional fanbase of our own. Even a tourist section would be OK as long as it is well away from the New Rookery.
  17. miked2006

    miked2006 Premiership Prediction League Proprietor

    The clubs desire to stay at the Vic probably died when the Met line extension was cancelled.

    It'll be tougher to get to for those who get to the games via the Met line, and probably slightly easier for those who use the Euston national rail line.
  18. zztop

    zztop Eurovision Winner 2015

    We are on the edge of a City of 8m, with the M25 around it, the M1, M40, M4,M11 corridors easily assessible, main rail line from London to Brum, and a suburban local railway/tube from London. If we had a good product the potential is enormous.
    scummybear likes this.
  19. neraksarrab

    neraksarrab Making Professor Brian Cox look thick

    I never went to Goldstone or Withdean, but I can't think of an easier stadium to get to than the AMEX.

    With that in mind, if Bushey Grove was approved, what is the feasibility of a dedicated platform / stop on the mainline? Or better still a monorail type thingy doing loops from WFJ down to the multipurpose sports/leisure village and onto an A41/M1 park & ride and back round again?

    If nothing else, that will really trigger the NIMBYs as a rumour to start!
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 5:59 PM
  20. It is but the likes of arsenal, spurs, chelsea are maybe within an hour of most fans home. When it comes to 30 mins to get from home into our stadium or 60 mins to get inside one of those 3, the product has to be very very good to compete.
  21. Abdi

    Abdi Academy Graduate

    Nobody in London cares about Watford, despite the fact we have had a good product for most of the last 10 years. We still can't sell out a 21k stadium. This won't change unless we start qualifying for Europe regularly and Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs spend decades in the lower leagues.
  22. Halfwayline

    Halfwayline Reservist

    Encourage more arsenal, Chelsea, spuds supporting mums and dads to bring their kids to the vic.
    Do more tickets aiming at the tourist who wants to see an EPL game
    Then segregate them all so I don’t have to sit anywhere near them
  23. zztop

    zztop Eurovision Winner 2015

    You can't get tickets for Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs. If we are in the prem with the prospect of the top clubs visiting, we can be attractive - providing we offer a good product.
    How can you speak for 8m Londoners, and millions just an hour up the motorways?

    There is 270,000 in Berko, Hemel and St Albans alone. Another 250,000 in Uxbridge and Slough. 140,000 in Welwyn/Stevenage. 250,000 in MK. Almost a million just in the bigger towns.

    We'll be the most accessible Premier League side for all of them.
    AndrewH63 likes this.
  24. AndrewH63

    AndrewH63 Reservist

    Shuttle buses from Moor Park along the A4125. What with county council bus link from St Albans Road to Colonial Way, thats an easy North Watford public transport link via A4008 to the site. The Junction 5 park and ride plan is made for this scheme. The county council even plan a Holywell estate to South Oxhey bus only road, linking Vicarage and Eastbury Roads. I think many of the transport aspirations of the county council fall right into the developers lap.

    They fund public transport schemes that the county council have already planned, that also make the site even more accessible and-profitable. The 25 football matches are not the only driver for a transport plan. It’s the 150 days a year of exhibitions, concerts, indoor sporting events etc that will use the indoor arena.

    would Watford actually spend any money on the scheme, or as the Trojan horse anchor tenant to get the really profitable other elements, get the stadium at a peppercorn rent on a very long lease. Probably the club would only need to pay the developer the equivalent of the disposal price for Vicarage Road - say £30 million.

    You could see an institutional investor fund a development vehicle to develop the whole site and lease off the stadium, hotel, arena.

    For Watford it could become a no brainier. Someone else funding the build. You literally move in at the start of a new season. You get a new stadium for virtually nothing. You then concentrate on maximising the income from stadium use.

    I actually think the opportunities to build support and a big gate are huge over the next ten years. Even the pandemic has helped in a strange way, as people will e desperate to attend live events rather than watching at home on a screen.

    just up the road is the Harry Potter studio tour. A phenomenally successful attraction. The potential to have a football club at the centre of a regional sports/leisure hub is huge.
  25. Otter

    Otter Gambling industry insider

    One of my neighbours used to be a Chelsea season ticket holder for years up until the end of the 90s when he was priced out. He's got a season ticket at the Vic with his 16 year old son and has done so for a good few years. I doubt he's the only one in that boat.
  26. miked2006

    miked2006 Premiership Prediction League Proprietor

    Not sure the residents of Moor Park estate would allow that to happen. The speed bumps would probably kill the busses too.

    But I’m sure there will be shuttles from Watford Met.

    Edit: thinking about it, rail replacement busses probably run there so maybe it would be okay.
  27. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    Well, if you don’t mind the extremely long queues to get in and out of a very small station. It’s impossible by car, which the local council accepted and so laid on bus transport to and from the city centre. It just seems odd to me to build an out-of-town stadium and not have the option of getting there by road, which I would have thought was the point of moving out.
    Dennis_Booth likes this.
  28. Supertommymooney

    Supertommymooney Reservist

    The Vic is really a boat?

    Like in 'The Dig' but under the hallowed turf??

    Ah yes, HMS PTL Viking style....

    We can never leave.
  29. TomWatfordFC

    TomWatfordFC First Year Pro

  30. Dennis_Booth

    Dennis_Booth Reservist

    Make that at least 2 hours to get home then.

    The Vic, at the moment, is fairly easy to get to and get away from. If we could ( and I doubt it's really viable) increase to a 30k capacity, exiting and getting home quickly would become very difficult. This clearly matters to a lot of people if you look at how stadiums empty 15 mins before the final whistle.

    Proper planning with a new stadium at BHGC would ensure exiting the stadium and immediate surrounding area would be far easier even with a capacity crowd of 33,000. with a number
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  31. Diamond

    Diamond Squad Player

    It would be quicker to walk if the ring road lives up to it's normal gridlocked status on match days.

    I honestly think this was the decision that ultimately forced their hand.
  32. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    What would you envisage the parking arrangements to be? The large majority of fans go to games by private, rather than public, transport unless forced to as at Brighton. On-site parking often leads to delays in getting away - do you think this could be overcome or would it be a case of parking in the streets and impromptu car parks around town as now? Or would there be a shuttle bus system to car parking further away, perhaps?
    Cthulhu likes this.
  33. miked2006

    miked2006 Premiership Prediction League Proprietor

    Park and ride maybe?
  34. ForzaWatford

    ForzaWatford Squad Player

    This is what happens at West Ham. They have a huge number of STH, but the majority of the remaining tickets (3-4k a game) go to tourists or away fans. Part of the reason why the atmosphere is so ***** there.
  35. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    More indicators pointing to the club considering a move. There's too much flying about now for this to be mere scoping out exercise.

    For the first time, since Elton John in the mid-70's, Watford are seriously considering moving. Once you get the ball rolling on something like this, and those in charge get used to the idea, the more likely it will happen.
    RMT79 likes this.

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