COVID storm blows off Sands Venue rejig plans


Scunthorpe United stadium update Aug 2020 Image: Scunthorpe-United-new-stadium-Scunthorpe United FC

The Scunthorpe United Football Club (SUFC) Chairman Peter Swann has admitted that plans to rehabilitate their legendary Sands Venue Stadium in Scunthorpe, UK, have hit the COVID-19 speedbreaker.

Swann told mediapersons that COVID-19 has “pretty much killed that at the minute”, speaking about the club’s stadium redevelopment plans. However, planning and talks to resuscitate the project are underway.

The Scunthorpe United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. The team competes in League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system.

Glanford Park, currently known as The Sands Venue Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is a football stadium in Scunthorpe, England, and is the current home of Scunthorpe United.

It has been more than a year since Scunthorpe United was granted permission to refurbish their historical Glanford Park (now Sands Venue Stadium) into a plus venue capable of holding 11,000 fans. But, the project has been progressing at a snail’s pace since and Swann acknowledged that the pandemic has hit the project severely.

“Yes, COVID’s pretty much killed that at the minute, hasn’t it? We can’t do anything and no-one’s going to spend money in football at the minute, no-one’s going to spend it on development,” lamented Swann.

However, he said that works on the financial viability and associated developments are progressing. Part of the effort is delivery of housing blocks beside the redeveloped stadium, which is crucial to allow reconstruction of the facility.

“But, we are working closely with two or three developers, that still goes on and we’ve still got some other plans that we are hoping to put in which we will finalize certainly by the end of the year, which will show how we want the whole area to look like, and potentially a new training scheme. It’s very difficult at the minute to invest in anything but it is there, we’ve done it, we’ve got our planning permission, which is a good thing, and hopefully we can move on with that but the first thing is we just need to get the fans back in and then we will worry about what the facilities need after that,” the Chairman asserted.

Sands Venue Stadium

The Sands Venue Stadium is famous for one single reason. In 1988, Scunthorpe United was the very first club in over 30 years to boast a new ground in England. No wonder some call it the beginning of a revolution in English football that was struggling with serious safety regulation issues in late ‘80s.

The name given to this simple, single-tiered 9,088 capacity venue comes from Glanford Borough that used to exist there, but was dissolved later. Since United are not playing above third tier in league system, they are allowed to have a portion of terracing inside the stadium.

Despite announcements since 2006, the ground hasn’t been redeveloped yet. First phase was supposed to be a second tier to one of the stands.

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