The club and trust boards of Exeter City Football Club and the Supporters’ Trust have agreed to invest in four specific and vital areas of St James Park.
Following recommendations made by the Budget Options Group, both boards have agreed capital expenditure to:
- invest in a large electronic scoreboard/video screen
- pay for much-needed improvements to the pitch
- purchase of OTR which will give ownership of The Park building
- improve the club shop.
Nick Hawker, chair of the Supporters Trust, said: “All of these items have been explored in full and both boards believe the time is right to make these investments. We are confident we will see rewards, each in a different way, from these activities.
“All of our major financial decisions are robustly examined. We believe each of these items is as important as the other for various reasons, and each will continue to stand us in good stead for the future. We often hear requests and discussion from our fans regarding a digital scoreboard and it is something we have been exploring for some time, so we’re really pleased to be able to inform people of that decision. On their return to the park, fans will also have an improved experience in the shop, thanks to a number of planned internal improvements.”
The aim is for the digital board to be in place at the start of next season, which will be utilised to provide information and entertainment for supporters within the stadium as well as affording the club's commercial team and partners new opportunities for promotion and engagement.
The pitch, being central to all our activities and collective ambition, is another area that both boards are delighted to be able to address this coming summer. However, this work is heavily reliant upon the time available during the close season to perform the considerable effort required.
Nick said: “Investing in the improvements to the pitch, some of which are overdue, because of the shortened window caused by successive years in the play offs, will obviously bring huge benefits for our players and finally, buying OTR which will give ownership of The Park building, an integral part of our stadium, and will mean the club owns a significant asset at St James Park.”
The Park building was originally bought by a group of local business people who formed OTR in 1998. By making the purchase they safeguarded the building for the club. Although the make-up of the ownership group has changed over the years, the members did not make any profit on their investment. The club was charged an annual rent, which contributed towards the payment of historical external debt.
Nick added: “The purchase of The Park building is an important decision, and again it feels like another step towards safeguarding our club’s future. We would like to pass on our thanks to the group who stepped in to buy the building all those years ago and who have had no return on their investment – we are extremely grateful to them. Thanks to them we are now able to purchase this important building and continue to invest in St James Park.”