County make clear they will not beg fans for cash for new pitch
NEWPORT County have moved to clarify their position over the cost of improving the Rodney Parade playing surface, making clear they will NOT beg fans for money.
The Exiles yesterday announced details of their historic agreement with Newport RFC and Newport Gwent Dragons which will see them staying on Parade for a further ten years.
The Exiles have also agreed to fund a new playing surface with an estimated cost of £100,000 (£50,000 hopefully coming from grant aid), the work taking place over the summer.
Director Howard Greenhaf explained that the club were hopeful of receiving support from supporters’ groups and explained that they didn’t want to rely on benefactor and chairman Les Scadding, who scooped more than £40 million on the Euro Millions.
However, in a statement given to the Argus yesterday, they moved to clarify their stance.
“We would like nothing more than to have all the arms of our supporter groups around the table to discuss ways to maximise our revenue,” it said.
“However, it should be clear that we aren’t begging supporters for money and have absolutely no intention of doing so.
“The message yesterday should’ve been all about this extremely positive news for everyone concerned with the club.
“We want our fans to embrace the move and to embrace the excitement and potential for success that it creates.
“We will all pull together hopefully and take it from there.
“But the club have made clear in discussions with the rugby parties that we will fund the pitch improvements and at no time did we make that conditional on receiving a fighting fund from fans.”
Former director Rob Santwris, part of the Friends of Newport County fundraising team and an organisor of the player fund last January, believes the club have simply made a PR blunder.
“It sounded like begging and it’s yet another sign that communication isn’t what it should be,” he told the Argus.
“The club have hung Baramber (at Spytty Park) out to dry and then they want Baramber to be part of fundraising!
“There isn’t the unity there needs to be among all the factions of supporters’ groups but that can hopefully be improved.
“There is also a big number of us who believe the likes of Matt Southall (who tried to invest in the club with a consortium) should be having a bigger impact.
“But it’s good that the club have made clear they don’t expect the fans to dig any deeper and hopefully they will keep the lines of communication open.”
The Argus understands Santwris has already proposed a scheme to the Exiles hierarchy that would allow them to raise the money through a ticket initiative which is under consideration. It is also understood that chairman Scadding WILL part fund the venture.