DRAGONS chairman David Buttress insists Newport County AFC would not be able to get a better deal elsewhere if they were to leave Rodney Parade.

County share the stadium, which is owned by the Welsh Rugby Union, with rugby clubs the Dragons and Newport RFC and have a lease to play their home games there until 2023.

The Exiles told fans at Wednesday night’s open supporters’ meeting that the cost of playing at Rodney Parade has increased by 100 per cent since the ground was taken over by the WRU last summer.

And director Kevin Ward warned that it is “not viable” for County to continue to play at the city centre venue unless changes are made to the current agreement.

Ward said: “My view is that the preferential position would be for us to remain in this venue but if we are to carry on in our current situation and the current terms of licence we play under, it’s not viable.”

But Buttress, who was appointed by the WRU to lead the Dragons last September, is adamant that the football club is getting a great deal.

“I would be astonished if Newport County or anyone could do it cheaper,” said the chairman, who is a minority shareholder in the Dragons.

“I see the numbers in great detail and I can’t believe how cheaply the team here stage a professional game and their dedication and hard work is incredible.

“I have nothing but admiration for the guys operationally here; this is the busiest professional ground in Britain and it takes a lot of effort.

“We are an open book and definitely want to help Newport County in any way that we can, and we have done that over the last six to nine months.

“In effect we support them financially because we paid to stage the game, putting it all on and doing the work, and they pay us retrospectively.

“In effect we are a free creditor for them and we are happy to do that because this is their home as well.

“I would be astonished if anyone can stage professional football cheaper than we do, and if they can then I want to hear the feedback because if we can do it better or cheaper we will do.”

County are seeking to renegotiate the terms of their lease and Buttress is keen for them to stay.

He added: “Our home is their home. Next year we are going to share the ticket office, which is something that we have instigated, and we want to make things work for them.”