Time to cast our minds back to the proposed English football stadiums that never happened and it features those of Premier League and EFL clubs.
In this article we take a look at the clubs who released design plans for new look stadiums, which you can see below and on the next few pages…
BRISTOL ROVERS – UWE STADIUM
Image of the proposed UWE Stadium pic.twitter.com/FPAtdDnj
— Bristol Rovers (@Official_BRFC) March 9, 2012
UWE Stadium was the provisional name for a proposed 21,700 all-seater stadium to be built in Cheswick, South Gloucestershire, as a new home for Bristol Rovers. The stadium was to replace their current home, the Memorial Stadium. Sainsbury’s agreed to buy the Memorial Stadium in 2011 and lease it to the club while the new stadium was built to the north of the city.
However, in 2014 the future of the stadium was put in doubt due to a court battle with Sainsbury’s over the contract for the Memorial Stadium site. In July 2015 Sainsbury’s won its High Court battle with Bristol Rovers over the termination of the £30m deal to buy the Memorial Stadium. The future of the stadium remains uncertain, with the club described the ruling as a “kick in the teeth”. Shortly after, the club were granted leave to appeal the decision which was completed in January 2016 and rejected in March 2016.
The following month, Bristol Rovers were sold to the Jordanian Al-Qadi family with outgoing chairman Nick Higgs confirming the outcome of the court case is “no longer relevant”. The club’s new president Wael al-Qadi confirmed a new stadium is a “key requirement” for the new owners.
In 2017, Bristol Rovers abandoned plans to build a new stadium at the University of West of England (UWE).
LIVERPOOL – STANLEY PARK
— Liverpool Vintage (@LFCVintage1892) August 20, 2017
Stanley Park was a proposed football stadium in Stanley Park, Liverpool that if built, would have become home to Liverpool Football Club, replacing their current home ground Anfield. The stadium had a planned capacity of 60,000 (potentially expandable to 73,000) all-seated.
There were two designs that were given planning permission. One was designed by architects AFL with a capacity of 60,000, the second was a more expensive futuristic design by Dallas-based architects HKS, which would originally seat 60,000 with capacity for further expansion to 73,000.
As of January 2012 only small site preparation work had been completed. A change in owners resulted in the plans for Stanley Park Stadium being reexamined. In October 2012 new owners Fenway Sports Group announced their decision to redevelop and expand the current club stadium Anfield (in a similar way that they redeveloped Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox) rather than proceed with the planned new stadium.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS – NEW QUEENS PARK
— QPR FC (@QPRFC) December 12, 2013
New Queens Park is a proposed football stadium that was planned to be finished by 2018 but has been delayed. It will be located in Old Oak Common, and would have been the new home ground of Queens Park Rangers and will form part of a wider Regeneration of the Old Oak Common Area which would include new homes and a brand new station that would be part of HS2
Queens Park Rangers’ current stadium is Loftus Road, which holds only 18,000 fans, while New Queens Park would have held 40,000. The main reason of the move was to expand the number of fans QPR can have at their home games. QPR chairman and owner Tony Fernandes said that QPR need “more than an 18,000 capacity” and that New Queens Park “will bring a vibrant new destination to London, boosting local businesses, attracting new visitors and tourism and creating a thriving community”.
A planning application was due to be submitted in early 2018.
We continue our look at the proposed English football stadiums that never happened…
PORTSMOUTH – PORTSMOUTH DOCKLAND STADIUM
— Jimmy Coulson (@Jimmy_Coulson) December 12, 2013
Portsmouth Dockland Stadium was the codename for a future football stadium to be located in Portsmouth, England. The stadium was expected to have a capacity of 36,000 people. The stadium would have been built on reclaimed land from the Portsmouth Harbour and would be located near the city’s naval base. Portsmouth’s previous stadium, Fratton Park, would be demolished to make way for 750 new homes to be built on the site.
Due to the economic situation around the world in 2008 and 2009, Portsmouth Football Club postponed the construction of the stadium, citing the “credit crunch”. However, on 19 March 2009, Portsmouth Football Club announced plans to expand their existing stadium, Fratton Park, by 10,000 seats to a capacity of 30,264. The expansion relies on the pitch of Fratton Park being rotated 90 degrees, as was the plan in the original design for Fratton Park in 2003. This expansion is expected to cost £22 million, with £16 million coming from a supermarket also being built on site. Following Portsmouth’s collapse into administration later that year, followed by relegation, it is not known when or if any ground redevelopment will take place.
COVENTRY CITY – COVENTRY CITY STADIUM
In May 2013, Tim Fisher told supporters a new stadium for the club would be “designed and delivered in three years”.
— Kirk Savage (@kirksavage) 12 October 2018
On 3 May 2013, Coventry City put a contingency plan in place to play elsewhere for the 2013–14 season. It was argued by the club that this was due to ACL (Arena Coventry Limited), which managed the stadium, being unwilling to negotiate with the club to agree a new lease. However, that led to the local newspaper, the Coventry Telegraph, starting a petition to stop Coventry City from playing outside of Coventry. It was sent to all 72 clubs in the Football League and also the Football League chairman. In May 2013, managing director Tim Fisher set a plan of building a new stadium within the city over the next three years, and ground-sharing whilst the new ground was being built. In June 2013, ACL made an offer that Coventry City could play at the Ricoh Arena rent free while the club was in administration.
It was believed that Coventry City might ground-share with Walsall at the Bescot Stadium or attempt to stay at the Ricoh Arena, following the appointment of new owners. However, by July 2013, the Walsall rumours were denied and the club ground-shared at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium – a venue that had less than a quarter the capacity of the Ricoh Arena, and involved a round-trip of 70 miles (110 km). That arrangement was due to continue until at least 2016. Plans for the club to play its home matches outside of the city were met with strong opposition, and led to protests by Coventry fans. Member of parliament for Coventry South, Jim Cunningham, described the move as “a disgrace”.
CHELSEA – BATTERSEA STADIUM
— IanVisits (@ianvisits) September 24, 2016
On 9 November 2008, Chelsea Football Club were reported to be considered moving to a new purpose built stadium at the power station. The proposed stadium was to hold between 65,000 and 75,000 fans and feature a retractable roof. The proposals were designed by HOK Sport, the same company who designed Wembley Stadium. However, the Chelsea FC scheme was seriously in doubt due to concerns for the preservation of the site and the collapse of the REO scheme in late November 2011.
NEWCASTLE UNITED – LEAZES PARK
— StadiumDB.com (@StadiumDB) 21 March 2017
In 1995, Newcastle announced that they would build a new £65m purpose-built 55,000-seat stadium at Leazes Park, just 250-300 meters north of where they are today and build a smaller athletics/hockey/basketball complex at the demolished St James’ Park.
However due to massive protests by local residents and 36,000 signatures against the proposed stadium, the plans was then withdrawn by the club and instead they expanded their current home. That however still didn’t reach the expected 55,000 or the long term vision of 70,000.
FOREST GREEN ROVERS – ECO PARK
Zaha Hadid Architects has been commissioned to design a 5,000-seat stadium built entirely from wood, for Forest Green Rovers.
NO PYRO! pic.twitter.com/cPvf5nGgh1
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) 4 November 2016
Ok this one is still on the cards, though in January 2019, plans were pushed back ‘for a few months’, before getting the go ahead in March 2020 thanks to chairman Dale Vince’s persistance having had his efforts rejected once already.
The 5,000 capacity ground is set to be the greenest stadium for the most greenest football club in the world.
A Stroud District Council spokesperson said: “This is a finely balanced and complex revised application which is contrary to Stroud District Council’s adopted Local Plan. That plan sets out where development should take place up to 2031.
“There is a legal presumption that decisions should be made in accordance with the Local Plan unless other material considerations indicate otherwise.
“We expect the Development Control Committee to consider the application in a few months time.
“Given that we are dealing with a current application which is finely balanced and complex, we are unable to comment further at this stage.
“Responses to consultations can be viewed on the council’s website.”
Dale Vince said: “Early last November we met with the Council and agreed the final details of the planning conditions required and set a date for the 12th of February for the planning committee to make a decision.
“In early January this year we were told that the date could not be met and that the conditions were now not agreed.
“We currently have no agreement on conditions and no date for a decision by the Council – nearly four years after we first submitted the idea of Eco Park, which is a development that has so much to offer to Stroud, for generations to come.
“I don’t understand why this has happened again (the cancelled date) but I am meeting with the Council this week to try and get to the bottom of it. If SDC don’t want the project I wish they would just say so, and we can (all) spend our time and energy of other things.”
SOUTHEND UNITED – FOSSETTS FARM STADIUM
#EssexMatters the South East #Essex @friends_earth group say they have serious environmental concerns about the planned new #Southend United stadium at Fossetts Park – more here >>> https://t.co/0pT0ULJy0Y pic.twitter.com/rxTpPxZqSp
— Radio Essex Newsroom (@radioessexnews) 11 December 2018
Like Forest Green, this is another proposed stadium that could still happen.
It was first talked and planned about back in 2006 and aimed to have the 22,000 seater stadium open by the 2008/09 season.
Since then there has been a huge amount of setbacks and false promises. Additional plans kept coming forward including a reduction in capacity to 16,000 for Southend’s new home.
On January 4th 2019, more than 5,000 people have signed a letter of support for Southend United’s 21,000-seat stadium at Fossetts Farm.
It was passed on to planning officers at Southend Council, who had been reviewing the application for almost two years.
Well, in early 2020, they have given the club the green light to get it built the new ground built, but to a capacity of 14,000 with new homes to eventually replace Roots Hall.
Despite the positive news, some supporters still choose not to believe it will happen, mainly because this isn’t the first time it got the thumbs up. Until the building work starts, then we can only hope it becomes reality.
Other new proposed stadiums that hasn’t started building, though doesn’t mean to say it won’t happen, are…
In July 2019, the club confirmed planning permission to proceed with the redevelopment of Glanford Park. A new stadium will be constructed stand-by-stand on the current stadium site, with construction taking place over multiple seasons, allowing the club to continue playing without the need to relocate. In February 2020, an agreement was reached which could pave the way for Scunthorpe United’s stadium redevelopment to finally go ahead, council bosses confirmed.
— S c u n t h o r p e U n i t e d (@SUFCOfficial) March 10, 2016
Initial plans shows it’s set to have a capacity of 12,000 people, but with a chance to increase to 18,000, should such demand exist.
There have been plans to replace the run down Blundell Park since the mid-1990s, with the club submitting a planning application for the provisionally titled Conoco Stadium with a capacity of 14,000.
Their first planned project for Great Coates fell through and the second one – for Peaks Parkway – also proved dead late into 2018.
In February 2020, John Fenty said the new Grimsby Town stadium on Freeman Street (just 1.5 km west of the current ground) is to be delivered in ‘3-5 years’ time. The club have confirmed their plans to push ahead with relocation for a new £20million-plus stadium.
A once in a lifetime opportunity to assemble a vision for the emotional heart of our town…including a potential new home for GTFC. It is a great team effort on behalf of a wonderful client. Amazing things are about to happen in North East Lincolnshire. #Stadium #Regeneration pic.twitter.com/3170ckgtad
— Hodson Architects (@HodsonArchitect) February 7, 2019
How that would be funded is not yet clear, but it’s reported there was a lack of it. With council leading on the objective they should get positive support and backing to make it happen.
Grimsby will have to re-evaluate their plans for relocation to Freeman Street amid the coronavirus crisis, club director Philip Day admitted.
Another recent one now and in March 2020, Watford were reportedly considering leaving Vicarage Road for a brand new stadium over the coming years.
The Hornets have resided at their 22,220-capacity ground for almost 100 years – and it was revealed last October that they were looking at ways of further expanding following several recent redevelopments.
The Atheltic reports that Populous, the designers responsible for Tottenham’s new arena, have also been exploring the possibility of a brand new stadium, which would likely hold up to 30,000 people. So could this be Watford’s new home or something that probably never happen? Time will tell.
Early 2020, Millwall stunned supporters after they submitted their plans to expand the The Den stadium in South London to 34,000 seats.
The plans, drawn up by AFL Architects, include new upper stands and community additions, including a sports hall, gym and a local café.
Could this become reality or will it be another forgotten proposed stadium?