Cardiff MP changes mind on Stadium

Last updated : 27 May 2003 By Michael Morris

"I've always been a bit of a heretic as far as the new stadium is concerned, suggesting alternatives to it like using the Millennium Stadium for City matches, but after Sunday I feel the club has got to be playing in a better stadium week in week out than Ninian Park," he told the Western Mail.

"Although it has served Cardiff well over the years, the new stadium has to be built to keep up the momentum."

Pressure is mounting on local councillors. Cardiff's promotion into the first division will mean increased crowds and a greater need for modern purpose built facilities. All the plans are in place it's upto the council planning comittee to give the go ahead. They are due to meet before the new season starts.

"The club are going to have to have a new stadium to hold a larger crowd, and the football and the stadium go hand in hand." Said Plaid AM Owen John Thomas.

Council leader Russel Goodway said

"The application will have to go through a robust planning process and fulfil the conditions set out in the heads of terms agreement signed by the council and club, but this is an exciting development for the city and it coincides with the success of the team on the pitch."

It's possible the application could go to the Assembly so First Minister Rhodri Morgan could not speak about the application but did say

"I think that Sam and Lennie have got a bit of a dilemma over whether they should be spending valuable funds on strengthening the team or on a new stadium.

"It might be risky to build the stadium too soon, but if they don't upgrade Ninian Park they will miss out on revenue from increased numbers of home and away fans."

Cardiff will have to wait to get their decision, for Sam the stadium is the future, without it we cannot compete. I'll leave the last word to Sam

"We are at a very advanced stage of planning but that is where our immediate plans lie. If we had the new stadium we could be extremely aggressive and we would want to take as quickly as possible a step forward. We have to sit down and think: 'Do we want to take a gamble?'.

"With the new stadium in place we would expect to give any club in the First Division a run for their money because of our investment. Cardiff is not just a football club; it is an institution which brings happiness to the whole nation of Wales. I have a deep sense of purpose in what I am doing."