English League Two football club Stevenage has called on its supporters to help fund the renovation of the North Stand at its Broadhall Way stadium.
The club has already received a £450,000 (€508,000/$585,000) grant from the Football Foundation charity to raise funds for the redevelopment, but still requires an additional £500,000.
Stevenage hopes to replace the North Stand terrace with a 1,600-capacity all-seater stand. The club said the renovation would help transform its image from “former non-league outfit to ambitious, forward-thinking EFL club.”
Stevenage has invited supporters to dip into their pockets to aid the project, which it hoped would be completed by the 2018-19 season.
Chairman Phil Wallace said: “I want to do this together with the fans and the community, standing shoulder to shoulder for Stevenage. Stevenage is a community club and it’s important we keep it that way; that’s why we’re offering fans and the local community the chance to invest in the club, to help us grow but also get a benefit from their investment.
“Doing it this way means there is a financial benefit to the people who invest as well as there being emotional reasons to support the club they love. And in addition, fans will be able to enjoy the new stand with great facilities for all.”
Stevenage said the investment would be in the form of a five-year mini-bond, with fans and investors to put their money in and receive annual interest over the term of the bond at a rate of four per cent per annum, eventually getting their money back at the end of the term.
A club statement added: “There is an alternative option to increase the interest payable to 8 per cent p.a. if the interest is taken in the form of a club credit, which can be used at the club shop, on food & drink in the Broadhall Suite, on club hospitality packages and more.”
Wallace continued: “We are inviting fans to invest in Stevenage. It is very simple, very clear and very transparent. We expect that a lot of people will be willing to invest in the club’s future and there will be exciting benefits for those who do.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to support the club at a key moment in our history; we want to continue our growth and development and we need everyone to stand shoulder to shoulder to help us move forward.”
The renovated North Stand would reflect Broadhall Way’s South Stand, which houses away supporters, with improved access for disabled fans to be provided. Stevenage also hopes a new, modern stand will increase the club’s attractiveness for prospective sponsors and commercial partners.
The minimum amount of bonds which fans can apply for is £500, with a maximum having been set at £25,000. Sums below £500 can be donated directly to the club.
If fans donate under £500, they will not receive a Stevenage FC Bond or any interest return, but supporters that donate £175 or more will have their name included in the founders plaque on the North Stand.
Image: Bernard Randall