Bristol Rovers owner Wael Al Qadi explains staff changes and details ‘great’ new stadium news

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Bristol Rovers owner Wael Al Qadi has written an open letter to the fans, speaking about the new stadium project among other topics.

Bristol Rovers owner Wael Al Qadi has penned an open letter to Rovers fans covering a number of topics, including the new stadium.

Gasheads continue to wait for the new stadium to break ground amid the backdrop of an ever-dating Memorial Ground. Last season’s promotion to League One will have been seen as a big step towards a new ground, but the pandemic certainly didn’t help, and fans have been forced to be patient over the issue.

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Rovers owner Al Qadi has now provided an update on the issue amid the positive news over the purchase of the site for the new stadium.

“The new stadium subject has been the most important issue for Gasheads, and rightly so, given Rovers’ history,” wrote Al Qadi. “I said that the club needs a new stadium when we took over seven years ago and, as I have not made any public announcements on the stadium’s progress in recent years, I have been subject to a lot of criticism over that period. Some people have gone on record to say that my time at Rovers won’t have been successful if the stadium issue is not resolved, despite all that has been achieved during that time to make improvements to the way in which the club is now operating.

“With that in mind, we were delighted with the news that was released regarding the stadium last week and that all the hard work that has gone on quietly behind the scenes by many different people over the last seven years is beginning to materialise.

“As you may have seen, Conygar recently agreed to the purchase of land at the Fruit Market, which includes plans for a new stadium for the football club. We continue to be constrained on what can be discussed publicly on this; however, I would like to thank everyone at Conygar for all of their support on this so far, and we remain extremely positive about the progress that has been made in the background and the possible impact that it could have on this club for generations to come.

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“The overall development of the Temple Quarter provides a great opportunity, not only for the club, but for the City of Bristol as a whole and we look forward to continuing to work with Conygar, and those within the Council, to bring this potential to fruition.

“As I have always said, these projects take time but, hopefully, we are on the right track.”

Despite the positive news on the new stadium, Al Qadi has confirmed the club are still looking to build a new South Stand to cover the time it will take to complete a new home.

“Despite the positive news on the stadium, we are still looking to pursue our plans for a new South Stand at The Mem,” he added. “This stand is developing with a business plan to ensure that it is commercially viable within a likely timeframe for the stadium project to progress. We have the final drawings for this project and we are just finalising the terms and schedule with our partners, who are on course to deliver this in line for the new season.

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Northampton Town caught on that Wael Al Qadi’s lasagne brought them success. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)Northampton Town caught on that Wael Al Qadi’s lasagne brought them success. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Northampton Town caught on that Wael Al Qadi’s lasagne brought them success. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

“These facilities will give us additional seating capacity, additional accessible seating and some new concessions to service those in the stand. We will be looking to operate this in a similar fashion to the current South Stand, expanding and reducing the away allocation in line with demand, to ensure that we can maximise attendance.

“Beyond that, plans are continuing to progress at The Quarters for phase two of the development, with costs and proposals being developed and finalised for us to begin a planning application. Once information is available, we will share this publicly; however, it would include a significant improvement in the facilities available for the first team, the chance to move the Academy on-site and the opportunity to integrate community activities. As soon as we are able to, we will share more information on these plans.”

Interestingly, Al Qadi also spoke about the changes of staff at Rovers, criticising staff members who had been serving ‘self-interest’ prior to their departure.

Speaking about the pandemic, Al Qadi wrote: “During those bleak times, I had to do all I could to keep the club alive through additional funding. There was also a lot of disunity within the club, with many operating through self-interest and not what was best for the football club. Due to this, a reset was needed and a new structure followed, with young leaders in charge and new processes put in place.

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“Despite putting a positive face on things and ensuring that my support for the club was unwavering, there was an undoubted impact on me from these times and all of the negativity that I had to face.”

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