NORTH STAND ANSWER TO PERTH ROADS DILEMMA?
26th July 2016
St Johnstone Chairman Geoff Brown has revealed that the club may be willing to sacrifice the North Stand at McDiarmid Park as part of a blueprint to aid the expansion of the western edge of Perth.
Speaking to Gordon Bannerman of the Perthshire Advertiser he has acknowledged what council planners already know â€“ that a new road to ease gridlock is required on the western periphery before any further expansion to the city boundaries can take place â€“ and has outlined a plan which could help achieve that whilst providing a significant boost the clubâ€™s bank balance.
The plan - one of several which council planners will consider â€“ would see a new route created from the Crieff Road, through Newton of Huntingtower farmland on the land behind the East Stand and then swing round the rear of the stadium and across the existing bypass where a new bridge would link it to farmland at Inveralmond. That plan may require the removal of the stadiumâ€™s North Stand.
Geoff told the newspaper, â€œThe beauty of our proposals is that all the pieces of the jigsaw can be slotted into place without the need for Compulsory Purchase powers and we are content to go along with the local authorityâ€™s timetable.
â€œSt Johnstone has always been a community club and this would help Perth and, of course, I would envisage financial benefits for the club for many years to come. The North Stand might have to go to accommodate the road. That is a decision for further down the lineâ€
On the subject of how the loss of the North Stand â€“ at present only used on half a dozen occasions a season for First Division football â€“ would affect McDiarmid Parkâ€™s compliance with SPL authorities the Chairman says â€œEven without the North Stand we could accommodate 8,500 fans and that is more than stadiums in Inverness and Falkirk. We want back to the SPL but the last time we were in the top division we werenâ€™t attracting 5,000 home fans and now even Old Firm attendances are down away from home with most of their matches live on television.â€
*St Johnstoneâ€™s last season in the SPL saw only one attendance of over 8,500 â€“ the visit of Celtic in November 2001 when 9,041 fans attended. None of the games again clubs outwith the Old Firm drew over 6,000 fans.