AFC Bournemouth have announced that they plan to leave Kings Park, the site which holds The Vitality Stadium, formerly known as Dean Court, in favour of moving to a site where they can build a bigger stadium with improved facilities.
The Cherries chief executive Neill Blake made a statement on the clubs website citing that the Bournemouth council’s planning department’s message that they would not welcome a significantly bigger stadium in Kings Park. With that decision being made Blake said that club felt that they have no choice but to look for a new site. The club are working closely with Bournemouth Borough Council to find a suitable location but there have been no further announcements with regards to potential locations.
Dean Court currently has a capacity of 11,464, the smallest ground in the Premier League by a considerable margin. It has been home to AFC Bournemouth since 1910 and went under renovation in 2001. Earlier this year the club submitted an application to redevelop the South Stand and increase the stadium’s capacity by 3,000 and it is due to go before planners later this month for approval.
Despite this short term fix to the club’s stadium aspirations, Blake expressed that he and the board of directors wished to buy the stadium back from Structadene, however despite negotiations it has become apparent that this will not be possible.
Blake said: “It is crucial that we have a capacity that meets the ever-growing demand for tickets, that we are able to provide access for disabled supporters that meets new government guidelines, that we can improve and increase our hospitality offering and that we have a stadium that is used throughout the year by the community, and not just on matchdays.”
AFC Bournemouth’s shareholders believe that a new stadium will be the best way to create a legacy of them becoming an established Premier League club and hope for it to be ready in time for the start of the 2020/21 season.