Cardiff City FC has announced their plans to expand the capacity of the Cardiff City Stadium, initially by 5,000 before the 2014/2015 season and then by an additional 5,500 seats in the following months. This would take their match day attendances from their current 26,828 potential up to 38,000.
Such a development will aim to win over fans that are suspicious about Malaysian owner Vincent Tan's plans for the club.
Many are still reeling from his decision to change the colour of the team's kit and do not believe that the fast food magnate will stick around if results don't go the Bluebird's way in the Premier League. But by financing a stadium redevelopment he will have secured Cardiff City a long-term future in a ground playing home to the capital's club, long after his tenure as owner finishes.
When the possibility of promotion was realised just after Christmas this year the club regularly sold out for match days, and season tickets for next season were sold out just days after Malky Mackay's team secured promotion after a 0-0 draw with Charlton. The signs are good that there is enough demand out there to fill the brand new seating.
Although Cardiff will be loathed to admit it, they will secretly want to follow rival club Swansea's example in the Premier League. The Swans are now going into their third season in the top flight and have secured European football after victory in the Capital One Cup. It has made them debt free and with enough cash to expand their stadium up to 22,500 by next season, with another 10,000 planned for 2014/2015.
Cardiff City will be delighted to have elbowed their way into the top division just as a new five billion pound television deal comes into play, with the Blues entitled to a share of the riches. In the Championship the club were hemorrhaging twelve million and thirteen million pounds over the past two seasons in order to create a squad capable of competing in the top division.
The development will also time well with Welsh government and Cardiff council plans to make the city into a tourist destination and project itself all across the world (a task made easier now that the city's club will appear weekly on television in nearly every country). The docklands area and city centre have been rejuvenated over the last decade and both will look forward to welcoming fans from all over the country next season.
What do you think of Cardiff's plans?
image: © joncandy