AMBITIONS to build a new stand at Sixways Stadium could be realised before the turn of the decade, it has been revealed.
Worcester Warriors were granted planning permission in 2006 to redevelop the north stand, which would feature seating for 1,860 and space for 3,174 standing spectators.
Those plans were put on the back burner as the club went ahead with an £8m extension of the east stand in 2008, which increased the stadium capacity to about 12,000.
However, Warriors’ interim chief executive Anthony Glossop told The Observer a new north stand was part of renewed plans to expand the club’s supporters base.
Worcester’s average home attendance in the Aviva Premiership last season was about 7,000, but Glossop hopes to get that up to 10,000 within the next five years, which he said could reignite plans to expand the north stand.
“I can’t see it being built earlier than three years, but I would be disappointed if it was later than seven years,” Glossop said.
“There would be absolutely no point building a new stand until we are virtually filling what is here.
“Last season we were bumping along the bottom so there was no point in having a new stand as we would have just had extra empty seats. But once we are hitting 10,000 then the logic of having a new stand which would give us other facilities as well would become quite compelling.
“The east has been done, the south for all intents and purposes has been done, so the order would be for the north and when you are hitting crowds of 15,000 then there might be a long-term redevelopment of the west. But that would be seven to ten years away.”
Glossop said he had been delighted by the amount of people who were continuing to support Warriors as they attempt to secure an immediate return to the top flight.
But Glossop said work was underway to attract more supporters as they continue to invest in areas such as Shropshire, Birmingham and Warwickshire with their new academy centres.
“We are very ambitious and the official slogan here is that by 2025 we will be a top European club,” he said.
“If you look at the clubs who have got themselves into self-sustainability – Leicester, Gloucester, Northampton and Harlequins – they are regularly playing in front of 13 or 15,000 people so we need to grow.
“Worcester is a great city, but it has only got a population of 100,000, so we need to spread our wings.
“The easiest way for us to do that is to attract youngsters through school and community clubs and then fan engagement over the next five years.
“You cannot fund a full squad off 7 to 8,000 people so we must expand and we have set out to do just that.”