Tuesday, March 07, 2006

7 March 2006: Sale

It's true, and I can hardly believe it.

The story is this: on the Plymouth Argyle supporter's website (Pasoti), a person going by the name 'Saturday Service' last Monday posted a message stating that Plymouth Argyle were going to buy their ground, Home Park, from Plymouth City Council, who have owned the ground for a hundred-and-some years. The figure was to be in the region of £2.7 million and the details were to be announced towards the end of the week.

The week ended with no announcement, but a growing Pasoti thread that split (as usual) between those who backed the original posters and those who didn't (is it me, or are all internet messageboards exactly the same?). Several people were keen to point out that 'Saturday Service' had only registered for Pasoti some three weeks before and didn't carry the authority of longer term posters such as Mr Newell, Mr Hinches or Mr McRae. However, numerous people backed the story up from varying (always un-nameable) sources, and thus the story carried on a little longer than the normal "Sturrock sacked and about to return to Argyle" or "The real reason Nathan Lowndes left" threads. *cough*.

Then this morning, this happened. And the chairman said this.

If you can't get to those links (not sure how the login system works on the official Argyle site, and it's not been reported anywhere else as I write this), the gist of the story is this: Plymouth City Council have agreed to sell the freehold of Home Park to Plymouth Argyle for a figure of £2.7 million. This not only frees up the club from its rent obligation to the council (not that they paid a lot of rent), but more importantly gives the club an asset against which to borrow money to fund the completion of the 'New Stadium' - phase two of New Home Park, which involves demolishing the Mayflower and Grandstand blocks, and replacing them with brand new two-tier stands, making Home Park all-seater and finally completing the project begun some five years ago. Final deal is still to go through (surely it couldn't fall through now...) but it all looks hopeful.

Of course, the big question on Pasoti this morning is not when this will happen, or whether the deal includes the car parks and surrounding grounds, or even if the only reason the council sold the ground was because they need £2.7 million to keep council tax down (the City Council also today released news of a 5% rise in council tax for the coming year). The question is: who is 'Saturday Service'? He/she hasn't posted since Tuesday (after being roundly roasted by the usual cynics) so the question is, as Frank so eloquently asked this morning, "how did you guys know?"

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