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Redevelopment plan announced

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Some big news coming out of the club today:

Manchester City Council, New east Manchester (NEM) and Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) have today signed a formal agreement to collaborate to create a transformation plan for east Manchester, focussed on the area arounf the City of Manchester Stadium.

A Joint Development Board (JDB) has been formed between the three parties, which will harness the respective strengths of the constituent members – Manchester City Council’s and New east Manchester’s land ownership, their proven track record in regeneration, and their access to public funding together with Manchester City Football Club’s commercial leverage with brand partners and history of investment in all aspects of the club’s development.             

The agreement creates the opportunity for a long-term partnership between Manchester City Council, NEM and MCFC, to develop their mutual ambitions for the area.  All of the parties share the desire for any commercial development to deliver long lasting economic and community growth to the east Manchester area.

The agreement provides the context for work which is now underway on the short term, and potential long term possibilities for the area.

Since the takeover of the club was completed by ADUG some eighteen months ago, there has been a steady stream of changes made off the field to transform the club from what it was to what it currently is. You sense that all the changes that have been made have led up to this moment.

The changes being made are essentially twofold; in transforming both the playing side by way of the building of the training complex and development of the ground, and also the commercial side which will see the area around the ground redeveloped and will surely have been one of the main attractions when ADUG were seeking a way into the Premier League.

On the playing side, there will be a new training complex built, with much emphasis on the model of Milan's famed and innovate Milanello set up to create a start of the art facility that outshines the current impressive set up at Carrington. There will also be a number of developments to the ground itself, enhancing the 'matchday experience'. One introduction will be a 'fanzone', something seen at the major international tournaments in recent times, whilst there are also plans (believed to be at the North Stand end of the ground) to be able to increase the capacity to 60,000.

Of course, to go with the development of the playing side of things is the more general regeneration of the area around the stadium, with the council confirming:

"A Joint Development Board (JDB) has been formed between the three parties, which will harness the respective strengths of the constituent members – Manchester City Council's and New east Manchester's land ownership, their proven track record in regeneration, and their access to public funding together with Manchester City Football Club's commercial leverage with brand partners and history of investment in all aspects of the club's development.

"The agreement creates the opportunity for a long-term partnership between Manchester City Council, NEM and MCFC, to develop their mutual ambitions for the area. All of the parties share the desire for any commercial development to deliver long lasting economic and community growth to the east Manchester area."

It said the aim was to deliver a better space for fans on match days as well as providing year round activity for residents and new visitors on non-match days, "thereby truly embedding the stadium in the heart of its east Manchester community".

This makes sense, and is an obvious move given the investment that ADUG have made into the club that they would seek to look at all aspects of generating revenue on their investment. The recent Deloitte 'Rich List' evidence quite how far we currently lag behind in terms of matchday revenue generation and to generate a healthier return, ADUG clearly need to utilise the ground for more than 20 days per year.

Of huge importance though of course is the long term commitment this shows by ADUG. Whilst there may have been some suspicion around any ownership group in football given some of the more unsavoury examples of late, it is reassuring that ADUG do appear committed for the long term - a big relief given what is at stake in terms of the clubs future.