Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe: Stadium expansion would be great for club
Published 18/03/2016 | 15:26
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe hopes a planned expansion of the Vitality Stadium will stop fans writing to him complaining they cannot get a ticket and the club having to turn people away from the ground.
The Cherries head to second-placed Tottenham on Sunday sitting in 13th place on 38 points, 13 clear of the scrap for survival following three successive victories as they look set to retain Barclays Premier League status.
Bournemouth held a public exhibition on Thursday evening to show plans for development at the Vitality Stadium, which has the lowest capacity of any top-flight club at only 11,464.
A permanent new south stand with 4,559 seats is among the proposals, along with filling in the corners to add more capacity.
Howe accepts the Dorset club have come a long way in a short space of time following promotion from League One and then winning the Championship last season.
But the Bournemouth manager hopes being able to get more supporters through the turnstiles can only help move them closer to a long-term ambition of becoming part of the Premier League establishment.
"It is great news for the football club. We are aware that we have too few seats for all supporters - I get a lot of letters saying people need tickets and it's been really difficult at times to turn people away from the ground, so this will go some way to bridging that gap," Howe said at a press conference.
"There is still the feeling if we can in time consolidate our position in this league and do that again, again and again - which is going to be extremely tough - then our supporter base will grow. So that is a challenge for the club to face long-term, but short-term this is really good news.
"It is really important we just don't progress the team, and that the other areas progress with it. That we have got the training ground, the stadium, all the things which are really important in the infrastructure which needs to grow with the team, and this is a small step in the right direction."
Following their match at White Hart Lane on Sunday, Howe will use the international break to take the squad away for a warm-weather training camp which he believes will galvanise the players for the run-in.
"Tottenham is the only thing that matters, but afterwards we are going to take the lads away for a few days away to Dubai," he said.
"It is the first opportunity opportunity to do that this season because of our involvement in the FA Cup.
"We are looking forward to it, we did it last year and it was a really good break.
"On the back of that break I think we were unbeaten (through to the end of the season).
"It was a chance to regroup, have some really good intense training session with the lads in a lovely climate, so hopefully it will be the same again."