Club Merger Could Triple Size of Lionel Road Stadium
Brentford and QPR could share new 60,000 capacity ground
The football world is set to be rocked today with an announcement about a merger between two of West London's clubs. Brentford F.C. and Queens Park Rangers are believed to be in advanced stages of discussions about a deal which will see the two clubs come under the ownership of the same company to make their new home in a 60,000 seat stadium at the Lionel Road site.
Brentford FC are believed to be taken aback by the negative reaction to the enabling development which was to provide them with the funds to build a new ground at Lionel Road. The massive commercial and residential development would see ten new tower blocks of up to 14 storeys high built on the border of Chiswick and Brentford.
Under the arrangement with QPR and a consortium of oil-rich backers the plans are now to be drastically overhauled with the stadium tripling in size to accommodate top flight football but the surrounding development to be much smaller in scale.
One reason for Brentford to consider the offer from QPR is that extra funding will be available for the ground allowing a larger stadium to be built and reducing the size of the surrounding development making planning permission more likely. The source of the extra capital has not been revealed but speculation is rife that Qatari investor Yuran Ap Rilful is backing the scheme.
Current development would dominate the sky line in West Chiswick
New FA regulations are to be introduced to allow a club in the lower leagues to be under the same ownership as a premier league club and that team to operate as a feeder club for the team in the higher division. This system operates in Spain and the football authorities believe it will add to the financial stability of teams in the lower league and ensure that the top young talent with the top clubs get regular competitive football.
QPR have been unsuccessful in their attempt to secure a site for their own ground and have concluded that Lionel Road would provide the only option. Sources close to the deal say that the Loftus Road based club were so desperate to agree to the deal that they agreed to many of Brentford's demands including changing their name to Griffin Rangers. In a huge gamble for the club they have also accepted that may have to drop down two divisions at the end of this season. The league rules stipulate that two teams under the same ownership cannot play in the same division so if Brentford were promoted from League One and QPR were relegated from the Premier League it would be Brentford that would play in the higher division under the terms of the deal. QPR's higher paid players like Ji Sung Park, Abdel Taarabt and Christopher Samba would move to Brentford while players like Shaun Derry and Clint Hill would probably stay along with Harry Redknapp with a team which would effectively be the Bees' B's.
The literally incredible idea would be to create a new West London super club funded by oil money capable of challenging for top European honours. Spokeswomen for the consortium backing the deal, Avril Amadan said, “We want Brentford to be playing Barcelona rather than Barnet. We see them in the Champions League within three years.”
They believe that a fan base big enough to attract a crowd big enough to fill the stadium will be easy to establish. Ms. Amadan said, “Recent events has shown that the position of a Russian oligarch isn't always stable and if Roman Abramovitch was to fall out of favour and no longer able to financially back Chelsea and they stopped being good, lots of their fans would be looking for a new team to support.”
It is understood that QPR had previously talked with Fulham FC about a similar arrangement and possible merger. Negotiations progressed as far as a short list of names for the new team which included the Craven Queens and the Bush Cottagers but Mohammed Al Fayed refused to budge on joint ownership of the Michael Jackson statue.
The consortium have dismissed concerns about transport infrastructure pointing out that there is a regular train to Kew Bridge and the 237, 267 and 391 buses go past the site. Under a green travel plan that will support their planning application they will have a scheme in which visiting supporters will be encouraged to ‘park and ride' by leaving their cars or coaches in the Grove Park area of Chiswick where there is currently no residents' parking zone.April 1, 2013