Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Crusaders look into £25m new indoor stadium

Crusaders and Newington are poised to announce a £25million investment plan for a new stadium in north Belfast.

A recent Special EU Programmes Body decision not to fund the Newington/Crusaders stadium project was a major blow to both clubs but they remain committed to sharing a new arena.

There is now the possibility that the neighbours could stage their matches in Ireland’s first indoor football stadium.

Both clubs knew their ambitious project at North Foreshore was going to encounter many hurdles but they are convinced their stadium dream can still become a reality.

Mark Langhammer, leading member of the Giants Park steering committee, said: “One of the things we will be looking at is whether the shared stadium could also be Ireland’s first indoor football stadium.

“With the expertise of local professionals and stadia viability specialists, ongoing political support, the support of a wide range of ambassadors from the business, legal, media and community worlds, our own hard work and with the support of the people of north Belfast, together we’ll find a way to make this work.”

Newington treasurer Brian Kearney said both clubs would redouble their efforts to realise the dream.

“The Newington/Crusaders stadium project is still a reality,” he said. “After much discussion and a detailed appraisal procedure, the two clubs have put together what is a realistic new proposal for review. A political consensus has ensured that land on the North Foreshore in Belfast will be available for the shared stadium and sports village, subject to two requirements.

“The first requirement states that the clubs secure the capital investment to design, plan and build it. Secondly, the business plan must demonstrate that it will be a viable concern. So it’s back to the drawing board to revise the sports village master plan.”

Meanwhile, League One side Tranmere Rovers have contacted Crusaders with a view to offering striker Jordan Owens a trial.