CLUB STATEMENT | Sale & lease back for stadium & land at Huish Park

After more than a year of discussions, South Somerset District Council and Yeovil Town FC have concluded a sale and lease back deal for the stadium and land at Huish Park. 

Yeovil Town Chairman, Scott Priestnall commented: “The deal provides valuable funds to the Club, in what has been a very difficult period financially and operationally. We utilised all government schemes available to us during the pandemic, but unfortunately those funds did not meet our ongoing cash requirement, never mind allow us to grow.  

“When I first came into the Club, I saw the opportunity to grow this already amazing Club into an organisation off the pitch that could provide revenues all week, not just on match days. While I had very positive conversations with local planning, developers and funding partners, the pandemic delayed our options to grow, at the same time causing huge financial difficulties to our ongoing operations.   

“There is and has always been a massive opportunity to develop the club’s infrastructure, but over the last 30 years the custodians of this Club have never been able to put a plan together that works for all related parties.   

“I believe, thanks to the hard work and vision of our MP, local councillors, and officers of SSDC, we are now in a position to not only sustain this Club financially but also move forward with a viable plan to grow our infrastructure off the pitch, to help with gaining future success on the pitch. 

“The funds will help pay for costs incurred during the pandemic such as deferred payments with some of our key partners and deferred salaries to our incredible staff and players who accepted a reduction in wages during lockdown when the Club could not operate.   

“I thank each and every one of them for their commitment and patience to allow us to get to where we are now. 

“SSDC have showed fantastic commitment to this football club and special thanks should be given for their understanding and patience over the last year while the Club explored all other possibilities for investment, including the potential takeover that has dominated the Club for the past nine months. 

“In addition, the funds will also allow us to engage contractors and consultants to put forward a planning application for the site as well as allowing us to sensibly invest in required maintenance work and our playing squad.  Fundamentally, it has also allowed us to negotiate and remove the well-publicised restrictive covenants held over the site since the football club made Huish Park its home. 

Moving Forward: 

“As I stated at my open discussion in the Alec Stock Lounge before the Stockport game and to the Supporters Alliance three weeks ago and again at a meeting on Wednesday, I have been talking to various individuals to form a new board for the upcoming season.  

“I am pleased to say that I will be announcing appointments over the next week or two. The new board will have a combination of specialist football operations, a voice for supporters and a wealth of experience in business, that will come together and help shape the future of Yeovil Town. 

“Our new first team manager, Chris Hargreaves, has also been announced and is in discussion with members of our existing squad, as well as potential targets, while his backroom staff will be announced over the coming weeks. 

“I do appreciate that it has been a frustrating time for supporters this season with so much uncertainty. I acknowledge that mistakes have been made.  

“My aim for the upcoming season is that as supporters you have clarity on our plans. That starts with the manager, then with player signings and his backroom staff. Then over the next year you see progress and see sight of our long-term vision for Huish Park. 

“It has been a difficult time for everyone involved in the Club, there is no doubt about that, and there will be those that will put a negative spin on this deal, but this project is an exciting prospect and gives the Club a clear route for growth for the first time in its life at Huish Park. Providing future additional revenues that will give us competitive advantages down the line.  

“It’s important that we come together and work together to ensure a successful future for YTFC, and with the new board, continue to provide clarity on the Clubs’ operations.” 

Following the completion of the deal Council Leader Val Keitch added: “This is a significant deal, and it is certainly not a decision we have taken lightly. However, we strongly believe it is in the best interests of South Somerset and its communities. 

“YTFC is the only professional football club in Somerset, and it makes a significant contribution to both the local economy and more widely in terms of community, education, and local civic pride. 

“This includes the community impact of the club’s charity, the Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust, which strives to make a positive difference for all through sport and learning for thousands of local people through its work with local schools and its own Soccer Schools.”