LONDON (Reuters) - Queens Park Rangers, who have had more grounds than any other professional club in England, must move again if they are to thrive as a top-class outfit, owner Tony Fernandes said on Thursday.
QPR have played at 16 known venues and have made four changes since 1931. They finally settled back at Loftus Road in 1963 but with the ground currently capable of holding only 18,439 it has the lowest capacity in the Premier League.
The club have plans to move to a new 40,000-seater stadium three miles away and Fernandes said in a statement on the club’s website (www.qpr.co.uk) the move was vital if they were to compete at the top level.
”We need to move if we are to sustain a top-flight club,“ he said. ”Old Oak Common is the only realistic place for us to move. It is close to our fans and our roots, with great transport links.
”QPR have been in the area for over 100 years and have a loyal fan-base.
However, the huge car dealership Cargiant, the club’s former sponsor, owns 47 acres of the land and has its own plans for redevelopment, while the largely under-developed area has also been earmarked for new rail links with a new station.
QPR say 88 percent of their fans support Old Oak as the location for the club’s new ground.
“We are delighted that so many of our fans and members of the local community share our vision for the future of both QPR and Old Oak,” Fernandes added.
“This is only the first stage of consultation and we will continue to work with the community as we develop our plans in more detail.”
The club says the regeneration will deliver more than just a stadium, providing 24,000 homes, 55,000 jobs and community facilities.
After a nomadic existence in their first decades, QPR first played at Loftus Road from 1917-31 but after two short spells at the old demolished White City permanently moved back in 1963.
Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Peter Rutherford