English Premiership

QPR boss eyes new stadium

2011-11-28 18:36
Tony Fernandes (File)

London - QPR owner Tony Fernandes revealed on Monday that the Premier League club issearching for a bigger venue in west London to replace Loftus Road.

The 18 500-capacity Shepherd's Bush ground is the smallest in the Premier League and Fernandes, who has been in charge of the club for just over three months, the club is looking to expand.

"It's still premature at the moment. The key this season is to survive, but we would like a bigger ground, and we are looking," said Fernandes.

"It has to be in the area. It makes no sense to move out from where you have spent most of your life, and where the fan base is.

Fernandes, who also owns F1's Team Lotus and budget airline AirAsia, told the Press Association: "So west London is where we are and where we'd like to be.

"I've built airlines and Formula One teams, but building a stadium is not the easiest thing in the world. There are opportunities in west London we are looking at."

The key question for Fernandes is deciding on the capacity of the new stadium.

"Some fans are saying 'We don't have a fan base bigger than 20 000'," said Fernandes.

"My gut feel is 40-45 000. That's double where we are right now, but we're in London and there's a strong catchment area.

"Of course, there is nothing worse than a half-empty stadium, but I'm the king of sizing.

"If you start an airline with two planes, and then you buy 150 planes, the same question can be asked.

"As I say, it's just a gut feel, but we'll do some studies first."

Of primary concern for Fernandes is ensuring QPR survive, with the Malaysian entrepreneur promising manager Neil Warnock up to four new players when the January transfer window opens.

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