Wakefield Trinity Wildcats eye £600,000 Belle Vue stadium deal

Wakefield chairman Michael Carter says the Wildcats are considering a bid to buy back their Belle Vue stadium after it was put up for sale.

Belle Vue Stadium.

The Bank of Ireland, who acquired the freehold during one of the Super League club’s financial crises, are seeking offers in the region of £600,000 for the ground, which has been home to Wakefield for more than 120 years.

Carter believes that a high level of arsenic under sections of the terracing, which were uncovered by a development company in 2008, will deter prospective house builders and remains confident the ground will continue to host rugby league.

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“I’ve been in dialogue with the administrators of the ground since we signed the new lease in September and I always knew they were looking to put it on the market some time before Easter,” Carter said.

“I’m really hopeful that one of the interested parties that ends up buying the freehold will have something to do with either the club or the stadium trust. My fervent hope is that one way or another it will be good news for the club.

“Any prospective buyer has to bear in mind that there is a clause on the ground that says nothing can happen unless there is a stadium fit for Super League within Wakefield so that gives the club some added comfort.

“Also any prospective buyer needs to be aware of the potential contaminates that are underneath the ground that would be quite expensive to clear.

“So there are some hurdles that needs to be overcome for somebody that doesn’t want to run it as a rugby league ground.”

Carter says he and fellow director Chris Brereton, who brought the club back from the brink of insolvency just over two years ago and put the finances back on an even keel, will consider making a bid themselves.

“It’s something we are considering,” Carter added. “It’s early days, it literally came out of the blue. I wasn’t aware what value the Bank of Ireland were putting on the site until yesterday and we’re going to need some time to evaluate what the £600,000 price tag actually means.

“I don’t think the £600,000 would potentially put us off too much. We’d like to own the ground ourselves or get the trust to own the ground and there has been talk over the last 24 hours of a supporters-owned ground.

“Hopefully there won’t be somebody who comes out of left field and decides he wants to buy the ground with a view to kicking the club out and developing it into housing or something like that. Hopefully common sense will prevail.”

Hopes for a new purpose-built stadium near the M62, which were approved by the Government four years ago, have faded and Carter’s preference is to develop the existing ground.