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Vaughan eyes up a riverside home

TRANMERE ROVERS would move to a new purpose-built stadium on the Birkenhead waterfront, within the district of Tranmere itself, if Stephen Vaughan's bid to buy the second division club is successful.

TRANMERE ROVERS would move to a new purpose-built stadium on the Birkenhead waterfront, within the district of Tranmere itself, if Stephen Vaughan's bid to buy the second division club is successful.

The Liverpool businessman revealed more details of his ambitious takeover plans for Tranmere to the Daily Post last night.

And they include:

The construction of a new riverside stadium in Birkenhead, which is understood to be on the site of the former Cammell Laird shipyard.

The expansion of Tranmere's highly successful youth development operation to Academy status on a new, purpose-built site.

Involving supporters and members of the Supporters' Trust in the running of the club by enabling them to buy shares and have a representative on the Board of Directors.

All existing staff jobs (non-playing and coaching) would be kept on under the stewardship of the new regime.

Vaughan, who bought Chester City 13 months ago, believes his package of proposals do everything to satisfy the concerns of Tranmere's current owners that the club remains on the Wirral.

The new ground and youth academy would be financed by the sale of Prenton Park, together with Tranmere's youth team training ground at Ingleborough Road, for development.

However, Tranmere will remain at Prenton Park until permission has been granted for the construction of the new ground.

In the period between the development of Prenton Park and the construction of a new stadium, Tranmere would be able to play their home fixtures at Chester City's Deva Stadium on a temporary basis.

The proposals, made by Vaughan through his company Vaughan Promotions, would require the co-operation of Wirral Borough Council over matters such as planning permission.

The scheme could face two potential obstacles.

It is understood the Ingleborough Road site, the former Birkenhead Institute playing fields, has a deed of covenant placed upon it restricting the use of the land to recreational purposes.

It is also understood the issue of grant aid - worth £2.1million - Tranmere received from the football trust in 1994 will have to be addressed.

The money was used for the construction of three sides of Prenton Park and the resurfacing of the large car-park on the nine-acre site.

The overall package would enable Peter Johnson, Tranmere's owner, to reclaim much of the £5m-plus debt he believed to be owed by the club.

A new ground on the Tranmere waterfront should satisfy the aspirations of those fans who believe the club belongs in Birkenhead.

The expansion and upgrading of the youth development operation would also be a popular move with supporters, who are proud of Tranmere's's outstanding track record of producing home-grown talent.

Indeed, Vaughan's son has been a member of Tranmere's school of excellence teams.

Vaughan has involved the Supporters Trust at Chester City with the running of the club by having one of its members on the board and says he plans to do the same, if he is successful in his takeover bid, at Tranmere.

Vaughan is so far the only bidder for Tranmere to disclose details of his offer in public.

A joint bid by the Tranmere and Wirral Football Supporters Trust and an unnamed national organisation is due to be unveiled tonight at a public meeting in Aldo's at Prenton Park (7.45).

No other bidder has publicly declared an interest, although since putting the club on the market in August Tranmere have indicated that the number of interested parties numbers more than two.

Meanwhile, Vaughan is to address a meeting of Chester supporters at the Deva Stadium tonight (7.00) about his continued commitment to the Nationwide Conference club.

Vaughan said: "Anyone who doubts my commitment towards Chester City should come along to that public meeting.

"I would like to reiterate my total support to Chester and Tranmere.

"Despite media speculation by ill-informed sources last weekend, the question of mergers between these two clubs has never been discussed or thought about."


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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