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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 September, 2003, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Ground boost for Arsenal
An artist's impression of the stadium at Ashburton Grove
The new stadium would massively increase Arsenal's revenue
Arsenal have announced building work will restart on their new ground at Ashburton Grove within two months.

Keith Edelman, managing director of the club's parent company Arsenal Holdings, said the company needed to raise 200m to fund the building of the 60,000-capacity stadium.

The club have yet to reach full agreement with their lenders but are hopeful of completing the financing of the deal within two months and hope to have the new ground ready for the start of the 2006/07 season.

"Although we are making progress, we have not yet got banks' and financial institutions' final signatures," said Edelman.

Work at the stadium, which will replace Arsenal's current home at Highbury, has been delayed while local property is bought up through compulsory purchase orders and the road network is altered.

The club's bank debts rose to 45.8m in the year to 31 May, mainly due to the cost of buying properties it has been forced to acquire for the stadium development, along with other project costs.

But Edelman claimed that building the new stadium will eventually allow Arsenal to become more ambitious in the transfer market.

"If we are successful in developing the stadium, it will release more funds to the club. If we are not, then the club will have to exist on its own," he added.

And Edelman's sentiments have been echoed by Gunners non-executive chairman Peter Hill-Wood.

"It is clear that the development of the new stadium is important to the long term success of the group and we are vigorously progressing all of the issues which lie on the critical path of the project," Hill-Wood said in a statement.

The North London club returned to profit in the year to the end of May 2003, announcing on Tuesday an operating gain of 700,000, after recording a 10.8m loss in 2001/2002.

Group pre-tax profit for the year was 4.5m compared with a deficit of 22.3m over the previous financial year.





SEE ALSO
Arsenal rule out Wembley move
05 Sep 03  |  Football



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