Yeovil Town chairman Martin Hellier has said he is happy to pay rent to landlords Somerset Council for Huish Park for the time being.

The owner holds the exclusive buy-back on the stadium and surrounding land at the site which runs until 17th May 2026, and will pay £195,000-a-year in rent until he activates that option.

Speaking to BBC Somerset ahead of Saturday’s home game with Maidstone United, Hellier said his priority was in investing in improvements to the stadium and the playing staff.

He said: “It is our exclusive option for a number of years. This is a club where we want to be sustainable and any fan or member of the community can rest assured that the stadium and any surrounding land will not be going anywhere to anyone as long as we are around.

Asked whether that meant he was happy to pay rent, he added: “If necessary yes, we have no problem paying rent in the interim. We don’t want to put a big lump of investment in to something we have the exclusive buy-back on, I can buy it in five years, three years, whatever it is, but I am not going to do that to the detriment of the club.

The stadium is going nowhere, the surrounding land is going nowhere and no-one is going to be developing on it. We are certainly not going to be building houses on it. We will be buying back the surrounding lands and the stadium and we will not be building a housing estate and trying to flip them for a quick buck.

Chairman Martin Hellier, centre, with manager Mark Cooper and captain Josh Staunton.

What we would do is build a couple more 3G pitches which we would rent out privately, which you would get more yield from than a typical rental property.

And anything we get from that development, those revenue streams are coming straight back in to the club to bring about the sustainability we have spoken about.

The chairman was also asked about his thoughts on manager Mark Cooper and said that he believed the boss had the opportunity to show his qualities this season.

He pointed to the “intervention” of one-time ‘stewards’ SU Glovers, the group run by now-York City owner Matt Uggla, as the reason for Cooper not getting such an opportunity last season.

Asked if the manager had to win promotion, Hellier said: “I don’t think anyone can set it in a contract! But this is Mark’s first chance of having a clear run at it without any negative things interfering with that.

Last year he didn’t have a clear run at it. The Eastleigh game we were seven points clear at that point and then there was some intervention with regards to player recruitment from the so-called stewards and everything went in to a spiral from there.

Mark is under no illusion that this is the first season he can truly be judged on his abilities and we will review that come the end of the season.


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Derek Hamilton
7 months ago

Reckon that’s sound judgement

Mick
7 months ago

A good and cheap investment would be in a cycle rack at the bottom of the main car park, encourage people to use it.