Photo: Mark Evans
The Cornish Pirates are delighted with the appointment of former Harlequins CEO Mark Evans as Project Leader for the Stadium for Cornwall.
The announcement by the Cornish Pirates was first delivered to stakeholders and sponsors at a briefing meeting held by the Directors at the Penventon Hotel, Redruth, on Wednesday night, also present was Alan Cadger representing the architects, Holmes Miller.
Commenting after the meeting, Mark Evans, who now runs a sports consultancy business across a number of sports, said:
“This is an exciting project for Cornwall and I have agreed to lead the Phase 1 stage of the Stadium project. For the guys running the day to day needs of the club this can be rather overwhelming, so my considerable experience in this area, which of course takes a lot of time, is aimed to help.
“My hope to focus on providing extra resource and experience is to give the Pirates and the other partners a degree of confidence that the project is being managed sensibly and for momentum to be maintained and monitored to make sure we get the right type of facility for the different stakeholders.”
Given that the Heads of Terms between the different partners has now been signed and given the way things have moved on in terms of the overall development he is very optimistic that there will be a spade in the ground next spring/summer.
“The position is similar to the development that took place when I was at The Stoop (the Harlequins ground) where we had four phases to rebuild the ground. People forget that was just over 15 years ago.
“The Stoop was a pretty ordinary facility and you have to do it in phases. Phase 1 though is the big one, where you put all of your core facilities in – all the things you need to run because at the end of the day from a Cornish Pirates perspective it is a rugby club and you’ve got to be able to put the show on the road.
“We don’t live in a country where there is much public money to put into professional sports facilities so you have to come up with innovative funding models to help raise capital. You just can’t be an elite rugby club in England now without having a decent stadium, it simply cannot be done.
“I am a great believer that you have to take everything in steps, to help progress towards the ultimate goal which must be to reach and stay at the highest level. There is no guarantee, but without it there is no possibility and that’s how I’m viewing this. You can look around a number of sports and see that it’s like building a sort of tower and you just have to put all the blocks in place.”
Alan Cadger from the architects, Holmes Miller said:
“After travelling to meet the partners and work through ideas, an exciting day ended with a very exciting presentation made to shareholders and others, and it’s shown a real commitment from the Cornish Pirates and their partners to move the stadium project forward.
“With experience and connections with sporting venues such as Murrayfield, the Rose Bowl, Wembley and the Olympic Velodrome we have now been brought on board to deliver this project.
“The potential is undoubtedly there and a sporting county like Cornwall, which is a rugby heartland in particular, clearly deserves to have a stadium.”
Cornish Pirates’ Chairman, Paul Durkin, who led the presentation, has commented:
“The main content of Wednesday night’s presentation explained the progress and capital requirement to shareholders and stakeholders on the stadium build and financing requirement and to announce the two key appointments of Alan and Mark as architect and Project Leader. This is a significant milestone in the realisation of the stadium and great news for Cornwall and for Truro City FC, Truro and Penwith College and the Cornish Pirates.”