September 2, 2014

Stadium History

From Love Street to Greenhill Road. Here is a Blog type history of the clubs move from Love Street to the new stadium on Greenhill road.

In the years preceding the move there had been rumour and speculation surrounding the long term future of St Mirren Football Club. The Club had a sizeable debt that the Board of Directors had been servicing but with little chance of reducing on a short term basis.

Added pressure was brought on by the lending bank who were using their right to claim back their capital so at this juncture the Board of Directors took the only road available to them. They decided to sell the site of the Love Street Stadium (the Club’s home since 1894) for retail development in the hope that they could clear their debt as well as build a new stadium.

There have been plenty of ups and downs in this venture which has now led us to the new stadium. 2007-2008 was the last full season that football was played in the Love Street stadium and on Saturday, January 31st 2009 St Mirren kicked off in the new stadium against Kilmarnock in a SPL match-up.

Please note that the latest stories will be to the top.

28 November 2008 – Building Warrant Granted for New Stadium

The first big step in the hand over of the new stadium on Greenhill Road was completed today when Barr Construction received the building warrant for the construction phase.

Over the next few weeks Barr Construction need to obtain a safety certificate and SPL licensing approval before handing over the keys to St Mirren Football Club in mid December.

Director Gordon Scott, who has been overseeing the construction of the stadium for the Club, said, “I must admit that when I took on the job of working on behalf of the Board to agree the design and monitor the construction of our new stadium I didn’t think that we could ever replace what we have at our existing ground.

“I firmly believe that while we cannot bring with us the memories or history of Love Street, we have built an excellent stadium that is a credit to the Club and all those involved in its planning and construction.

“St Mirren Football Club have a sound footing from which to create the memories of the future.”

10 November 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 13

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

The pictures taken on November 10th, show the stadium is now close to completion, both inside and outside – to view please click here.

9 October 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 12

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

The pictures taken on October 8th, show the lettered seating layout, the ‘finishing off’ of the work on the car park areas and the astro turf parks – to view please click here.

12 September 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 11

The second gallery, pictures taken on September 11th, shows the floodlights being tested

12 September 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 10

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

Taken on September 8th, shows the seating going into the stand and the preparation for the laying of the car parking areas – to view please click here.

4 August 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 09

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

The pictures taken over the last few weeks show the erection of the floodlights, the turnstiles and a view of the stadium from a flight leaving Glasgow Airport.

2 July 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 08

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

The pictures taken on June 26th show that the stadium is now beginning to look like a stadium with the stands now waiting on the seating to complete them and the pitch now showing a healthy growth of grass.

10 June 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 07

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

Things are shaping up nicely now with the stands looking close to completion and the pitch now being seeded and watered.

3 June 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 06

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

The exterior of the Stands now look close to the finished article – minus the seating of course – and the preparations for the laying of the playing surface are still ongoing.

16 May 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 05

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

We are now at the stage where the preparations are in full swing for the laying of the pitch.

11 April 2008 – New Stadium – A Bird’s Eye View

The four pictures below show aerial shots taken from above the Greenhill Road site where the new stadium is presently under construction.

It’s now plainly visible that all four stands are under construction.


9 April 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 04

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

These gallery shows some pictures taken from raised elevations showing a perspective of the construction of the new stadium that we haven’t seen before now.

30 March 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 03

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

25 March 2008 – New Stadium – Concrete on Steel

The latest picture shows that the stands are now being formed as concrete is being laid onto the steel structures.

6 March 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 02

The latest gallery updating the full area of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

1 March 2008 – New Stadium – Stands Taking Shape

In the following pictures you can now see a definite shape to both the West and East Stands as the steelwork continues to be erected.

21 February 2008 – New Stadium – Site Gallery – 01

Every two to three weeks we will provide a gallery of pictures which will cover the construction of the new stadium both from the outside and the inside.

As we collate the galleries they will build an overall pictorial record on the progression of the construction right up till the finished product.


18 February 2008 – New Stadium – Steelwork Erected

Today the first signs of a steel structure appeared as the new stadium takes it’s first steps towards taking shape.

The picture above shows the north corner of the East (Main) Stand. The ground floor at this area houses a plant room and the upper floor will be the area which remains unfinished for a future fit-out as a bar.

Club Director Gordon Scott confirmed that construction of the new stadium is going to plan. He said, “Everything is running to schedule so far.

“I walked around the site while the contractors were putting in the foundations and you imagine how it will all come together but now that the steelwork has started to go up you really start to get a feel for how it’s going to take shape.

“It’s hard to believe that in around 40 weeks time it will be complete!”

21 January 2008 – New Stadium – Ground-Breaking Ceremony

This afternoon the Club had a ground-breaking ceremony on the site at Greenhill Road where the new stadium will be built.

Chairman Stewart Gilmour said: “St Mirren Football Club are delighted that construction of our new 8,000 seat stadium at Greenhill Road commenced this month with the build programme by Main Contractor, Barr Construction showing scheduled completion for November 28th this year.

“On permission of the SPL/SFL and SFA this would allow the first match to take place in January 2009 once every team has been played at home and away in Season 2008-2009.

“We are sure that everyone connected with the Club will be following the progress on site with great anticipation.

“We would like to thank Tesco for all their assistance with the project and hope the new stadium with the facilities it offers will encourage the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire to get behind St Mirren as we enter an exciting period for the Club.

“The future’s bright, the future’s black and white!”

Leader of Renfrewshire Council Derek Mackay said: “Renfrewshire Council are fully supportive of St Mirren Football Club and the new stadium development at Greenhill Road which will hopefully be a catalyst for further development in the area.

“The Council have a good working partnership with St Mirren who are a focal point in the local community. The Council look forward to working with St Mirren as the Club continues to move forward.”

Commenting on the proposals, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager Jennifer Duncan said: “We are delighted to be working in tandem with St Mirren in this exciting project for Paisley and we are pleased that Renfrewshire Council recently approved plans for a new supermarket at Love Street.

“It is great news for fans of St Mirren as the Club will be retained in the local area at Greenhill Road site, keeping the team at the heart of the community.

“We have a long standing commitment to Renfrewshire and Tesco is now looking forward to delivering a store worthy of the support the people of Paisley have shown us.”

8 January 2008 – New Stadium – Work is Underway

Yesterday morning (Monday, January 7th) work on the new stadium on Greenhill Road got underway.

St Mirren General Manager Brian Caldwell said, “We are delighted to see that work has commenced on site as scheduled on Monday.

“As the work progresses we will update the Official Website to ensure that all our supporters around the world can see the progress on an ongoing basis”.

Below are some pictures taken from the site on Tuesday, January 8th.

3 December 2007 – SG on New Stadium

At yesterday’s Club AGM, Chairman Stewart Gilmour confirmed the construction plans for the new stadium to be built on Greenhill Road.

Today the Chairman elaborated on these plans.

He said, “St Mirren Football Club are delighted to announce that construction of our new 8,000 seat stadium at Greenhill Road will commence on 7th January, 2008 with the build programme by Main Contractor, Barr Construction, showing scheduled completion for 28th November, 2008.

“On permission of the SPL/SFL and SFA this would allow the first match to take place in January 2009 once every team has been played at home and away in Season 2008/2009.

“We would like to thank Tesco for all their assistance with the project and hope the new stadium with the facilities it offers will encourage the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire to get behind St Mirren as we enter an exciting period for the Club.

“The future’s bright, the future’s black and white!”

Commenting on the proposals, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager Jennifer Duncan said: “We are delighted to be working in tandem with St Mirren in this exciting project for Paisley and we are pleased that Renfrewshire Council recently approved plans for a new supermarket at Love Street.

“It is great news for fans of St Mirren as the Club will be retained in the local area at the Greenhill Road site, keeping the team at the heart of the community.

“We have a long standing commitment to Renfrewshire and Tesco is now looking forward to delivering a store worthy of the support the people of Paisley have shown us”

The Official Website also gives you the first chance to see the finalised plans of the new stadium – both drawings are in a PDF format – and they are;

New Stadium General Layout

New Stadium New East Stand Elevation

2 December 2007 – Construction Date for New Stadium

Chairman Stewart Gilmour confirmed this afternoon at the Club’s AGM that construction on the new stadium in Greenhill Road will start on Monday, January 7th, 2008 by Barr Construction.

It was also confirmed that the proposed date of completion of the stadium will be Friday, November 28th, 2008.

The Club expect to move into their new home during January 2009.

25 April 2007 – Stadium Sale Confirmed – Saints Are Moving!

THE deal that will save St Mirren has now been signed and sealed.

St Mirren Football Club have completed the agreement to sell their Love Street ground to supermarket operator Tesco and build a new stadium less than a mile away at Greenhill Road. The cash-strapped club will also now be able to pay off their £2 million-plus debt.

The remaining planning issues were resolved at a meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s planning board on Tuesday, April 24th and this gave the green light for the deal to go ahead.

St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour said: “This is an historic day for St Mirren. It is the day the Club has been saved.

“We said from the start that the only way the Club could survive in its present form and remain in Paisley would be to sell our ground for enough money to pay off our debts and build a new Premier League-standard stadium.

“Thankfully, for the Club, the fans, the players and the whole of Paisley and Renfrewshire this has now been achieved. We can look forward to a new era of financial stability and hopefully, the success on the park that stability can bring us.”

The deal with Tesco – worth an overall £15 million – will see the supermarket company build St Mirren a new stadium on derelict land in Greenhill Road, Paisley and pay a cash sum which will allow the club to pay off its debts.

Work on the new stadium is expected to start this summer and St Mirren aim to kick off the 2008 season in their new home. Mr Gilmour continued: “We would like to thank everyone who has supported us in this long, long journey we have had to make to get to where we are today.

“Particular mention has to be made of Paisley MSPs Wendy Alexander and Hugh Henry who have been a great help guiding us through the planning and political process of getting permission for the supermarket at Love Street and the new stadium in Greenhill Road. They have been good friends to St Mirren.

“We will have a modern stadium with more opportunities for commercial off-field activities which are crucial for any modern-day football club.”

St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson reckons having a new stadium and better facilities could help attract players to sign for St Mirren. “If you are taking a signing possibility into a brand new stadium they can see that the club is ambitious. It’s definitely a factor they might look at before deciding if they will sign for you,” he said.

“A new stadium can be appealing and hopefully it will attract players to St Mirren.”

Gus added: “A new stadium could also be an attraction to bringing more supporters to watch the games. You want them to be watching football in comfort and you need to give them a good environment.”

Tesco’s Scottish Corporate Affairs Manager Nick Gellatly said: “Tesco has a long-standing commitment to Renfrewshire and we are delighted to be working with St Mirren on this very exciting project.

“We already employ many people in the local area, many of whom are fans of the Club and who share our enthusiasm for it’s future.

“Across Scotland we have been involved in a variety of football initiatives to encourage young people to take part in sport, promoting active, healthier lifestyles. Whilst our feet remain firmly rooted in retail, we are very pleased to be able to help the sport when and where we can.”

Wendy Alexander said: “Securing a brand new stadium is a major boost for St Mirren and great news for Shortroods too.

“In the last few years the community has benefited from 500 new homes, including 200 for rent.

“A new superstore will aid the continuing regeneration of the area and provide local people with first-class shopping facilities.”

Hugh Henry added: “St Mirren is a community club and its survival is important to Paisley and Renfrewshire.

“I am delighted I have been able to help find a solution which will benefit the club and the local community.”

25 Apr, 2007 – Stadium Sale Confirmed

St Mirren Football Club have completed the agreement to sell their Love Street ground to supermarket operator Tesco and build a new stadium less than a mile away at Greenhill Road.

The cash-strapped club will also now be able to pay off their £2 million-plus debt.

The remaining planning issues were resolved at a meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s planning board on Tuesday, April 24th and this gave the green light for the deal to go ahead.

16 Aug, 2005 – The Move is On!

The Scottish Executive has decided NOT to call in St Mirren’s planning applications to sell Love Street to a supermarket operator and build a new stadium in nearby Greenhill Road, Paisley.

The decision effectively means that the Club has been saved and will be able to raise enough cash to pay off the debt and build a new Premier League-standard stadium.

Saints chairman Stewart Gilmour welcomed the decision and said: “You could feel the relief in and around Love Street when the news came through that the Scottish Executive was not calling in our planning applications.

“That decision means we can now go ahead doing what is necessary to clear our crippling long-term debts and build a new stadium in Paisley. It also means that the Club’s 128-year link with Paisley remains and this will no doubt be welcomed by the many tens of thousands of people here and abroad who hold an affection for their home town club.

“I would thank the Scottish Executive who took the decision not to call in our application and allow us to proceed with our proposals. We will now start the rebuilding process both at St Mirren and in the north end of Paisley. We said all along that our proposals could be the catalyst for the regeneration of the North of Paisley and I am sure this will be the case.

“I’m also sure that, as a football club, we will bring much pride back to Paisley with success on the field. And off the field, I hope we can kick-start a similar process – socially and economically – in the north end of Paisley.

“Sure, it will be sad to leave Love Street, but there was no alternative. We would have had to sell the ground no matter what the outcome of our planning applications. The difference now is that we can raise enough cash to pay off the debt and stay in Paisley in a fabulous new stadium less than a mile from St Mirren Park.

“We can all recall the fantastic scenes at Paisley Cross and the Town Hall when we brought the Scottish Cup and the League Championship back to Paisley. It was a great day not just for our supporters, but also for the whole of Paisley and Renfrewshire. It gave everyone such a huge lift in morale. There will be a lot more of these wonderful days in the future.

“Who can forget the look of excitement on the faces of the youngsters who stood in front of the Town Hall as the open-topped bus arrived when we won the Scottish Cup and the League title?

“I am sure these same youngsters will be standing there again – albeit a little older – waiting for the team to arrive for another great St Mirren celebration.

“It’s thanks to this decision by the Scottish Executive and the earlier decision by councillors on the Renfrewshire planning board to give our plans the go-ahead that they will be able to do that.

“The Scottish Executive’s decision is great not only for St Mirren, but also for Paisley and the whole of Renfrewshire.

“With our proposals having been given the go-ahead, the directors, players and staff at St Mirren can now make sure that the Saints DO go marching in and keep on marching for a long time to come.”

24 May, 2005 – Reaction to Council Decision

This afternoon at Renfrewshire Council the Planning Committee made up of 14 Councillors voted 9-5 in favour of St Mirren’s application to build a supermarket at the present site of St Mirren Park on Love Street.

This was a decision that many St Mirren fans felt wouldn’t come around but Saints’ Chairman Stewart Gilmour was philosophical about the final vote. He said, “Some of the Councillors voted for us and some didn’t but that’s the job they are put into to do, make these type of decisions.

“I was a bit disappointed that some of the Councillors based things on our financial position without knowing all the facts. They commented that last year we lost £100,000 but they forgot that we were running these two planning applications which cost about £250,000 and are paying £140,000 a year in interest on our debt which has been absolutely crippling, but that’s not going to happen anymore.”

The Saints Chairman went on to confirm that if the vote had gone against the Club that the St Mirren Park site would still have been sold but he now knows that the future has a more rosy outcome. He said, “The ground will definetly be sold but that was always going to be the case one way or the other. But it will now be sold to a retail operator which will allow us to build a SPL compliant stadium at Greenhill Road. It will be a modern stadium with modern facilities and 5-a-side pitches which will bring in income streams outwith the football club.

“I think the whole process will happen between the next 18 to 24 months. We’ll remain at Love Street for now but I’ve got to admit that it will be a sad day when we finally have to leave it.”

Mr Gilmour is in no doubt that if the decision had gone against Saints today the Club would have suffered a slow and agonising death but he now sees the outcome rosy not only for Saints but the town of Paisley too. He explained, “This now gives St Mirren financial stability but if the vote had gone against us I would probably be sitting with Partick Thistle Chairman Brown McMaster tomorrow thrashing out a deal to ground share at Firhill which would have been the start of a slow death for St Mirren.

“But we can now look forward to remaining in Paisley and being a part of the community just along the road in Ferguslie Park. I also believe that the supermarket will be good for the people who live in the Shotroods area of the town which I see regenerating the area.”

With the Club’s future all but assured Stewart then turned his thoughts towards further progress on the playing field. He said, “Our target now is to make our way back into the SPL and this decision today will give us a chance to do so. There won’t be instant cash given to Gus for the playing squad as a lot of other things will have to be put in place first but we can now start working towards better days.”

Saints’ Manager Gus MacPherson was also in attendance at today’s meeting and his thoughts lay with the fans, he said, “The over-riding thing today is the relief that the supporters are feeling and that they still have a club to support. We can now hopefully look forward to some good times ahead.”

But the Saints’ gaffer also knows that today’s outcome can bring around better times for the team too. He said, “What happened today may take a wee while to sink in but we’ll sit down and plan what we want to do. There will be a lot happening in a short space of time and hopefully from there we can get the Club back into it’s rightful position.”

The final word of the day went to die-hard fan and SMiSA spokesperson Wullie Bell who admitted to going through a gambit of emotions today. He said, “I’m relieved and delighted at today’s decision. It was a bit nerve racking at times and there was a time during the meeting where we felt it was going to go against us and when it turned at the vote it was like a wave of relief right through the hall and it carried all the way out to the fans outside.

“The feeling was fantastic, it was like a winning goal being scored by Saints at Love Street.”

24 May, 2005 – Planning Applications Passed

This afternoon the Planning Committee at the Renfrewshire Council voted in favour of St Mirren’s planning applications to have the Love Street site re-zoned for Class 1 retail use and permission to build a new stadium on the Greenhill Road site.

Reaction to follow.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support we have had from all corners of the world on this issue. In just under 48 hours close on to 3,000 people signed an online petition set-up by Thomas McIlroy. The petition was presented to the Planning Committee prior to the meeting, a petition that was signed by fans representing countless clubs the length and breadth of the UK as well as those from further off places on the globe.

The Club also received several letters, faxes and e-mails of support and we shouldn’t forget about the mass turnout of fans at the Council offices today who showed what the Club means to them.

Once again, thank you all for your support.

20 May, 2005 – Statement from Stewart Gilmour

St Mirren supporters are being urged to attend the Renfrewshire Council planning board meeting on Tuesday, May 24, at 12 noon in the Renfrewshire Council Chambers, Cotton Street, Paisley.

This is when 14 councillors on the planning board will vote whether to allow a supermarket at Love Street which would pay for a new stadium to be built at Greenhill Road, Paisley.

Planning officials are recommending refusal of the supermarket at Love Street which is needed to fund this new stadium for Saints.

The officials’ main objection appears to be that a supermarket at Love Street could adversely affect other food stores in Paisley town centre.

The retail impact assessment carried out by St Mirren’s planning consultants had reported there would be minimal impact on the town centre.

However, Renfrewshire Council planning officials just recently decided to commission their own report – which they have refused to let St Mirren see – which claims there would be a bigger impact on town centre food stores.

Club chairman Stewart Gilmour said: “Councillors have it within their power to vote to overturn this recommendation from planning officials and I would urge the councillors on the planning board to do just that.

“Although the officials’ recommendation is to approve the new stadium in Greenhill Road, without Love Street being sold to a supermarket operator, the club will not have the money to build this new stadium.

“In a nutshell, if we don’t get approval for a supermarket at Love Street, St Mirren will not exist in Paisley. A condition of our overdraft is that if we don’t have permission to build a supermarket, we have to sell the ground anyway and that is most likely to be for housing. Unfortunately, the value of land for housing is about half what you get for retail and that’s not enough to build a new stadium.

“Our consultants’ retail impact assessment states that a supermarket at Love Street would have a minimal impact on Paisley town centre. In fact, these experts believe that a supermarket at Love Street would bring supermarket shoppers closer to Paisley town centre than they would be shopping elsewhere at the moment.

“Ironically, Love Street is actually closer to the centre of Paisley than the new Morrisons supermarket which councillors have allowed to be built at the back end of the former Anchor Mills site.”

Mr Gilmour added: “I would hope the councillors on the planning board will approve both our applications. If they do, they would not only be voting to save St Mirren, they would be voting to keep a major part of Paisley’s heritage, they would be voting for the tens of thousands of youngsters who attend our football camps and coaching classes in Renfrewshire Council schools and they would be voting to keep something positive and something special for the future.

“What is at stake is something real and something tangible that is good for Paisley and Renfrewshire.

“We appreciate the councillors have a decision to make. If they decide to allow a supermarket to serve a large part of the town – North Paisley, which doesn’t have such a facility, they will be remembered as the people who helped save St Mirren for Paisley, it’s people, it’s heritage and its future.

“It’s important that as many people as possible turn up to show the councillors the depth of feeling for St Mirren there is in the town and that there is a desire for the club to be saved.”

27 Apr, 2005 – SG – No Decision Has Been Made!

Over recent days we have had rumours, counter rumours and *reliable sourced* information hitting the internet suggesting that St Mirren’s planning application for re-zoning the Love Street site for retail purposes has already been denied. We contacted Saints’ Chairman Stewart Gilmour this morning to get the picture that the Club’s Board of Directors have on the situation.

Stewart said, “We have been told by the Council that no decision has been made and that there have been no recommendations forwarded by the Planning Officials at this stage.

“But if anyone out there has any information that they feel they should be telling the Club then please contact me personally, assuming that it comes from a reliable source. I can then only suggest that If I hear nothing then these reports are not coming from a reliable source.

“To be honest I would be very surprised if someone has said something in the Planning Department as they are not allowed to pre-judge.”

We then asked Stewart to clarify the timetable for the remainder of the process. He said, “There is a pre-hearing meeting on May 9th and then the Planning Committee meeting on the 24th of May. We’ll be told about four days before that second meeting what has been recommended by the Planning Officials.

“No matter what recommendations the Planning Officials put forward they will still have to be voted on.”

We finally asked the Chairman if he was still confident of things going in the Club’s favour. He said, “Yes, you’ve got to be. I’ve not seen or heard anything to make me think otherwise.”

08 Mar, 2005 – SG: Proposed Stadium Move Update

CHAIRMAN Stewart Gilmour has confirmed that St Mirren could be forced to sell Love Street – even if the club doesn’t get planning permission for a supermarket.

But that could leave the Club in a position where they wouldn’t have a stadium to play their games.

Mr Gilmour explained that in order to get a £700,000 overdraft from the Clydesdale bank, one of the conditions they had to agree to was that if they don’t get the go-ahead to build a supermarket at Love Street by May 31, the stadium would still have to be sold to pay off their debt.

This particular condition states: “If no progress has been made by 30/11/04 regarding the sale of the ground, the directors must take steps by 31/5/05 to pursue alternative disposal.”

Mr Gilmour explained that the only way the Club can get enough cash to pay off their debts and build a new stadium is to sell St Mirren Park to a supermarket developer. Selling the ground for any other purpose – like housing – would only bring in about half the amount of money the Club would get by selling to a retail operator.

The proposed new Premier League-standard stadium at Greenhill Road would cost around £8 million to build, but land valuation experts say that if Saints’ Love Street ground is sold for housing, the Club would only get around £4.3 million.

However, if Saints get retail planning permission and are able to sell the land to a supermarket operator, the value of the land increases to around £10 million.

If St Mirren doesn’t get the go-ahead to sell their ground to a supermarket operator, the Club would have to ask the football authorities for permission to groundshare. This would mean that for the first time in 128 years St Mirren wouldn’t be playing in Paisley and there are fears that the fan base would decrease and gate receipts fall if Saints are playing their home games at another club.

But Mr Gilmour said the Club would leave no stone unturned in the bid to persuade planning officials and councillors that selling Love Street to a supermarket operator would not only save the Club, but also be a good move for the north end of Paisley.

He commented: “I have said in the past that if we weren’t able to build a supermarket at Love Street – which is the only way to pay our debts and build a new stadium – it would have catastrophic repercussions for the Club.

“But I would rather concentrate on the very positive effect a supermarket and a new stadium would have on the north end of Paisley.

“Not only would people in this part of the town get a much-needed community shopping facility without having to drive miles to a supermarket, it would also lead to job creation and a regeneration of Ferguslie Park and North Paisley.”

St Mirren have lodged two planning applications with Renfrewshire Council – one to build a supermarket at Love Street and one for a new stadium on derelict land at Greenhill Road, Paisley. Renfrewshire Council have said they expect their planning board to decide on the applications in the next two to three months.

17 Jan, 2005 – SG: New Stadium Update

We caught up this afternoon with Saints’ Chairman Stewart Gilmour to clarify the Management team’s contract situation and to get an update on the proposed new stadium move.

Proposed Stadium Update

We’ve now been told by the Renfrewshire Council Planning Department that our applications should be heard in the Spring, which I would presume being either March or April. I’m not unhappy with that as we’ve had terrible trouble trying to get some of the reports back.

We were hoping to have all the reports in by October or November just past but we presently still have one still to be submitted. We’re really working as fast as we can but we are reliant on companies getting back to us with replies in order to conclude the reports.

In Spring the Council will look at our proposal for both sites (Love Street and Greenhill Road) at the same time.

There has been a bit of a swing around in the support of the proposal from within Renfrewshire Council and the Renfrewshire people in general. You rarely hear anyone talking against the proposed move because at the end of the day it makes sense. It makes sense not only for St Mirren Football Club but also for Paisley.

Buyer for the Love Street Site?

We have no contract in place as such but we have had plenty of enquiries from interested parties. Our advisors have assured us that we will not have a problem in selling the Love Street site so I’m confident that once the planning permission is in place that we will have a buyer for the site.

The sale will cover everything. We have a minimum price which will allow us to build a new stadium and clear the debt.

The stadium will be built on a ‘fixed price’ basis.

The Make-up of the Proposed Stadium?

The new stadium will be more than adequate for the SPL. There will not be a danger of St Mirren supporters not being able to get a ticket!

The pitch will also meet the required size for European competition.

Most importantly the whole ground will be enclosed and we will have plenty of room for things like a kids’ area as well as adequate access for disabled fans. For these areas we are always open to suggestions on how best to develop these areas from the people who will have to use them.

02 Nov, 2004 – SG: Update on Proposed New Stadium

We caught up this morning with Saints’ Chairman Stewart Gilmour who brought us up to date with the planning application for the proposed new stadium and he also took out time to answer one or two other queries put forward by the fans.

Planning application update?

It now looks like January before the Council will get around to looking at our planning application. Unfortunately it has taken us longer and the consultation period with the planning department is taking longer on every report than we had hoped. However, there is nothing we can do to speed up the process, we cannot make it go through any quicker.

We’re not particularly concerned about the Bank as they are prepared to allow us to run the ‘supermarket scenario’ to a conclusion. The problem for us is if that conclusion doesn’t result in a planning application consent.

Capacity of the new stadium?

The ground capacity will fall somewhere between 7,000 to 8,000. I’ve heard some fans say that won’t be big enough for a Club of our size, I would say to them, take a look around at the attendances of clubs of a similar size to St Mirren.

We do feel that it has to be an enclosed ground, in other words we have Stands on all four sides of the stadium.

Access for disabled fans at new stadium?

Yes there will be access for disabled fans at the new stadium, without a doubt. We here at St Mirren are very conscious of our disabled supporters and I think we have among the best disabled facilities in the country at St Mirren Park.

I think the choice of locations our disabled fans have at St Mirren Park are pretty good and it would, in my opinion, be very difficult to be any better than that but any suggestions will be taken on board.

Artificial playing surface at new stadium?

I was really disappointed with the playing surface at New Douglas Park on Saturday, in fact I found it no better than the surface at Ferguslie Sports Centre, a surface that has been down for over two years.

I know there have been advancements in the development of these pitches but the one we played on in Saturday was not a good pitch, that is not what can be laid down. The experience has probably knocked further back any thoughts of laying an artificial surface in the proposed new stadium.

There is no question that an artificial playing surface is the financial answer but at the moment it’s not the answer for football.

Toxic waste on proposed site of new stadium?

This has been blown way out of proportion. What was there was a minor inconvenience, it was nothing of any major consequence.

Lack of a traffic survey stopping planning permission?

I would be very interested to find out where this information is coming from because it is all untrue. Anyone who is supplying information like that is only undermining what people are trying to do in their efforts to build a new stadium for St Mirren Football Club.

03 Aug, 2004 – Rumour Rubbish’ – SG

Club Chairman Stewart Gilmour today rubbished rumours regarding asbestos contamination at Saints proposed new stadium location.

Mr Gilmour advised strongly that the rumour was totally unfounded and should not be taken seriously.

30 Jun, 2004 – SG: Q&A Session on Proposed New Stadium

Two weeks ago on the Official Website’s Forum we invited questions from the fans on the proposed stadium move. This morning we caught up with Saints’ Chairman Stewart Gilmour who candidly answered the questions posed.

Several things were confirmed from the Questions and Answer session including,

* The bank has given the Club a deadline to repay it’s debt.
* The new stadium will be SPL and European (UEFA) compliant.
* The Board are looking at having an artificial playing surface in the new stadium.
* Proposals of generating new income to the Club outwith football.
* The likely time scale involved in the building the new stadium.
* And, that all important projected date of when Saints hope to move house………………….

Q. With the SPL criteria being reduced to 6,000 seats, will the capacity of the new stadium be around this mark rather than the 10,000 seats mark?

A. It will be somewhere in between. We certainly need more than 6,000 seats but having said that we definetly don’t need 10,000. It will be somewhere between 7,000 to 8,000 seats.

Q. How soon will work start after planning permission is hopefully given?

A. Very quickly. I would hope that the work would start within 6 months of receiving permission.

Q. How real is the possibility that we could be ground sharing next season?

A. Unlikely, certainly for the upcoming season. For the following season I would say possible but highly unlikely. Any agreement we have to sell Love Street will be on the basis that the buyers take ownership of the stadium where we would stay as tenants until the new ground is ready to be played in.

Q. What are the consequences of planning permission not being given?

A. Absolutely horrific as the bank want their money back. St Mirren must have a decision in place by the beginning of next year, we must either have planning permission and are moving on or we will have to look at an alternative disposal of St Mirren Park. I’m convinced that if the bank seen we have a cast iron plan in place they will wait and let it see out it’s outcome but they wish something positive to get their money back by the beginning of next year. If we can’t get planning permission for a supermarket and new stadium then we will have to look at selling to property developers which will help clear the debt but will be nowhere near enough to build a new ground.

Q. Are there any plans for a special goodbye game?

A. Yes, I’ve no doubt that we will arrange something special as it will be a very emotional day when we leave Love Street.

Q. Will bits of the ground be auctioned off to fans?

A. Absolutely. There are several possibilities but we’ll address them in due course.

Q. What will the configuration of the stadium be (as in stand sizes and orientation – will it be similar to New Broomfield as the artist’s impression suggested)?

A. The configuration of the stadium is the biggest problem because we’re trying to make sure that the stadium is filled in all the way round. It is important that we don’t have open ends, this is something we are addressing at present.

Q. Will there be any terraced sections in the stadium?

A. No, as you’re not allowed terracings in the SPL so there’s no point in building them.

Q. What is the projected cost of the stadium?

A. We’ve got a projected cost which is OK but that was for a 10,000 seated stadium. What we are now trying to do is utilise the money in other areas from the savings which would bring us income in the longer term.

Q. Is there a buyer for Love St on the table?

A. We haven’t got an absolute buyer. We are running the planning application ourselves and if that gets the go ahead from the Council then we won’t have a great deal of difficulty in assuring a buyer.

Q. Is that buyer Morrisons?

A. No.

Q. How much will we make by selling Love St?

A. We have a base price which we expect to get which covers building the new stadium and clearing off the debt.

Q. How much of the debt will be dealt with by the entire plan?

A. I would hope that 100% of the debt would be taken care of but worse case scenario would be 90% of it cleared.

Q. Will any investment be required from outside sources (for example the Council) to make the project work?

A. No. We may well apply to people like Sport Scotland for assistance with the 5-a-side pitches and community areas but that would have nothing to do with clearing the debt and building the new stadium.

Q. Who will have ownership of the stadium when it is all said and done?

A. The stadium will solely belong to St Mirren Football Club.

Q. Will there be any detailed plans made available for public viewing so we can see what’s incorporated inside the bricks and mortar?

A. Because of the proposed changes, to give out detailed plans at the moment would just be silly. We do have detailed plans for a 10,000 seater stadium which is what has been submitted for the planning permission so we’re presently working towards the details for a stadium with less seating, 7,000 to 8,000 seats, and once we ratify that we’ll come back with details.

Q. What do the Board members feel the chances are of the final stumbling block being overcome and planning permission being granted within the time frame outlined (i.e. May 5th)?

A. We had to put in a planning application by May 15th. The planners have since asked us for a few reports, a couple of them being quite lengthy, and I don’t see the planning decision being made until about October.

Q. Have the club any plans on how to best utilise the stadium outwith football activities? Or do they have plans to further investigate this?

A. It’s imperative that we generate income outwith football. We are looking at 5-a-side football pitches which is a big thing, a football academy as well as office and corporate facilities.

Q. What plans are in place to ensure that each of the buildings is utilised seven days a week, maximising revenue raising potential?

A. Maximising revenue is exactly what we are looking at just now. As I’ve said before it’s imperative that we generate income outwith football.

Q. Do we have any plans to invite another club, perhaps a junior club, to sell their home, and plough their money into the building of a co-owned ground where running costs can be split?

A. I don’t think we would want to bring in a co-owner, I don’t see that as a way forward for the moment but there’s nothing to stop a Junior club playing at our new ground as a tenant.

Q. Will the new ground meet the criteria set down for European games, as I would hope in the not too distant future we could be playing in the UEFA Cup again?

A. Size-wise it definetly will. We will also be looking at the situation with astro-turf which would make a big difference to the whole financial set-up. The Dunfermline artificial surface was horrific which has put a lot of people off the idea but we’ll be keeping an eye on how Hamilton’s pitch responds. The good things is we’re going to get sight of Hamilton’s pitch and see how it reacts before we have to commit ourselves to the idea.

Q. When is the earliest that we could expect to move into the new stadium?

A. If all goes well I would expect the move to take place between October 2005 and December 2005.

Q. Are the Club being professionally advised or represented in valuing the Love Street stadium and purchasing Greenhill Road. How does SG feel about the advice given so far?

A. Yes, we are being fully advised by a top Glasgow company. We are happy with the advice and information that we have been given to date.

Q. Is SG satisfied with the expected purchase figure for Love Street being sufficient to pay for the new ground and to clear the debt and if not will he guarantee that no action will be taken on the new ground until an offer is received at that level.

A. Absolutely. We haven’t got the money to start building a new ground until we are actually able to buy out the secured creditors on our old ground so we couldn’t do anything until we actually have a contract in place to buy Love Street.

Q. Will the expected Purchase Figure be fixed by St Mirren once the planning consent is obtained for Love Street. I’m assuming based on the level of debt and quote price for the building job and land purchase.

A. Obviously we’ll try to get as much money as we can for Love Street, the more we can do the better. To be honest on the budgeted figure we had from two years ago the actual new stadium will be, on the terms of kitting it out internally, pretty basic. I would hope that we can get more money from a good sale and raise the standard of the internal fittings, we could also possibly raise the number of 5-a-side pitches that we could put down which will generate more long term income.

Q. Has SG asked Renfrewshire Council if they will support their local club financially in the same way that Highland Council did with Inverness CT for a soft Loan?

A. At the moment Renfrewshire Council are more interested in getting the money we owe them back from us. I have to say that Renfrewshire Council have been very supportive in most things that St Mirren have done. I don’t know how the soft loan is operated with Inverness, I’m not even convinced that will be the case. I’d suggest that you don’t always believe what you read in the papers. I know the Scottish Office isn’t keen on Councils giving money to football clubs in the way of cash so I’m not convinced that there is a soft loan.

Q. Is the new ground being built on Fixed price contacts?

A. It will be. With us looking to change the specification of the new ground we’re not in the position to get prices but it will be on a fixed price contract. There’s no way that we would go forward with an open ended contract.

02 Jun, 2004 – SG – Saints’ Planning Applications for New Stadium

Contrary to some rumours presently floating around St Mirren Football Club have submitted planning applications to the Council. The applications are seeking permission to build a new stadium for Saints on the Greenhill Road site and likewise permission to build a supermarket where St Mirren Park presently stands.

We still have a couple of reports to hand in that go with the applications. We are presently well under way working on an environmental report which the Council requested and that should be handed in within the next two to three weeks.

Once all the reports are submitted to the Council we will be looking to make contact with the fans for a fuller update and feedback.

01 Jun, 2004 – Proposed Stadium Move Update

BUSINESS leaders believe St Mirren’s plan to sell their Love Street ground to a supermarket operator and build a new stadium less than a mile away could spark a regeneration of the north end of Paisley.

They say jobs would be created if the new supermarket and stadium were allowed to be built and also people would be hired to staff the supermarket.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, Liz Cameron said: “The construction of a new supermarket at Love Street and a new football stadium would be a significant economic and social boost for the north end of Paisley.

“Not only would this provide jobs in the construction, running and servicing of the supermarket, it could act as a catalyst for the regeneration of this part of the town and perhaps attract other new businesses to the area.”

The Club needs to sell Love Street to a supermarket operator so they can pay off their crippling debts and build a new stadium.

Saints’ Chairman Stewart Gilmour has revealed that if the new stadium project fails it would have a “catastrophic effect” for the Club.

Saints have lodged planning applications with Renfrewshire Council to build a new stadium and for permission to build a supermarket at Love Street – which if approved – would safeguard the Club’s future.

Planning officials will study the proposal and make a recommendation to the planning committee for the councillors to decide whether the project gets the go-ahead.

Renfrewshire Council’s estates department has already agreed to give St Mirren first option to buy the derelict land at Greenhill Road from the council.

In submitting these applications St Mirren has been asked by the council to provide extensive technical information relating to the new stadium and the supermarket proposal for Love Street and the Club’s planning consultants are carrying out this work.

Liz Cameron added: “A professional football team like St Mirren can be a flagship for the whole of the Paisley area and it is important there is financial stability for the Club to continue to operate successfully.

“A new supermarket at Love Street would not only be an important facility for the growing number of people living in the area, but also for the 5000 workers at Glasgow Airport and the 1000 staff at the new Rolls Royce plant, at Inchinnan.”

St Mirren vice-chairman George Campbell said; “If this project were to get the go-ahead it would mean a fresh start for not only St Mirren, but for the north end of Paisley.

“I believe there are many economic and social benefits to the community in the north end of Paisley and to the town as a whole.”

10 May, 2004 – Planning Applications to be Lodged

ST MIRREN are about to lodge the planning applications – which if approved – would safeguard the Club’s future.

The applications are for permission to build a new stadium at Greenhill Road, Paisley and for a supermarket at the present St Mirren Park, at Love Street. They were submitted to Renfrewshire Council on tomorrow.

Saints need to sell Love Street to a supermarket operator to raise enough cash to help pay off the club’s £1.6 million debt and be able to build a new 10,000-seater Premier league standard stadium.

Club vice-chairman George Campbell said: “There really is no other viable way for the Club to become financially secure. If we cannot raise the money through selling our Love Street ground as a supermarket site then we cannot pay off our debts and build a new stadium.”

Renfrewshire Council has already given St Mirren first option to buy the derelict land at Greenhill Road from them, which would be transformed into a modern football stadium.

But the Club now require the council’s planning committee to give permission to build the stadium and allow a supermarket at Love Street.

In submitting these applications St Mirren has been asked by the council to provide extensive technical information relating to the new stadium and the supermarket proposal for Love Street and the Club’s planning consultants are carrying out this work.

Mr Campbell continued: “This project is not only about safeguarding the future of St Mirren for its supporters and Paisley. There are real benefits to the community both at the north end of Paisley and the town in general.

“We are also planning sporting facilities at the new stadium which could be used by youth and amateur football teams as well as the local community.

“I believe a supermarket at Love Street would provide an excellent facility to the people in the north end as they don’t have local access to this kind of shopping.

“Hundreds of new houses are going to be built in the area and people living there could get to a supermarket on foot.

“There are also the workers at the ever-expanding Glasgow Airport and the Rolls Royce plant at Inchinnan – a supermarket at Love Street would give them a place to do their shopping.

“The development could even attract people back into Paisley instead of going to other supermarkets outside of the town and it gives Buddies more shopper choice.”

He added: “The combination of a new supermarket and the new stadium would be a boost to the local economy with many jobs being created and helping in the regeneration of the Cart Corridor.

“We appreciate there are planning issues here but with goodwill from both sides we could have a positive outcome which would benefit the local community, the local authority, St Mirren and its supporters.”

20 Apr, 2004 – Politicians Back Saints

Paisley North MP Irene Adams and MSP Wendy Alexander are supporting Saints bid to get planning consent for a supermarket at Love Street and build a new stadium in Greenhill Road. The club needs to sell Love Street to a supermarket operator so they can pay off their crippling debts and build a new stadium. Saints’ Chairman Stewart Gilmour has revealed that if the new stadium project fails it would have a ‘catastrophic effect’ for the Club.

The two Labour politicians say that the plan would also benefit the community in the north end of Paisley by providing much-needed shopping facilities for the area especially as 500 new homes are to be built close to the present St Mirren Park and the site of a proposed supermarket. Irene Adams ­ speaking after she and Ms Alexander were shown plans for the new stadium – said, “I¹ve been representing the residents of the North End for over 30 years. It¹s a working community and St Mirren has played a considerable part in helping build its character.

“The plans for St Mirren¹s new stadium are impressive and it is a chance for the club and the residents of the North End and beyond to benefit.”

Wendy Alexander added, “The plans for the new stadium are brilliant – within a few miles of the current stadium and much
better than the current facilities.

“Ideally the current ground would be sold on to a supermarket chain – providing local residents and the future residents of the planned 500 new homes with better shopping amenities for the first time ever. The North End needs these facilities and with the local economy developing around it, the 5000 employees based at Glasgow Airport and 1000 Rolls Royce employees set to move to Inchinnan will be given the option of shopping in the North End of Paisley instead of Braehead or Linwood.”

Saints chairman Stewart Gilmour said, “We appreciate very much the support from the local MP and MSP. We showed them the proposals for the new stadium and explained how important the project is not only to the viability of St Mirren, but also to the community in this part of Paisley.

“Irene and Wendy were very interested in what we had to say and I believe recognised how their constituents, as well as the town in general, would benefit from our proposals.”

06 Apr, 2004 – A Message From the Board

As a board, we had promised to keep the supporters informed of the progress we are making with our new stadium project. It is only in the past few days that there has been any outward sign of the work we have been carrying out over the months since our annual meeting. You may have noticed a drilling rig has been installed to take underground soil samples from the proposed site of our new stadium off Greenhill Road, Paisley. This survey and testing is only one of many reports the Club is being required to undertake by Renfrewshire Council as part of our planning application.

We have appointed a planning consultant – Mappin Planning and Development – to manage both our applications for the new stadium and the change of use of St Mirren Park, Love Street to allow a retail development. These applications will be submitted within the next few weeks.

Renfrewshire Council has already agreed to give St Mirren first option to buy the land we need for a new stadium at Greenhill Road. However, everything hinges on us getting planning approval for the new stadium – which will meet Scottish Premier League requirements – and a change of use to retail development at Love Street.

I have said this many times before, but I will continue to say it – the success of this new stadium project is the only viable alternative to St Mirren facing a financial catastrophe.

And taking a wider perspective of the project, a new stadium at Greenhill Road with the facilities this would provide would be of great benefit to youth football development in the Paisley area, the community in general and, of course safeguard the future of St Mirren FC for the town. A supermarket at Love Street would not only benefit the people living in the north end of Paisley, but would socially and commercially revitalise that part of the town.

We have been asked by the planning department to carry out a lot of work before we submit our application, but we appreciate the planning issues involved and with goodwill from both sides there can be a positive outcome for the council, the community, St Mirren and its supporters.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and continued support.

Stewart G Gilmour – Chairman, on behalf of THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

23 Mar, 2004 – The First Steps

THE proposed new St Mirren stadium would be a great benefit to the community, says club chairman Stewart Gilmour.

For as well as a new ground for Saints – which would satisfy the requirements of the Scottish Premier League – the plans include indoor football pitches, which can be used by the public.

And Mr Gilmour revealed the Club – along with sportscotland – is investigating ways to build a full-sized artificial surface football park beside the new stadium.

This park would be used for football youth development in the Paisley area as well as local youth and amateur teams.

Mr Gilmour said: “Our new stadium project – to sell the present St Mirren Park for a supermarket development and from the proceeds pay off the club’s debt and build a new stadium – is the only viable alternative to the club facing a financial catastrophe.

“But the success of the project would also mean a massive boost for football at all levels in Paisley and the community in general.”

Mr Gilmour was speaking as a drilling rig began to take underground soil samples from the proposed new stadium site in Greenhill Road, Paisley.

The tests are needed as part of St Mirren’s planning application to Renfrewshire Council to build the new stadium.

This application is expected to be lodged with the council – along with an application for a supermarket at Love Street – within weeks.

Renfrewshire Council has already agreed to sell the unused 12.5-acre Greenhill Road site to St Mirren for their new stadium. But the club needs planning permission for their new home and approval to build a supermarket at their present ground.

Mr Gilmour added: “The community in Paisley will have a first-class facility which they can use, the north end of Paisley will be commercially and socially revitalised with a supermarket and a new stadium at Ferguslie.

“And it is not an exaggeration to say St Mirren will be saved from the prospect of administration and the club’s future safeguarded for both its supporters and the town.

“We appreciate the planning issues we have to resolve, but with goodwill from both sides we could have a positive outcome which would benefit the council, the community and the club and its supporters.”

The drilling work being carried out at Greenhill Road is to take soil samples from up to ten metres underground which will give construction experts the geotechnical make-up of the ground and tell them the soil composition to help them design the stadium foundations.

Stewart Gilmour added: “This drilling is the first outward sign of the progress in our bid to have a new stadium built and safeguard the future of St Mirren.”

02 Aug, 2003 – SG on Stadium Move

Some newspapers claimed this morning that St Mirren’s proposed stadium move has been scuppered by the Renfrewshire Council but in a statement produced today by Saints’ Chairman Stewart Gilmour this does not appear to be the case. He said, “This is certainly not the final whistle being blown on the proposal to safeguard the Club’s future by selling St Mirren Park to Morrisons and moving to a new stadium in Ferguslie.

“What is being discussed here is the proposed Renfrewshire Local Plan which had been put out to public consultation some time ago.

“As part of the consultation process, St Mirren had put forward its view that the Love Street stadium should be zoned for retail use and the derelict site off Greenhill Road, in Paisley should be allowed to be used for a new stadium.

“I stress this is not the planning application for a supermarket at Love Street and a new stadium at Greenhill Road which is being discussed.

“It is the document Renfrewshire Council produces as planning policy guidelines. These proposals are being put before councillors on the planning committee, on Tuesday.

“These policy guidelines in a council’s Local Plan can be set aside if an individual planning application justifies it.

“We believe the planning, social, economic and community arguments in favour of St Mirren’s proposal would certainly justify permission being granted.”

15 Jan, 2003 – Morrison’s Update

This morning the St Mirren Board of Directors attended a meeting with representatives of the Morrison’s supermarket chain and, as suggested last week, it is business as usual.

The Club are now looking into the preparation of the legal documentation required as well as scouting around and viewing potential sites for the new stadium.

Chairman Stewart Gilmour clarified the Club’s position, “After today’s meeting I am happy to say that we are in the same position as we were before Morrison’s made a bid to buy the Safeway supermarket chain. Our position with them (Morrison’s) hasn’t changed so we can push on as it’s business as usual.”