Rodney Parade: Outcome of vote 'difficult to gauge' says Dragons chief

Stuart Davies
Newport Gwent Dragons chief executive Stuart Davies

Newport Gwent Dragons chief executive Stuart Davies says he cannot predict the outcome of a vote on a proposed £3.75m take over of the region and Rodney Parade by the Welsh Rugby Union.

Shareholders of Newport rugby club will decide the issue on 9 May with a 75% majority required for approval.

Davies and WRU chief Martyn Phillips met Newport RFC supporters on Monday.

"It's difficult to gauge because we can't be certain how many will attend on the evening," said Davies.

"We don't know how many proxies we will receive and what the mood of the room will be.

"The shareholders are as informed as they can be about what is being proposed and what the consequences are of going one way or the other."

The WRU already owns 50% of the Dragons but plans to take control of the region as well as the stadium.

Davies has previously warned that the Dragons and Newport RFC could face going into liquidation if the deal is not agreed.

The deal on offer would see:

  • The WRU paying £3.75m for Rodney Parade
  • A pledge of £1.5m to improve the venue, including improvements to the pitch, floodlights and stands
  • Benefactors Tony Brown and Martyn Hazell writing off 84% of loans and paid a total of £900,000 between them
  • Newport RFC receiving £600,000 and given greater independence.

Davies said the meeting on 24 April was intense, but felt the mood was more positive since the full details of the proposed takeover had been made public.

He also claimed that, when asked, a large number of people present confirmed they were Newport RFC shareholders and eligible to vote.

Martyn Hazell
Martyn Hazell is currently chairman of Newport Gwent Dragons and is part of the Pro Rugby Wales board

Rugby has been played at Rodney Parade since 1877, but the ground requires improvements.

It is currently used by the Dragons, Newport RFC and tenants Newport County AFC football club, who play in League Two of the Football League.

Davies, a former Wales international and captain, felt the meeting was better informed than those he had attended before.

"The period that followed the announcement, before we could issue the information, I think that period was full of rumour and speculation as to what alternatives might exist," he added.

"From a Newport perspective there was probably a view of the 'can we explore going alone' option.

"There was not an awful lot of focus on that (at the latest meeting).

"This is not about plan A or option A or option B, this boils down to a single proposal and the consequences of supporting it or not supporting it.

"There will not be any further meetings with the stakeholders ahead of the night in question, but, between now and then, I will certainly be looking to keep the issues alive, make sure the key issues are understood so that there is no room for complacency or doubt when it comes to the night in question and that we have a good turn out."

WRU 'will want Dragons to succeed' - Jones

Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones believes the WRU will do all in their power to make of a success of the team if the takeover goes ahead.

Jones said: "The conversations and meetings I've been involved in - they'll (WRU) want this to work.

"They'll want this to be 'look what we've done to the Dragons'.

"They're not about failure. I'm convinced of that."

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