Gibson lauds Ridley arrival

PUBLISHED: 10:57 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 20:19 03 May 2010

ST Albans City Chairman John Gibson has hailed the arrival of former Weymouth chairman Ian Ridley to the board of the club and is now stepping up the bid for a new ground. Gibson is delighted with the impact Ridley has already made at the club already and

ST Albans City Chairman John Gibson has hailed the arrival of former Weymouth chairman Ian Ridley to the board of the club and is now stepping up the bid for a new ground. Gibson is delighted with the impact Ridley has already made at the club already and the Mail on Sunday chief football writer brings many vital qualities to his new role. Gibson said: "Ian has been like a breath of fresh air around the place. He has lots of ideas and everybody else is feeding off that. He brings a wealth of experience in terms of knowledge of the game and he took Weymouth from nowhere to where they are now." Gibson is hoping for council support as he looks to relocate the club to ensure they can achieve their ambitions. The City chairman has had offers from a number of different companies to help fund the move and he is determined to leave Clarence Park. He said: "It is essential for the development of this club that we move grounds and we have had offers from casinos and strip clubs but I am not going to even suggest that we would get funded by sources of that ilk. It is no secret though that Luton Town are looking to have a casino within their new stadium and as a club we have to consider ways of financing our move." Work will have to be carried out on the floodlights at Clarence Park to bring them up to the required standard for Conference level, and the club also have to have a medical room and improve the press area. Plans are in place to carry out the work and Gibson is confident that the current stadium will pass the ground grading which must be achieved by April 1. The chairman said: "We were visited by a Conference representative on Saturday and they know we need to upgrade the floodlights. We are looking at movable floodlights because we can get a grant for the work but if we move to a new ground we would then not get another grant down the line. There are problems with movable systems though. We also need to make a few minor adjustments to other areas of the ground." Gibson though does not want to commit to spending a fortune on the current ground when he knows that to meet their ambitions the club needs a new home. Gibson feels the club are currently losing out on opportunities such as hosting Arsenal Ladies and Watford Reserves because of the facilities at Clarence Park. He said: "The playing surface is very good but I feel that Arsenal Ladies and Watford Reserves do not come here anymore because of the facilities on offer. The vandalism has meant the windows on the changing rooms have been boarded up and there is a lack of daylight. The council want us to move but we need to think about where to. There is a possible site at the bottom of the M10 roundabout." The rapid improvement of the club on the pitch under the guidance of Colin Lippiatt has led everyone to consider how City would cope in the Conference and Gibson feels Ian Ridley will have a big role to play. He said: "If we do manage to get into the Conference then Ian Ridley will prove his worth. It didn't work out for him at Weymouth but he lives in St Albans and if someone with his level of expertise offers to help out you are never going to refuse. He can help us raise the profile of this club.

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