Need to Know on this Story is that Marco Cereste is the Leader of Peterborough City Council which decided to buy the Peterborough United stadium, and also the Chairman of the company that sponsors the POSH shirts. So you might say he treads a fine line when it comes to handing out Council favours.
18:18 Monday 13th June 2011
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
ANDY BURROWS: Can we talk about the ground? Because the Moyes End is due to be redeveloped this season, isn’t it? Will that be out of action for the entire season?
DARRAGH MCANTHONY: So far as I’m hearing yes. They start doing it I think in October, so we are going to lose most of the season. I can’t have a go at the Council because at the end of the day they’re going to build us a fit-for-purpose new stand. Onbiously we’re concerned, because we’re going to lose probably well over a million pounds with that stand being out of action. So we are negotiating at the moment. I’ve asked them for a .. obviously to pay no rent, and a contribution towards our season. So we’ll see where that gets us. We’re still negotiating, even though the season’s going to start in eight weeks time.
08:20 Tuesday 14th June 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: We’re talking to Council Leader Marco Cereste. Earlier Marco we were talking to Darragh McAnthony about London Road, and discussing the development of the Moyes End. He was saying he’s in discussions with you because it’s going to cost the Club about £1 million to close Moyes End for all of next season, and he was looking for rent reduction, or free rent for next season. What’s the latest on those negotiations?
MARCO CERESTE: I’ve no idea Paul. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t get involved in every single thing that the Council does, and you know, if Darragh is in negotiation, well he’s in negotiation. I’m sure that the Council will be reasonable and sensible as it is with everybody else as well.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. At the moment, what do Peterborough United pay in rent?
MARCO CERESTE: I think it’s about five hundred a year.
PAUL STAINTON: Yeah. And redevelopment is going to close that stand all of next season, so they’re going to lose about a million pounds.. If you give them the rent back, you’d lose half a milion. So you’ve got to meet in the middle somewhere, don’t you think?
MARCO CERESTE: I don’t know, honestly, I don’t know. Because you know I don’t know anything about it, so you’re asking me to comment on something I don’t know ..
PAUL STAINTON: Do you think it would be fair though, a reduction?
MARCO CERESTE: Well I mean I think if they genuinely are going to lose a million pounds, then certainly we will be sitting round a table talking to them. But I suppose somebody could say well, the stand at the moment seats .. holds 19,000 people. The crowd never ever ever gets to 19,000. How are they going to lose a million quid?
PAUL STAINTON:: It’s a fair question. Ian in Farcet’s got a question as well. He says, can you ask Mr Cereste why Moyes End can’t be used up until demolition, because it’s not due until the end of the year.
MARCO CERESTE: I honestly don’t know. I don’t get involved in the day-to-day dealings of the you know the redevelopment. I don’t know why they’ve decided .. I didn’t know it was closed. (LAUGHS) You know.
PAUL STAINTON: (LAUGHS)
MARCO CERESTE: I mean you know I mean the reality of it is that as you know I’m I can’t get involved in all …
PAUL STAINTON: People just presume you see. You’ve got your hand on your tiller of everything.
MARCO CERESTE: Absolutely everything of everything. And it’s great that they do. And you know I probably might know far too much and get involved in far too much. But I really don’t .. no I’m sure that if it’s closed there’ll be a good reason for it.But they need to talk to the people who are responsible for that, and are dealing with it. I mean you know only if it gets really difficult and out of order does it escalate to me. So .. because I don’t know about it it probably means that they’re having a sensible conversation.
PAUL STAINTON: Good stuff. Well Marco, thank you for coming on this morning. (LAUGHS) He’s not in charge of everything you see. There you go. From the horse’s mouth.
08:11 Friday 17th June 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: Earlier we spoke to Paul Froggatt. He’s the representative for all the supporters’ groups. He’s worried that the Stand isn’t the Council’s top priority. (TAPE)
PAUL FROGATT: The Stand has come essentially from Government grants to build the STEM Centre, and in our view the STEM Centre has then become the priority build there, the priority design and build. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well joining us now in the studio to discuss all of this and try and clear a lot of the issues up is Councillor Matthew Dalton, Cabinet Member for Communications at Peterborough City Council. Quite a few questions need answering here I think Matthew. First of all, who’s in charge of the project? Which councillor is in charge of this project? Because I presumed it was Marco Cereste, but you heard from the clip there, he know nothing.
MATTHEW DALTON: Marco Cereste is in charge of this project.
PAUL STAINTON: Marco Cereste is in charge of the project?
MATTHEW DALTON: Absolutely.
PAUL STAINTON: He knows nothing about it.
MATTHEW DALTON: The Leader is in charge of it. I think where the confusion perhaps lies previously was Marco was under the impression you were asking about very specific negotiations, rather than who was in charge of the overall decision making process, and the strategic direction of ..
PAUL STAINTON: Well if he’s in charge of the project, surely he knows about the negotiations, doesn’t he?
MATTHEW DALTON: My understanding is he does know about the negotiations. I simply think this was a ..
PAUL STAINTON: What’s going on then?
MATTHEW DALTON: I simply think this was a misunderstanding in the studio between the two of you. He doesn’t know precisely the figures involved in the negotiation.
PAUL STAINTON: I didn’t ask him for precise figures. I asked him if he knew what was going on in the negotiations. Broad brush strokes would have been better. I’ll play the clip again. (TAPE)
MARCO CERESTE: I’ve no idea Paul. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t get involved in every single thing that the Council does, and you know, if Darragh is in negotiation, well he’s in negotiation. I’m sure that the Council will be reasonable and sensible as it is with everybody else as well. .. honestly, I don’t know. Because you know I don’t know anything about it, so you’re asking me to comment on something I don’t know .. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: You’re telling me you’re sure he would know about these negotiations. He’s sayin he knows nothing about the negotiations.
MATTHEW DALTON: What I can confirm is that Marco Cereste is fully abreast of what’s going on at the football club. He is not however conducting the negotiations for the Council.
PAUL STAINTON: Who is?
MATTHEW DALTON: I think what’s important .. the officers in the Business Rates team are conducting the operation, the negotiations.
PAUL STAINTON: So Marco knows nothing about it.
MATTHEW DALTON: He does know about it. Absolutely he knows about it. And he .. but what I think what’s important is that the Council is absolutely committed to making sure we get a balanced solution for this. Because I’ve heard the representations that you’ve just played, and others in the newspaper. And obviously the football club is concerned they’re going to lose some funding, because of the redevelopment of that section of the stadium. And we understand that, and we’re acting as a prudent local authority, maing sure we come to a balanced solution.
PAUL STAINTON: Will there be a rent reduction?
MATTHEW DALTON: I’m not going to say there’ll be a rent reduction or not. I simply don’t know if there’ll be a rent reduction, because like Marco Cereste, I’m not directly involved in the negotiations.
PAUL STAINTON: Should we speak to the officers then? Well we did try and speak to various people, and nobody wanted to come on.
MATTHEW DALTON: I don’t think it would be appropriate. As you’d recognise for any commercial transaction with a business in the city, for us to come on and talk about specific figures at this stage .. when those figures are available, of course, you can have those figures.
PAUL STAINTON: Right. If they do get a rent reduction, where does that leave you guys? Because you’ve had to take out a loan to buy the stadium. Somebody’s got to pay the interest. Where does it leave us? Because we’re the taxpayers.
MATTHEW DALTON: You’re quite right. And you made the point just a moment ago that the representations we’re having from residents on this are balanced. Some people like myself are big fans of the football club, and want to see the football club flourish, and so obviously want to see them have a rent reduction. However, on the flip side, we’re in very austere times, and you’d have to have your head in the sand not to realise that the books of the Council, as of the country, are in very difficult situations. And so there needs to be a balance struck. I wouldn’t like to prejudge the negotiations, but perhaps a small rent reduction, but by no means a total rent reduction might be appropriate. But it’s not for me to decide the figures involved.
PAUL STAINTON: The other big problem here is people are very worried about this development. We heard from Paul Froggatt earlier this morning. Originally they were told there would be four thousand seats in the Moyes End Stand. Now they’re told actually the STEM Centre’s going to be a bit bigger, we’ll fit in some seats. We’ll get in about two and a half thousand. This is a club that we want to go forward. We want to be a successful Championship club, perhaps even one day a Premiership club. Sticking a few seats around a STEM Centre and reducing the capacity is not the way forward, is it?
MATTHEW DALTON: Well we all wanted that new section of the stadium to be rebuilt. And there are only certain ways within the financial climate we’re in at the moment to get that build. And obviously using the leverage of the STEM Centre was the way to move that project forward. And that’s what the Council did. You will realise, as will all of your listeners, that money doesn’t grow on trees, particulartly at the moment. And we’ve used the opportunity to leveraging Government funding and funding from a STEM operator in addition to the funding that the Council’s putting in for specifically for the building of the stadium bit of that centre.
PAUL STAINTON: So you promised the fans a 19,000 capacity stadium. How are you going to achieve that. Are you going to put the capacity in the other stands, when you redevelop them?
MATTHEW DALTON: The way I understand the figures at the moment, I would imagine that the rebuild of London Road would be a similar number to the Moyes End, otherwise the stadium would look unbalanced. You would then look at a much larger scale main stand. But, you know, the main stand redevelopment is the last section of the redevelopment, and so yes, if you want to get the capacity up to 19,000, it doesn’t take a degree in mathematics to work out that would have to be a much bigger stadium.
PAUL STAINTON: When does the Moyes End close, and why?
MATTHEW DALTON: The pre-demolition work for the Moyes End will actually begin in the next week. So the demolition of the Moyes End will be subsequent to that, but the pre-demolition works will be ..
PAUL STAINTON: Will it be the whole of the football season it’s closed? Will it be some of next season?
MATTHEW DALTON: My understanding is that the Moyes End will be closed for the whole of next season, and the aim is to have it open for the start of the subsequent season. But that isn’t being held to hard and fast. That’s the aim.
PAUL STAINTON: Twelve months is a long time to build a stand. Walter in Peterborough says, who’s doing the building work? because when Blackpool got promoted to the Premiership, they’d half of a new stand up within weeks. Who’s doing the ..
MATTHEW DALTON: I don’t know who the contractor is.
PAUL STAINTON: OK. So that’s going to be closed for at least a year, possibly more. Have you had to pay any more towards the STEM centre, because of a lack of Government funding, or have you got the £2 million that you earmarked?
MATTHEW DALTON: The £2 million from the Council is the funding for the project. No more and no less.
PAUL STAINTON: Right. So you’ve not had to put in any extra money for that?
MATTHEW DALTON: No.
PAUL STAINTON: No. And can you guarantee, the fans listening to this this morning, that we are going to get, in the future, a stadium that we can be proud of, a real community stadium, with a capacity of 19,000, that will take us into the Championship and keep us in the Championship, and be able to financially sustain that level of football in the city?
MATTHEW DALTON: What I would say to that is that the City Council, starting from the Leader, all across the Cabinet and all the Members, including the officers, are absolutely committed to the football club. We want to make sure the football club is very very successful. We want to see a Premiership club in this city, and we want to see a brand new community stadium in this city. I’m not going to sit here today and tell you the capacity. It would be ridiculous.
PAUL STAINTON: You’ve already promised 19,000. That’s what you promised.
MATTHEW DALTON: I’m not .. well ..I said.
PAUL STAINTON: You’re saying it’s not going to be that.
MATTHEW DALTON: I didn’t promise 19,000. I don’t know the specific comments of others beforehand. If that is the case, then I accept what you’re saying. But I won’t put my ..
PAUL STAINTON: Are you saying then it could be less.
MATTHEW DALTON: I would like to see a stadium of that size. I don’t know specifically what others have said previously, and so I’m not going to pin myself to it. I would like to see a stadium of that size.. and .. look, the fact is that we have just bought that football stadium. We are putting a brand new stand in in the next twelve months. If the City Council wasn’t committed to Peterborough United Football Club, none of those things would be happening. And that’s the final thing I’d like to reiterate.
PAUL STAINTON: Can we just confirm from all the figures as well that the total spend so far out of Peterborough City Council’s coffers on this project is £10.6 million now?
MATTHEW DALTON: I don’t have the figure to hand.
PAUL STAINTON: Well £8.6 million to buy it ..
MATTHEW DALTON: I don’t have ..
PAUL STAINTON: .. £2 million you said you’ve just put in.
MATTHEW DALTON: Well yes. I know the figure to buy it was in the region of £8 million. That’s off the top of my head. I don’t have that in front of me, so .. your figures would seem broadly correct.
PAUL STAINTON: So we’ve spent £10.6 million at the moment.
MATTHEW DALTON: Well technically we won’t have spent it, but it is earmarked for spend, you’re quite right.
PAUL STAINTON: Listen, thank you for coming on this morning Matthew, and taking the flak when others wouldn’t come on this morning. We did ask a number of people to come on the show this morning.