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Ron Gourlay: West Brom stadium sale rumours 'categorically untrue'

Rumours West Brom could sell their stadium or their training base are 'categorically untrue' according to chief executive Ron Gourlay.

The Hawthorns
The Hawthorns

Earlier this year, following confirmation that owner Guochuan Lai had taken a £4.95 million loan out of the club to put into another of his businesses - rumours began to surface that The Hawthorns could potentially be sold in the future.

In a bid to make sure this did not happen, supporters went to Sandwell Council to explore the idea of making the ground an Asset of Community Value - with similar steps being taken with other grounds in England in recent years.

Now Gourlay has addressed the issue in the latest Albion Assembly last month - and insisted the speculation is untrue, while adding the club would not object to a group applying for the ground to become an ACV.

Minutes published by the club this week state: "RG then addressed fan concerns regarding the club’s accounts, as well as external speculation around the sale of the stadium and/or training ground. RG stated the club is in the process of responding to queries raised by Shareholders For Albion (S4A) and confirmed he expects the £4.95m loan owed by Wisdom Smart Corporation Limited to be repaid, with interest, by December 31, 2022.

"He also stated that rumours the club is looking to sell the training ground and/or The Hawthorns are categorically untrue and would not happen. RG added the club would not object to a group applying for the stadium to become an Asset of Community Value (ACV)."

Earlier in the meeting Steve Bruce became the first West Brom manager to attend an Albion Assembly meeting, discussing the transfer window and start of the season with supporters.

Elsewhere, Gourlay updated the assembly on season ticket sales - revealing that almost 25 per cent of season ticket purchases came from under 18s, with the kids for a quid scheme also being well received alongside the new family area.

He explained that the club was still trying to bring in non-executive directors onto the board - and plans to appoint a Director of Football Operations remains in place.

Albion's women's team is set to get an increase in their playing budget and further assistance off the pitch - with Gourlay committing to help the women's team continue to grow in the coming years.

On the issue of televised games on Sky - Gourlay explained to the assembly that he expects Albion to be on TV as much as they were last season.

Last season supporters vented their frustration at the number of games being moved for Sky - but Gourlay said until the current deal between Sky and the EFL comes to an end next year, it is out of the club's hands.

Gourlay also stated that requests for fan involvement on the board are still being considered - before reaffirming his commitment to greater communication with the fan base, through the assembly and other supporters gatherings, as well as media briefings.

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