Supporters' club left out in cold by stadium

Kelvin Windsor.
Kelvin Windsor.
There's no place like home.

However, for the Otago Rugby Supporters' Club, a place to call home is becoming an increasing struggle.

Chairman Kelvin Windsor said several factors were holding the club back from finding a permanent home and management at its desired base at Forsyth Barr Stadium did not seem interested.

''They're not playing ball. They're not willing to accommodate,'' he said.

The club moved away from Carisbrook, shortly after the stadium shut down, to a home at the Cadbury social club.

However, this was always seen as a temporary home for the proud club and with internal policies within the venue, they may have to relocate soon.

The club is trying to negotiate a deal at the University club near the stadium, but the ideal home, inside the stadium, seems too big a thing to ask.

Mr Windsor said the supporters' club and the Otago Rugby Football Union had been in contact with the sales manager at Dunedin Venues Management Ltd and, for reasons he did not understand, it did not seem interested.

The DVML communications manager, Jo Scully, said that sales manager Craig McGregor had been through a thorough process with the supporters' club, but to date no agree-ment had been found.

She acknowledged DVML chief executive Darren Burden had not been involved to this date, but he was inviting the club to discuss the matter directly with him should it have any further concerns.

''To date, I have not been approached by the Otago Rugby Supporters' Club. There are still spaces within the stadium available for commercial hire and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss a mutually beneficial arrangement with the club,'' Mr Burden said.

The club has a rich history of supporting Otago rugby. It had more than 800 members in the late 1990s when Otago was a force in domestic rugby.

Even after parts of the terraces were removed and the team started to underperform, the club still managed to house between four and five hundred members when Carisbrook was closed down.

Mr Windsor felt it was important for the club to be located close to the stadium, as it was a good place for players and fans to interact after the game.

''I think more people would come back to the game [if its base was close by].''

Mr Windsor was hopeful stadium management realised soon what an asset the club could be to Otago Rugby.

- John McKenzie

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