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Fulham Riverside Stand expansion to start in 2016?

It's being reported that Fulham will kick off this construction project after the 2015-2016 season.

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The expansion of the Riverside Stand has been in the works for some time. Fulham received approval for the plan in 2013 and even did some low level work to prepare for the project. With their relegation however, it remained to be seen if the construction would actually take place.

The plan would expand the capacity of Craven Cottage to 30,000. It would also greatly expand the ability to entertain VIP clients. Having been on the Craven Cottage tour and having experienced the VIP areas of more modern stadiums, I can say that Fulham lags far behind in that area. The atmosphere of the Cottage is hard to match, but in terms of revenue generation they could do much better. In the Premier League, with TV money evenly split and prize money for finishing hire mostly a rounding error, match day and sponsorship revenue are the ways to spend more and not run afoul of FFP rules. Having a place for VIP's to spend money and a place to entertain big sponsors, is a good step towards increasing that revenue.

What remains to be seen is: what happens if Fulham aren't in the Premier League after the 2015-2016 season? Promotion this year is a long shot. While I believe Fulham will be one of the more favored teams going into next season, anything can happen in the long Championship slog. The dates given is so far in the future that the team could easily back out if things don't look good next year. Is it really worth investing that much in a stadium for a team stuck in the Championship?

On the brightside however, if Fulham can reclaim their spot in the topflight and finish this expansion; they will go a long way to creating a sustainable midtable side. While 30,000 fans is not a huge number, that many fans in London generate more revenue than the same amount of fans in other areas. For that reason alone, I have my fingers crossed that this all comes to fruition.

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