Plymouth Argyle director Simon Hallett gives £4.1m for new stand at Home Park

Home Park
The new stand at Home Park has not yet progressed beyond the planning phase

Plymouth Argyle director Simon Hallett has invested £4.1m into the club to help finance the building of a new grandstand at Home Park.

The Plymouth-born USA-based businessman has increased his stake in the League Two club to 41.9%, making him the second-largest shareholder after owner and chairman James Brent.

Hallett will be repaid over the next 30 years at a rate of 'less than 3%'.

Argyle had plans for their Mayflower grandstand approved back in 2013.

All the loans currently owed to Hallett, Brent and directors Tony Wrathall have been turned into equity in the club, reducing Argyle's debt level.

"It's a labour of love for me," Hallett, who has supported the club for over 50 years, told BBC South West.

"The new investment made by me is clearly not made on commercial terms, it's been made on very soft terms, so it's mine and my wife's contribution to Plymouth Argyle and towards the city of Plymouth.

Simon Hallett
Simon Hallett is chief investment officer of a US-based global investment management firm

"The return of our money is spread over 30 years, I'm 61, my life expectancy is 81, so I don't expect this money to be repaid in my lifetime," added Hallett, who says he has no ambition to become the club's chairman.

No date has yet been set for work to start on the new grandstand, but Brent hopes it will go ahead by the start of 2018, if planning applications are approved later this year, and be ready by 2020.

However, plans to build a 10-screen cinema, ice rink and a hotel on the site have been shelved.

"There was an alternative development in the city centre that attracted the restaurants out of Home Park," Brent told BBC South West.

"The difference between that scheme and this scheme is this one is not dependent on enabling development, it's being funded through additional investment from Simon Hallett and his wife."

Brent added: "It creates an environment for our existing fans that is modern and 21st century. The old grandstand is wonderful but very dated and doesn't work for modern purpose.

"It creates an environment where we can bring new fans in and it creates a revenue stream which will enable us to invest back into the club and the first team.

"The estimates are that once the conferencing and banqueting is up and running we'll be generating additional net income of over a million pounds a year at this level, and when we're in the Championship £2m a year, that's every year and inflation-proofed, so it makes a huge difference to what we can do for the football club. "

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