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Bradford Park Avenue stadium dream in tatters as land sold off
Bradford Park Avenue’s long-term plans to move to a new 20,000 seat stadium are in tatters after the site was sold by a receiver to satisfy a debt owed by club owner Bob Blackburn’s property company Kelvic Holdings.
The sale of the 36-acre Phoenix Park in Thornbury for an undisclosed sum appears to have scuppered the historic club’s dreams of returning to the Football League as its current Bradford Council-owned Horsfall Stadium home is not up to the required standard.
A finance company forced the sale of the Phoenix Park site to settle a debt owed by Mr Blackburn’s company Kelvic Holdings and Development Ltd Kelvic Holdings, which, according to official financial reports, owes more than £84,000 to its creditors, owned the Phoenix Park site.
The football club is also nearly £304,000 in the red, but Mr Blackburn stressed to the Telegraph & Argus that was money owed to him and his fellow directors, John Edward Dean and Alan Kevin Ainsworth, and insisted that the club was not in any financial trouble.
He added that the Phoenix Park site had to be sold “because of the financial climate and due to the cost of his divorce settlement”.
“It had to be given to receivers to dispose of it,” he said.
“I am going through a divorce at the moment.
“We (Bradford Park) will stay where we are. The receiver was appointed to pay debts off and it was the wise thing to do so creditors got their money, but I can assure you the club is not in the red.
“Any deficit on the balance sheet is what me and the other two directors put in to keep it running. The club is doing really well on and off the field and it is business as usual.”
Creditors have also lodged a ‘winding up petition’ at Birmingham’s District Registry against Kelvic and the next hearing is due on Thursday.
Receiver Mark Beesley, of Beesley and Company Insolvency Practitioners confirmed to the T&A that he was appointed by creditors on October 21 to sell the Phoenix Park site.
“The finance company was saying it needed its money back which was secured on this land,” Mr Beesley said.
“When Kelvic did not meet its obligations to the finance company, it used the security on the Pudsey (Phoenix Park) land to get it back.
“The land was sold and is no longer part of Bradford Park Avenue.”
Mr Blackburn is listed by Companies House as the company director of Kelvic Holdings and Development Ltd.
He became the chief executive of Bradford Park Avenue in 2007 when he purchased the majority shareholding from then club vice-president Frank Thornton.
Speaking at the time of his appointment, he said that he would be in a position to retire within the next five years and wanted to put something back into the community and raise the profile of the club.
Revealing the purchase of Phoenix Park in February 2008, Mr Blackburn said it was proposed to put a large stadium on the site.
He said at the time: “A 20,000-seat stadium would also enable the team to grow into the Football League. We are not letting the grass grow under our feet with this one.”
He also declared that his company Kelvic Holdings was to pay for the construction of the stadium, although he hoped to tap into some Government funding and receive help from the Football Foundation.
Since then the only development to take place on the site was the La Liga Soccer Centre.
But speaking last year Mr Blackburn insisted the stadium plan was still alive.
He said: “We want the stadium to be for the city of Bradford and hold local cup finals there as well as other non-football events.”