With the club’s dire financial situation and a potential move away from Valley Parade the hot topics of discussion among City supporters, T&A reporter Simon Parker asks joint-chairman Mark Lawn the questions the fans want answering.

SP: Let’s start with the obvious question. Are the club any nearer in succeeding in reducing their Valley Parade overheads?

ML: It’s at a delicate stage but we are moving forward.

Commercially, we’ve signed a contract and he’s (Gordon Gibb) got every right to want to stick to that. But then we can’t stay at Valley Parade, that’s a fact.

The offer of staggering payments we’ve put to both landlords is that they will be far better off if we get to the Championship. They won’t be far off what they’re getting now if we are in League One; if we reach the Premier League, they’ll be smoking cigars.

SP: Obviously these negotiations have to be settled quickly, one way or the other. Have you got a specific deadline day in mind?

ML: I feel that we’ve got to get this done by the end of the month, really. Mid-June is the maximum point but I’d like to have it sorted out before then. If we can’t be at Valley Parade for some reason, we need to inform the Football League.

SP: You have kept the Football League updated with developments. Do you sense any sympathy with the club’s current dilemma?

ML: Their new chairman said at the last chairmen’s annual conference that the league cannot keep going as it is now. He thinks that by 2015 or so, the league could be as much as £1.5 billion in debt.

We’re not in debt right now but we’ll be heading that way unless we do something about it. We know what’s going to happen if things don’t change and we’re trying to be pro-active.

If you’ve got a millstone round your neck, do you try swimming with it – or do you cut the rope?

SP: Is it true that the club have been talking to an administrator?

ML: There’s not been an administrator involved but we have taken legal advice, as you’ve got to do. At present, we’re okay but we can see problems looming quickly.

SP: Presumably you would lose the sponsorship deals currently tied to Valley Parade if you had to leave. How would this affect you financially?

ML: Funnily enough, a few of them have talked about staying with us if we have to move. I’ll be speaking to the Bulls, obviously, about what happens on our matchdays. We wouldn’t be moving to Odsal unless it was financially better.

But while we’re just saying Odsal at the moment, we haven’t talked to anybody else yet. Bradford’s metropolitan area is massive and there are other stadia.

SP: I understand that City would not be allowed to use the terraces at Odsal because the club have been in the top two divisions for more than three consecutive seasons since the Taylor report. How would you get round this?

ML: There are 5,600 seats there already and we own 25,000. We own the Valley Parade seats, floodlights, the generator, the lifts, the sound system and anything else that is loose. If we go from here it will be an empty stadium, not a football stadium. Those seats could be replaced back at Odsal.

SP: City sold around 6,000 season tickets during December. How are those supporters affected by what might happen and when will tickets go back on sale?

ML: That’s a question that’s unfeasible for me to answer until we decide where we’re going and what we’re doing. But we understand those loyal fans and we’ll make sure we do the best for them.

We need to get things sorted out so we can put season-ticket sales back on again. You cannot buy one at the moment. It’s not fair for me to sell a ticket unless you know where we’re going to be.

SP: You have said the manager’s situation cannot be sorted out until the club’s position is resolved. But you have allowed Peter Jackson to draw up the retained list and target new players?

ML: If we sign any players now, we’re signing players any manager would want. He’s identified them but the ones we’re talking to anybody would be looking at.

SP: Are these players put off because of the uncertainty surrounding City?

ML: I think some of them would like to know where we are playing. And so would we.

SP: What will happen to Valley Parade itself should City decide to move out?

ML: It’s not our responsibility once we’ve gone but you’ve just got to look at Thrum Hall. When Halifax rugby left it, I think they had a call-out every week for a fire or vandalism because someone had broken in. That could happen here quite easily without the security. It will be a shell if we go.

SP: Do you have any idea how much it would cost to clear the site for redevelopment?

ML: We talked to the Council and apparently Valley Parade is built on contaminated land. They say it would cost £3.5m to get (the stadium) down and clear it up. The land would be worth £2.5m but those are only their figures, not mine.

SP: And what about the knock-on effect for the city centre and Manningham itself?

ML: Bradford Council say they are doing Manningham up so they certainly don’t want to be leaving the stadium empty. And who is the biggest visitor attraction in the area?

People come into the city, drive down the main arterial route on Canal Road and see the stadium. What are they going to see if we’ve gone?

SP: There are some big decisions to be made. But how tough would it be to walk away from City’s home?

ML: I know the history of this football club and the sentiment that surrounds this stadium with the fire. It may mean making some harsh decisions but if we go into the Conference while we are here then we do not exist. So let’s sort something out now so we make sure that the club can carry on.