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Bristol Rugby to ground-share with Bristol City FC as new Aston Gate plans are revealed

13 February 2013

  • Bristol Rugby to ground-share with Bristol City after 2015 season
  • Middleton - "When you look at the plans for a 26,000-seater stadium, it’s fantastic"
Bristol Rugby's new stadium Ashton Gate

Photo: Bristol City FC

Bristol Rugby have announced their plan to ground-share with Bristol City FC, as the football club revealed plans to develop Ashton Gate into a 26,000-seater stadium.

This move comes after the original planning permission for a new ground at Ashton Vale was turned down, with the site said to be “too small to fit its plans”.

Bristol City will continue to contest the council’s decision, but alternative plans are underway for a £40,000 revamp of Ashton Gate. RFU Championship club Bristol Rugby are keen to share a stadium with the football club, whether at Ashton Gate or Ashton Vale. 

The club will remain at the Memorial Stadium until at least the start of the 2014/15 season, with the Ashton Gate revamp to be completed by 2016/17. 

Booy - "It represents a bright future for our club"

Bristol Rugby Chairman, Chris Booy, said: “We can confirm that Bristol Rugby will in the future share a home with Bristol City. 

“We now know that in the foreseeable future there will either be a new stadium at Ashton Vale or a redeveloped multipurpose stadium at Ashton Gate. 

"I am therefore now able to confirm that it is our intention to ground-share with the football club in the future. 

“Whichever outcome, new stadium or a redeveloped one, this is an exciting project to be linked with and represents a bright future for our club. 

"It makes tremendous economic sense and allows us to invest more money in the football and rugby clubs." 

Bristol Rugby head coach Liam Middleton is also fully behind the plans to move to Ashton Gate, and believes the high-specification Desso GrassMaster pitch that is to be used, will suit his team’s style of play. 

He told the Bristol Post: “We knew that we would be at the Mem next season – but there was always the question of where we would go from there.” 

“Seasons go so quickly – the season just flies past – and, before we know it, it will be this time next season and we’ll be looking at moving on to the next stadium. 

“I think it’s exciting. When you look at the plans for a 26,000-seater stadium, it’s fantastic, as is a Desso pitch. That will produce a very fast track, which suits the way we want to play the game. 

“We’re pretty excited about it but there’s obviously a lot of rugby to be played before then.”