Exclusive: Mark Campbell reveals his ambitious plans for Sunderland's Stadium of Light
Mark Campbell has revealed his ambitious plans for the Stadium of Light - which would have seen Sunderland’s home ground reach a capacity of 55,000.
In the second part of his exclusive interview with the Echo, the businessman discusses his plans for the home of the Black Cats’, both inside and outside the ground.
Campbell and a consortium of fellow businessmen launched a takeover bid for Sunderland earlier this year, before revealing he stepped back from negotiations after the terms of the proposed deal changed.
But before talks stalled, Campbell had put in place plans to grow the capacity of the Stadium of Light, making it the biggest stadium in the North East.
“We wanted to extend the stadium, that was one of the bigger things we wanted to do,” he admitted.
“We’d spoken to some people about doing that because we wanted to make it the biggest stadium in the north east.
“If Qatar do lose the World Cup in 2022 then it will come to England, and if you have the biggest stadium in the north east - the home of football in the region - then wow, you can do wonders there.
“We were going to go to 55,000 to start with.
“It’s a very easy stadium to expand, it’s just metal and steel rods and would have only taken four months to do.
And that wasn’t going to be the end of the investment, either, with Campbell also putting plans in place for a ‘revolutionary’ fan zone.
“We were going to outsource the fan zone and it was going to be a revolutionary thing we were going to do, with a building very close to the stadium,” he added.
“We’d had advanced discussions with the local authority about it.
“We spoke to the same company who fitted the bars at Tottenham Hotspur and we were going to go into a partnership with a bank who were going to offer accounts for the fans and a contactless system.
“So people could have got their beer in record-breaking time with the systems that fill the beer up from the bottom of the glass and by going contactless.”