MX23RW : Friday, February 22 09:01:47

Eddie Howe focused on team after Bournemouth postpone new stadium plans

The Vitality Stadium has the lowest capacity in the Premier League.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe admits everyone at the club would love a new stadium, but for now will focus on keeping the team established in the Premier League.

With a capacity of around 11,500, the Vitality Stadium, which is leased from a property company, has the lowest capacity in the top flight.

On Thursday, a statement from shareholders and the board of directors confirmed plans were on hold to build a new ground in time for the summer of 2020 – admitting their redevelopment ambitions of Kings Park had been “overly optimistic”.

The Cherries, nevertheless, have come a long way since being on the brink of financial meltdown – former player Howe guiding the south-coast club up into the Premier League for the first time in 2015 and very much holding their own since.

Howe accepts finding the balance between long-term progress both on and off the pitch is a challenging one.

“It was the right decision for the shareholders and the directors. They have the right to do that, ” the Bournemouth boss said.

“They’ve always acted so positively to the club and given the club so much in the past few years, financial backing and support.

“I know their will is to complete the stadium, to take the club forward and build the training ground.

“They want what every Bournemouth fan wants – what I want – but it is not right at this moment in time for them, so you have to respect that decision and just focus on the football.

“We would love a new stadium, really for the supporters. It would be for them, to get more people here to watch their local team, of course for the players to play in a bigger stadium and take the club forward.

“But my mindset is very much to focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t have.

“We do have a stadium which works for us and has served us well at home this year, we love playing here.”

Howe added at a press conference: “There are different ways of working. Some clubs are focused on facilities first and the team second, here we focused on the team first.

“It is only what is right for you. We’ve moved the team forwards every year and pushed to improve. That is working for us at the moment.

“Long term we all do hope we can build the club from the inside more. I do think we can improve facilities and we all want the same thing.”

Howe takes his team to Watford on Saturday looking to build some momentum after Monday night’s victory over Crystal Palace.

“The importance is to deliver another good performance,” he said.

“We know we’ll have to do that again this weekend to get a result.”

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