Swansea City aim to extend Liberty Stadium by 12,000 seats
PLANS to expand the Liberty Stadium by as much as 12,000 seats are set to be lodged early next year.
Swansea City's chairman Huw Jenkins has given more details about how he wants the stadium to grow.
Mr Jenkins said he hoped to be ready to submit a planning application to Swansea Council early next year to add 11,000 to 12,000 seats to the south, east and north stands.
The club will finance the expansion — and Mr Jenkins stressed that retaining Premier League status was "vitally important".
The stadium's current capacity is around 20,500, but the high-flying club is missing out on match-day revenue due to the demand to see them live.
"We can do the east (stand) first probably if we want to, then decide on doing one of the other two or both at the same time," said Mr Jenkins.
"But as we all know in football we don't know what's round the corner, so we have got be careful and make sure we do everything within what we can afford.
"It's going to cost, and retaining Premier League status is vitally important. But there's additional money coming in via the TV revenues next season and we have got to make sure we use that wisely, that we do things that are right for the club for years to come.
"I don't know exactly when it would be ready, but I would say a build on the east stand would be started and finished within 12 months, maybe quicker than that."
Mr Jenkins, whose astute managerial appointments and prudent fiscal approach have won him many plaudits, said a lot of work was going on behind the scenes.
"We hope to be ready to put a planning application in by February or March," he said. "The (supporters) trust are helping us to do a survey shortly to see where we are at with the level of interest in additional season tickets.
"We want to get all that in hand, to give us the confidence and to judge where we need to be, because we will be expanding in different phases.
"We are looking to get some feedback. For instance, a lot of the feedback I hear is that a lot of the ground has been more or less sold out for five or six years.
"Naturally families grow and change during that time and people can't get additional seats around them for their own families, so a lot of thought is going to go into how we can adapt certain areas and work our expansion with that.
"The planning application will be for the south, north and east stands to be increased. It will continue the same shape that is already there. That will probably bring in roughly 11,000 or 12,000 seats. It's exciting, but we have got to make sure we do it right. If it needs to be done in stages, we will do it in stages."
Huw Cooze, who serves on the club's board and is also supporters' trust director, said the survey was due to go live on the club's website in the next few days.
The aim, he said, was to give the club confidence in its plans.
"My gut feeling is that we have got the demand there," said Mr Cooze, although he pointed out you'd get a different survey response after a 2-0 defeat of Arsenal than, say, a hammering by Wigan.
Swans fan Simon Jones — a former Vetch regular — said he had found it hard to get hold of match tickets since the Swans' promotion in 2011.
He welcomed the prospect of extra seating but echoed Mr Jenkins's comments about maintaining Premier League status.
The 32-year-old, of West Cross, said away tickets were also hard to come by, adding that he had sat at the home end for Swans matches at Spurs and Aston Villa.
"You wish you were with the Swans fans — they're standing up and singing all the way through," he said.