Bombers look set to leave Windy Hill - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers look set to leave Windy Hill

By Roger Vaughan 06/08/2010 07:03:30 PM Comments (0)

A federal election funding pledge has fuelled the prospect of AFL power Essendon leaving their long-time Windy Hill for a new training venue.

The Bombers are likely to announce details of their training and administration redevelopment in the next couple of months, with the decision to be made before the club's annual general meeting.

The $6 million Labor pledge involves the Bombers sharing the facility with the Australian Paralympic Committee.

Crucially, federal funding for the $28.7 million project is not site-specific.

Essendon officials want a bigger oval for training, but the neighbouring lawn bowls club at Windy Hill is refusing to move.

While local federal member Bill Shorten said at Friday's announcement that he hoped the Bombers would stay at Windy Hill, he understood the club's need to look at all options.

"I can understand Essendon not wanting to get caught up in some sort of Crackerjack film script, where there's an argument going on," Shorten said in reference to the lawn bowls comedy movie.

"I do hope Essendon will remain at Windy Hill in some form, they've been here since 1922 and are part of the fabric of this area."

Essendon chairman David Evans said the club was considering "half a dozen options" in Melbourne's north-western suburbs.

Among them are sites at Melbourne and Essendon airports and the Melbourne Showgrounds, as well as redevelopment of Windy Hill.

It is understood the Bombers have a preferred option and, privately, thay say they are receiving little opposition from members about the prospect of leaving Windy Hill.

The long-term lease means they would retain some sort of presence at the ground, perhaps through their social club or hall of fame.

Evans said they were in "constant dialogue" with the bowls club and also the local Moonee Valley council.

But pubicly and privately, the Bombers clearly have gone past using the threat of leaving Windy Hill as just a bargaining chip.

"The other options available for us are getting more and more exciting as each day goes past," Evans said.

"We have before the board at the moment some very exciting options in the north-west corridor.

"We are starting to become more open (to leaving), it (Windy Hill) is still absolutely an option, but the excitement around some of these options that have been put to us not far away are something we are seriously considering."

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