Rams ready for relocation

MOVING HOME: Yorkshire consider cricket pastures new as Derby pitch future football plans outside the Baseball Ground
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The Independent Online
GUY HODGSON

In the centenary season of playing at the Baseball Ground, Derby County yesterday announced they are to relocate to a new 30,000 all-seater stadium on the edge of the city.

A statement said the First Division leaders had "agreed in principle" to moving to a new home which will be built on the lines of Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium. They played their first match at the Baseball Ground on September 14, 1895.

The statement said: "Negotiations with Derby City Council and the site operators, Derby Pride, are at an advanced stage and the decision to quit the Baseball Ground will be made when all parties have approved the final agreement."

If they go it will be at the third time of asking. Derby have twice resisted attempts to lure them away from a venue, which, as the name suggests, once played host to America's national game and before that was rumoured to be an old gypsy encampment.

In 1923 the local council wanted them to share a 4,000-seater complex and after the Second World War another municipal scheme would have housed the club in a stadium designed by Maxwell Ayrton, an architect who had worked on Wembley Stadium. They declined, however, losing, with the latter offer, the chance to join a project that would have given the club the most advanced ground in Europe.

And the gypsies? Legend had it that a curse had been placed on the field and in 1946 a journalist paid some travellers to have it lifted. That year the club won the FA Cup.

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