Fernandes eyes Loftus Road exit

Fernandes, who has been in charge of the club for just over three

months, is determined to relocate given the hemmed-in nature of

their current ground in Shepherd’s Bush. With a capacity of just

18,500, it is the smallest ground in the Barclays Premier League,

and despite its “intimidating” atmosphere, according to Fernandes,

he believes the club need a bigger arena. Fernandes, who also owns

F1’s Team Lotus and budget airline AirAsia, said: “It’s still

premature at the moment. “The key this season is to survive, but we

would like a bigger ground, and we are looking. “It has to be in

the area. It makes no sense to move out from where you have spent

most of your life, and where the fan base is. “So west London is

where we are and where we’d like to be. “I’ve built airlines and

Formula One teams, but building a stadium is not the easiest thing

in the world. There are opportunities in west London we are looking

at. “The first thing we are going to build is a new training

ground, and there are two sites in west London, so hopefully we’ll

announce that soon. “The current training ground is really not up

to the mark. It has great grounds and we’ve tarted it up ourselves

and got more equipment there, but it’s not something for the

future.” The key question for Fernandes is deciding on the capacity

of the new stadium. “Some fans are saying ‘We don’t have a fan base

bigger than 20,000’,” said Fernandes. “My gut feel is 40-45,000.

That’s double where we are right now, but we’re in London and

there’s a strong catchment area. “Of course, there is nothing worse

than a half-empty stadium, but I’m the king of sizing. “If you

start an airline with two planes, and then you buy 150 planes, the

same question can be asked. “As I say, it’s just a gut feel, but

we’ll do some studies first. “We can find the space, although it’s

not easy, and there are lots of things that have to be put into

place.”