Nashville metros co-owner and general manager Devinder Sandhu sent the following letter to The City Paper in response to the story which appeared on Page 1 of the Wednesday, July 18 edition:
We are very interested in keeping professional soccer in Nashville. The main reason we are even considering any offers has to do with the lack of a lease at Ezell Park. A lease would allow us to improve the facility to meet the United Soccer League's minimum standards.
The Metros, along with our partner at Ezell Park, the YMCA, feel that we cannot spend any more money to develop the park given the current annual permit status that the city has given us. We reluctantly bought 2000-seat portable 5-row bleachers that are not very conducive to sports viewing because we could not justify buying the more expensive high-rise bleachers.
We need to upgrade the dressing rooms ... Mr. Jim Fyke with the Parks Department was instrumental in helping us procure surplus portable classrooms from the School Board. We are using these as dressing rooms ... but cannot justify spending extra money to upgrade them.
Additionally, we want to improve all the fields at Ezell Park for the general public. They are currently in pitiful condition ... no grass, very clumpy, no irrigation and almost dangerous to use. Again, without a lease or long-term commitment from the city to allow us to raise money and improve this facility, we cannot justify spending any money on the park.
We must say that Mr. Fyke and the Parks Department have done everything they can to be supportive of our mission ... but they do not make the decision on the lease. That comes from the administration. Having a control of a venue help any organization raise sponsorship dollars and get other sources of revenue. The Titans and Predators control their venues and are given multi-million dollar injections to keep their facilities up and running.
We have not asked the city for any annual payment for upkeep of the facility. We just want a lease to improve the facility for the citizens of Nashville. A facility that would be available 365 days of the year ... and at a very reasonable usage fee.
Finally, please mention that the Metros will play the powerful Connecticut Wolves, which by the way is owned by the City of New Britain, Conn., and operated by the New Britain Parks Department, Peter Ledger, Department Head.
The Wolves are in second place in the Northeast Division. Game time is 7:00 p.m. Friday, July 20.
Thank you for your continuing support of the Metros. We hope to see you at the game.
Metros co-owner and general manager