The future of the John Smith’s Stadium could be decided by the end of the season, Huddersfield Town’s new chief executive Jake Edwards has said.

In an interview with Huddersfield Hub, Mr Edwards said “all options remain on the table” and he didn’t rule out the outright purchase of the stadium, which will be 30 years old next year.

The stadium is run by Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd (KSDL), a company owned by Kirklees Council (40%), Huddersfield Town (40%) and Huddersfield Giants (20%).

The council warned as far back as 2021 that KSDL was at risk of going bust if changes to the ownership structure weren’t made.

Talks about Town taking ‘operational control’ stalled when ownership of the football club passed from Dean Hoyle to Phil Hodgkinson, and back again.

Last December the council’s Cabinet gave approval for senior officers to negotiate with Town officials and the Giants owner Ken Davy with a view to the football club taking a long-term lease and ‘operational control.’

Those talks never came to a resolution as ownership of the football club changed again when American businessman and US soccer club owner Kevin Nagle bought Town from Mr Hoyle.

Mr Nagle told a recent All Together Town meeting that he was looking to own 100% of the stadium and run it as a club and community asset.

Talks have been underway in the background and Mr Edwards said Town, the council and the Giants were working hard to agree a deal.

Asked whether the new structure could be a long-term lease or an outright purchase by the football club, Mr Edwards said: “I think all options are on the table at the moment.

“We are just trying to see what is in the best interests of all parties because everyone has to be happy with whatever that deal looks like.

“It has to be right for the rugby club for their sustainable future, certainly for the football club and the right opportunity for the council. Everyone has their own agenda and what they need to get out of this and, from our point of view, everything is on the table.”

It seems clear that Town’s new regime want a deal done sooner rather than later and Mr Edwards added: “Before the season is over, going into next season, we hope to have some clarity on all of those pieces.

“The three partners in the KSDL management company are working through that at the moment to see what the solutions are and how the football club can drive the stadium forward.

“It’s a beautiful stadium, it’s a bit of a crown jewel in this region and it needs to be. It needs to be invested in.

“We see it as an opportunity for the football club to create new spaces within the building and have new offerings on a matchday and start to solve a lot of the problems that we have heard from supporters are challenging for them on a matchday.

“We want to take those forward and bring it back to life and make it a real community asset not just on a matchday but with concerts, conferences and events and create a whole host of new revenue opportunities for it to have a real economic impact for the whole community. It’s something we are absolutely focused on.”

The council has previously said that up to £10 million needed to be spent on repairs and maintenance to extend the stadium lifespan through to 2050.

Mr Edwards said: “The stadium needs a lot of investment and I know that’s something that Kevin is laser focused on. The stadium needs loving care and attention moving forward.

“There’s an on-going cap-ex (capital expenditure) requirement. In some areas it’s been maintained and in other areas it’s fallen behind because it hasn’t been invested in. It requires millions of pounds over the next few years.

“It’s all the less sexy stuff that’s going – new boilers and kitchen equipment and stuff in the bowels of the building that you don’t see, these are expensive ticket items.

“It’s all the other stuff too. The annual painting that hasn’t happened, updating the premium spaces and new commercial spaces you want to create, just bringing it up to modern standards and being innovative with technology systems, fan experience, bathrooms and food and drink kiosks, bigger retail spaces.

“All the things we see as standard in other modern stadia, these are what we need to start focusing on.”

The current three-way operating agreement for the running of the stadium was set up in 1993 and was designed to protect the interests of the two clubs and council taxpayers. Realistic and affordable rents were set but when costs began to escalate, rents didn’t keep pace.

Kirklees Council has reportedly written off millions of pounds in loans but that has never been confirmed. Opposition councillors have repeatedly asked the question in council meetings but have not had an answer.

The council’s Cabinet member for finance and regeneration, Clr Graham Turner, has said the stadium operating model is outdated and needs to be changed.

Asked about the current arrangement, Mr Edwards said: “Everything has its moment in time when it makes sense and this was structured how it was structured then and has been for some time.

“The reality is (the stadium) hasn’t been funded as well as it should have been in recent years. For various reasons, no one side’s fault or issue there, it’s just reached a point in time now where we have bought the football club and we have an opportunity to maybe do things differently and invest in what hasn’t been invested in for a few years.

“The intention is there to move the football club and the stadium forward and invest in it. We have been very clear about that. It needs it, the fans want to see that and we are ready to go.

“We are working through that with the partners to see how we can best achieve that in the short term.

“I think everything is on the table. There’s no one thing of what it could look like. It’s ultimately how we can secure the home of the football club and make sure we can upgrade and maintain this building and protect this stadium for many, many more years for the football club and whoever owns it in the future.

“Kevin is the custodian of this for the time being but he wants to make sure it doesn’t fall backwards and continues to move forward for however long he stays on as owner.”