Exeter ChiefsExeter Rugby Club chief executive Tony Rowe says he and his fellow directors were “highly encouraged” by the response of club members to proposals outlined in Monday night’s Members’ Forum held at Sandy Park.

In a detailed presentation, Rowe outlined the significant progress made by the club both on and off the field since their switch from their old base at the County Ground to that of their current home at Sandy Park.

Taking members from the amateur days through to that of modern-day, full-time professional rugby in the Aviva Premiership, Rowe mapped out how a club who were making a turnover of £250,000 in 1998 were now recording a figure in excess of £8m in 2010.

As he was quick to stress to members, however, the need to keep pace with the cream of English and European rugby is essential and for that reason the club cannot afford to stand still in terms of their progression.

“Seeking the backing of the members to advance these plans is crucial to our long-term aim,” said Rowe. “As we look to move forward on the pitch, we will need to grow off it as well and increase and enhance the supporter facilities.

“Just building new standalone stands and terraces to be used at our home games 20 times a year is both expensive and unsustainable.”

Members, who will be given the chance to vote officially on whether to adopt the proposals laid out by the board at the club’s Annual General Meeting next month, were shown artist impressions of how it is envisaged Sandy Park will change over time.

“As with everything we do here at the club, the final decisions will ultimately be made by the members,” added Rowe. “This club is not for sale and for as long as I am alive this will be a members club. The members, of which I am one, will always keep a controlling interest whatever course of action we decide upon.”