England have arrived home a little earlier than expected but clubs are still investing money in major projects, and it isn’t just in the Premiership that building is taking place.
Barr Construction, for example has been appointed the main contractor for the £45million rebuild of League One’s Bristol City’s Ashton Gate stadium. This three stage scheme will see stands being rebuilt to increase the capacity from 21,500 to 27,000. The first phase sees the demolition of the 86 year old Wenlock Stand and rebuilding it complete with new conference facilities, administration offices, a sports bar and shops.
The new look ground will become a vital community facility and with Bristol Rugby also moving to share the complex, it will become a centre for both football and rugby, and is something that is long overdue. Since the end of last season work has also started to prepare for the installation of a new hybrid playing surface. The Desso GrassMaster pitch, the same system as Wembley stadium, will have undersoil heating and so will reduce the cancellation of fixtures and so enable both football and rugby to be played throughout the winter.
The long term goal for Bristol Sport, who own both clubs, is for the stadium to become ‘a beacon for sport and entertainment in the southwest, becoming a venue of choice for conferences and major events, a destination of choice 365 days a year’.
In the north east of England Championship side Middlesbrough Football Club has had a local company appointed as its preferred consultant for structural engineering works and the same company has also conducted the club’s annual safety inspection. This will ensure that its supporters can watch games in a safe and secure environment.
Oldham Athletic has also commenced the building of a new 2,340 capacity stand on the unused side of the ground. The £5m project will also include corporate facilities, office accommodation, retail space, a gym and conference facilities. It was hoped that the stand would be open for the start of the 2014/15 season.
So clubs are getting ready for the new season, and it will soon be time to start again so you might want to get your teamwear in order, and be in a position to support a winning team this season.