The club is holding a Sunday lunch this weekend to celebrate the topping-out of the new stand.
It will offer fans the first opportunity to enjoy a guided tour at close quarters and test the views from the terraces. Some 80 fans are booked in for the event, which sold out within days of being advertised. The club’s commercial manager and star chef Simon Daniel will be joined by the soon-to-be Mrs Coyle, Emily Hale, to cook the three course fayre. It’s a real team effort with the office staff trying their hand at waiting tables!
The club’s project manager Steve Harrison will also be on hand to help with the tour and explain what is still to be done over the next few weeks.
Those who have been following the daily publication of photos or going down in person to see the stand being built will have noticed the terrace stanchions going in this week. They are being fitted closer together than in most stands. The stand was designed at a slightly steeper angle than most stands these days, in order to fit it in the tight space available at the North End and to improve the views. As a result the club are obliged by the safety authorities to add in additional rows of stanchions, every one metre or so.
Between the rows of stanchions there will be two steps, comfortable for two people standing one behind the other. It may take a bit of getting used to at first as you won’t be able to walk up through the middle of the terrace because of the rows of stanchions. However that also means that many more fans will be able to lean and rest on one of the stanchions when it’s necessary.
The away fans’ area for segregated matches will be to the right hand side (as it is at present). It will be able to vary in size depending on the away team’s ticket requirements. There is additional home and away disabled seating being provided. The stand is designed to be converted fully to seating if required at some stage in the future. There is also the possibility of adding a few seats in the away section in due course, if feasible.
Under the stand it is intended to provide access to additional toilet facilities. These will have to be simple temporary facilities to start with for financial reasons. For segregated games away supporters will still have access to the existing toilets by the east exit stairs. It is also intended to provide a small beer bar somewhere under the concourse and a hot food and drinks outlet as well. Watch this space for further details.
For those of you who are beginning to worry: yes we do intend to cover over the roof, and as well as a full covering, the roof is designed (unlike the main stand) to take advertising boards on the front, so as soon as we can find a sponsor it will be adorned appropriately.
Last but not least, subject to unforeseens or ‘force majeure’, it is hoped to have the stand open for the Barrow home match on 1 April, although there is an outside chance it could be ready for Sutton or Lincoln in mid-March.