Pitch contractors McArdle Sport-Tec Ltd have been appointed following a formal tender process led by the FA and Football Foundation, writes Jake Heath.
McArdle’s appointment follows the very recent award of a substantial grant from the Football Foundation, which was achieved as part of a fast-track, special circumstance process and formally approved by the Football Foundation this week.
McArdle’s will start on site week commencing 16th November with a target completion date of Wednesday 13th January.
Club Chairman Barry Hunter commented: “This has been a 5-year problem and something I made a priority to resolve when I took the appointment just over a year ago. This has been an incredibly intensive period of discussion, collaboration and negotiation. It has required a lot of patience, persistence and commitment from a very broad group of stakeholders. But we are there and with everything else happening at the ground following our successful fundraise during the summer, we are going to have a serious upgrade to look forward to when we return to The Crucial Environmental Stadium”.
The club have employed specialist testing house Sports Labs Ltd, accredited by FIFA and the FA who will provide key stage testing to ensure independent quality control and a sign off process to enable grant draw down. Sports Labs Ltd were also central to the corrective design specification being undertaking by McArdle’s.
Barry Hunter added: “The club want to thank a number of people: Firstly, our supporters for showing real patience through all the times we have had to play away from home, including this season. Their loyalty and support have been exceptional and we look forward to welcoming them back home very soon. At times we would have liked to share more information, but we wanted to make sure we didn’t in any way compromise our grant application or legal dialogue with third parties. I’m very pleased that we can now share this news with everyone.
“Secondly our club sponsors, who not only form a key part of our supporter base but in their own right, have shown us real financial support at a time we needed it most. They have been first class and we are incredibly grateful to them.
“Thirdly the FA, who have provided unprecedented support and guidance throughout this period, without whom this outcome would not have been possible.
“Fourthly, to our players, managers and support staff across the whole club. For them this hasn’t just been a matter for match days but also the mid week training programme. Under Nathan Bowen’s guidance, all of our teams have shown great understanding and flexibility.
“Finally, to our club management committee who have been tenacious and resilient throughout and if I may, I would like to personally thank Angela Tanner who has put a huge shift in to manage the grant process.
“The club will be working closely with the league to manage any implications with up-coming fixtures, which will undoubtably be considered as part of the leagues wider challenges of transitioning out of lockdown 2. Once we have a clear picture of this, there will be a number of matters we will need to consider. But our first priority will be to understand the facts.”
More updates and progress to follow
Report by Jake Heath