Lancaster City FC – Ground Works
In November 2012 a Club initiative, spearheaded by the chairman Stuart Houghton, organised an activists meeting to try and find ways of moving the Club forward. As a result of that meeting three working groups were formed covering Ground Maintenance, Communications and Revenue Streams and they were asked to report back to a further meeting on the 10th December.
The Maintenance Group, which includes myself (Dave Cunliffe), Rob Hill, Dave Hughes and Tony Crossley were given a remit to examine the ground inside and out but to exclude the pitch area, and this we did submitting a full written report on the 10th December. During the course of our inspection it became clear that the areas which required attention fell basically into two categories, these being:-
1. Jobs requiring outside or professional attention.
2. Jobs that volunteers/activists (i.e. odd job or DIY people) could put their hands to.
In the former group we basically identified the following:-
- a) Guttering above the back of the Main Stand which has perished.
- b) Main Stand roof which leaks where cracked.
- c) Changing Room roof (missing or loose slates) and ridging tiles in need of re-setting.
- d) Physio’s room roof needs replacing – it has effectively perished.
- e) Board Room, Diner and Toilet Block have roof defects which need addressing together with the gully between the Boardroom and the Changing Room block.
- f) South Terrace is missing a number of wire mesh sections which need refurbishing.
- g) Car Park wall – south west corner is being demolished by two trees growing in adjacent land.
- h) Advertising Hoardings – a number of these are in a poor state and need replacing.
Given that the above areas are beyond our capabilities as volunteers we agreed that we considered them to be the remit of the Board and, having drawn them to their attention, have moved on to deal with, as far as is practicable, the items we felt were ‘in house’ projects. Included in these items were a number of routine things such as leaf clearance from gutters but when we put the items to paper it became clear that there was little point in going at our tasks like ‘a bull at a barn door’, far better to make steady but effective progress. The sort of items for attention ‘in house’ were as follows:-
- a) Standing water collecting outside the shower tray between matches.
- b) Northern Shed Stand girders in need of urgent descaling and repainting and the plywood boarding along the front needs attention – probably replacing.
- c) The Garage needs clearing out and the roof needs sealing and insulating to make it fit for purpose.
- d) The First Aid hut needs clearing out, gutting and removing as it is no longer fit for purpose.
- e) The dump in the south west corner needs clearing out and any scrap metal disposing of.
- f) The Main Entrance on West Road and the iron railings are the first impression for visitors and need descaling and repainting.
- g) The Car Park boundary wall needs repointing.
- h) Southern end open terrace crowd barriers and the reinforcement girders on the Car Park need descaling and repainting.
- i) The land behind the wall, Main Stand and Changing Rooms along Hubert Terrace needs general vegetation and rubbish clearance. In addition there are some dozen trees needing urgent surgery but this is probably beyond us as volunteers
- j) The Players Tunnel walls need cementing along the top and the caging needs descaling and repainting.
- k) In the Away Dressing there is a black mould problem.
- l) The Public Toilets need redecorating and the floors painting.
- m) The Wheelchair Shelter roof needs re-setting to stop the leaks.
- n) The Scoreboard is badly damaged and needs repair.
- o) The Station side terrace needs cosmetic repair and the pitch boundary wall supports need attention in certain parts as they are leaning in towards the pitch.
- p) Floodlight stanchions need descaling and repainting.
- q) Outside the ground along the perimeter walls to the east and north there is need to clear vegetation as brambles and sycamores are threatening to take over.
Seems a lot doesn’t it? Well we decided that by prioritising certain work we could get things moving despite the inclement weather and so far we have progressed as follows:-
On the 10th December I did a constructive ground inspection with David Needham to clarify points raised in the report. There was general agreement on the points raised but as David pointed out the work requiring outside input was understandably subject to funding being available, which is an ever present problem. On the ‘in house’ matters we have made significant progress as follows:-
- The standing water in the away shower has hopefully been resolved.
- We have approached Myerscough College regarding the tree surgery behind the stands in the hope they may wish to use it for student training and we await their response.
- The ‘dump’ area has been sorted through and the garage cleared out resulting in disposal of unusable items and a large volume of scrap metal. The garage is awaiting work on roofing panels and this is subject to dry weather – or aim is to insulate and seal the roof, and then set it up as a store/workshop.
- Work has commenced on the First Aid hut, it has been emptied and we are in the process of reducing it to a shell which will be disposed of during the close season.
- The ladies toilets have been redecorated.
- A start has been made on general clearance behind the Main Stand and this will remain an on-going project for some time.
In addition to jobs highlighted in the original report new ones will obviously arise, for instance next week we will be stopping work on the First Aid hut to deal with the requirements for a step up to the Supporters Bar, this is urgent and clearly will take precedence.
It is our hope as a group that Supports will feel able to approach Ground Maintenance if interested at any time and we are always grateful for any input, especially a commitment of time, no matter how small, to help things along – we are all getting on now and don’t do seven hour days as well as in bygone times. During the coming weeks we shall be drawing up a Works Programme for the close season and calling for assistance either long term or short term – every little bit helps – but once this is organised details will be posted.
We hope you find this information of interest, the Club is a part of all of us and only by working together have we any chance of moving forward – we hope to see you at the ground during the close season.
Dave Cunliffe, Rob Hill, Tony Crossley & Dave Hughes.