Attended by Joe Ferrari, Head of Media, and his assistant Gemma Gifford and FWA’s Brian Scovell, Tony Hudd and Jim Van Wijk.
We were assured that the club will meet the minimum requirements of the PL and if it stays up, there are plans to either knock down the main stand and build another one or extend it adding 3,000 plus seats including a topgrade press facility.
The glitzy press room, built in 2006, will remain, wifi is to be upgraded, refreshments will be better (copying the Ipswich formula), extra seats for the interview section, no-one to be allowed standing close to the dias to conduct interviews and more security is provided to keep out intruders. Manager Paul Lambert will do 8/10 interviews with rights holders, radio and TV before he comes into the room which will mean him not being interviewed by the written press for an least half an hour, or more. Non-contracted radio reports will have a combined interview in the corridor outside. Lambert is willing to do a Monday’s interviw as well, also access to a mixed zone in the same corridor.
One snag is that photographers will have to continue using the room, which could lead to overcrowding. They normally use the space on the right and it will be rather congested.
The old press box (circa 1986 with its knee crushing knees) will be revamped – long desks are to be replaced and the new ones made deeper with the obstructive box to plug in being replaced by discreet ones, the old metal seats have been oiled and tarted up with padded seats. To meet the PL requirement of 65 seats (including 15 radio positions) extra 15 seats are being put behind the top row, occupying space in a members’ bar for the written press who will be behind glass windows. The main written press section will be on the left facing the pitch and the club warn that national papers are unlikely to given two seats. However, UEFA have insisted 30 seats being installed – in a back row of the opposite stand – reserved for overseas TV and radio people. If the demand falls short, these seats could form an overflow.
CEO David McNally is adopting a tough policy about irresponsible reporting on the club’s activities and BBC (East) and the Daily Mirror have become victims of it.
Our delegation made a strong case about being sitting in with the architects from day one if the club stays up so we can put our views. Joe Ferrari agreed.
We felt this was a very positive meeting and we were all very impressed by the professionalism of Joe and Gemma. Our members will be given a warm welcome, and every possible help.
Chairman of Facilities Committee