Brian Scovell reports on our Facilities Committee visit to Swansea City FC on April 17, 2012…
Tony Hudd and I visited the highly impressive Liberty Stadium on a very windy day and we concluded that many of the Barclays Premier League clubs have yet to match its standards. For example, the two press boxes are on the half-way line – the 52-seater higher up and the other one, which has more than 40 working stations along a wide corridor, on a lower level – whereas more clubs are now placing their corporate boxes on the halfway line.
Jonathan Wilsher, the chief press officer, told us a separate entrance, near the VIP entrance, is to built for the media for next season 12 metres from the press room which is perfectly adequate. However, the press room which includes the interview section, is be extended by six metres at the opposite end to accommodate more working spaces. The club are upgrading the standard of the hot meals and refreshments. And the room will be decorated with pictures, memorabilia etc.
A wall or fence, will be installed behind the 40+ working stations to prevent spectators leaning over to read the writers’ copy and engaging in conversation. This area is on the first floor – a top class viewing spot – and no spectators can obstruct the view. There are separate mixed zones with the away team leaving from a different part of the stand.
Extra parking spaces are planned but there is a park and ride from a bigger car park five minutes’ walk away. We learned that the players have been training on astroturf in recent months which might explain why their passing is so Barcelona style! A new grass surface is being used for next season. Ospreys Rugby Club share the stadium and there was no damage to the playing pitch, a tribute to the ground staff.
We have congratulated Reading for their sensational final surge to regain their place in the Barclays Premier League and they are inviting us to come along with our suggestions. The overflow is currently near a corner flag and that subject will be first on the agenda.
Norwich report that they have no plans to improve their facilities at the Carrow Road for next season. West Ham say the same thing. Southampton tell us they will revert back to the original facilities at St. Mary’s Stadium.