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Vale Park Capacity


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One thing I also haven't seen much of or missed is the mention of safe standing at Vale.
Where would you put them on the spending priority list? Physically convert part of the Bycars for a singers area?

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14 minutes ago, Fosse69 said:

Where would put them on the spending priority list? Physically convert part of the Bycars for a singers area?

I felt there was a missed opportunity to do this with the unfinished Lorne Street.  I have to admit I’ve no idea what work, if any, would’ve been required to the existing terracing to make this possible.  There would be the same issues as currently within the stand, so that work would have to have been undertaken first.

We really do need to find a way to get more fans into the Bycars, yes, I know a successful team will do the job.  Maybe safe standing would be one way, but I can’t see it as it’s become the designated family area these days.  Hopefully, some of these kids, as they grow older, will chose to stay in there.

This leads us back to stadium development.  Where we are now, in terms of crowd size, we seem to be on the limit of facilities and infrastructure for at least two of the three home stands, I don’t hear too many folk moaning about Lorne Street, apart from it would be nice for fans to be in a position to sit on those new seats.   The main gripes seem to be turnstiles, toilets and catering, which should be relatively simple fixes, although you will never completely get away from queues, yet some folk are making the leap to a new stadium.

In my view the costs to make the necessary improvements to VP as a whole to satisfy the match day experience demands and cater for existing, or increasing, numbers of fans, would be tiny compared to the costs involved in moving to a new stadium, and in the short to medium term we should look no further.

We’re in a fairly unique position where our owners are fans first, they listen, and will get it right.  Nobody has a magic wand or bottomless pit of money so patience is the key, on and off the field.

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18 minutes ago, Guitar Ray said:

The main gripes seem to be turnstiles, toilets and catering, which should be relatively simple fixes, although you will never completely get away from queues, yet some folk are making the leap to a new stadium.

In the very short-term and probably the medium term, VP needs to continue to be patched-up, developed and so on... I still think if fund raising was made the priority this summer, the opening of the second part of the LS could go an awful long way towards addressing many of the complaints in recent weeks. Complete the concourse work for next season and you have 2,500 home seats with good sightlines, modern facilities and so on. 

However, even with that work, arguably you still have a stadium with a pitch that needs relaying, a stand (Railway) that's going to need replacing soon, an away stand that gives away support an advantage in terms of a large number of seats and acoustics, a reduced capacity for home fans for largely unknown reasons and so on... 

A new stadium build will clearly be expensive. But in terms of long-term - I think with a seventy-odd year old stadium moving to a new site shouldn't be off the agenda. I'm not saying it should be the ONLY long-term option, the cost of it will probably make it unlikely but that doesn't mean discounting it as an option. 

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Vale Park was designed in the 40s, Railway roof added 54, all seating and Hamil re-built in the 90s. Lorne St re-built 90s onwards to Premier League potential ie media requirements as per Bell's ambitions at the time. Thus 1/2 the ground upto standard.

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10 minutes ago, Fosse69 said:

Vale Park was designed in the 40s, Railway roof added 54, all seating and Hamil re-built in the 90s. Lorne St re-built 90s onwards to Premier League potential ie media requirements as per Bell's ambitions at the time. Thus 1/2 the ground upto standard.

There is a picture somewhere of a builder standing on the metal structure of the railway roof 70 years ago. !! Same piece that somebody was swinging on when we scored against Bristol Rovers...lol.

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Is the children’s centre still being used ?Surely there is toilet facilities in there.I went to Walsall and noticed that they had a mobile ,hot food and drink, catering unit at the back of the main homestand.

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Where would you put them on the spending priority list? Physically convert part of the Bycars for a singers area?

Depends as alot of seating has needed and still needs to be replaced. So therefore it is something to keep in mind for that. The bycars probably has the most damaged seats in the home ends so maybe.

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With the Lorne street, you would think some sort of turnstile/exit could be fashioned in the corner where the old scoreboard used to be on a temporary basis for next season when required. There is quite a lot of space there and if your were to put some decent steps in you could fit toilets and catering in. You could then have some airport style queuing outside the back of the stand and 4 turnstiles which could be removed to open up as an exit gate. Restrict the traffic that can use the access road for the hour before and after a game. In an emergency you would have that exit plus onto the pitch and out by the police box.

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1 hour ago, robf said:

In the very short-term and probably the medium term, VP needs to continue to be patched-up, developed and so on... I still think if fund raising was made the priority this summer, the opening of the second part of the LS could go an awful long way towards addressing many of the complaints in recent weeks. Complete the concourse work for next season and you have 2,500 home seats with good sightlines, modern facilities and so on. 

However, even with that work, arguably you still have a stadium with a pitch that needs relaying, a stand (Railway) that's going to need replacing soon, an away stand that gives away support an advantage in terms of a large number of seats and acoustics, a reduced capacity for home fans for largely unknown reasons and so on... 

A new stadium build will clearly be expensive. But in terms of long-term - I think with a seventy-odd year old stadium moving to a new site shouldn't be off the agenda. I'm not saying it should be the ONLY long-term option, the cost of it will probably make it unlikely but that doesn't mean discounting it as an option. 

Let’s be clear, potentially a new stadium will always be ON the agenda, the biggest issue, as with everything, is money.  To take your example, if we were to relay the current pitch would that cost much more than laying a completely new pitch from scratch in a new stadium?  Surely the cost would be broadly similar?  If we completely rebuilt the Railway would it come close to the cost of building 4 new, albeit possibly smaller, stands somewhere else?  So, trying to look at the bigger picture, in my view by prudently redeveloping VP we should have more money to spend elsewhere, better players, new training complex, more community activity, take your pick, whereas I’d suggest we’d be years trying to recoup the outlay of a new ground.

What we see already is a slow but sure improvement all around the ground, take those seats in Lorne Street as an obvious example.  Use the term organic growth if you like.  I moan about the normal stuff like the next fan but we shouldn’t overlook the good work that’s gone on these past few seasons.  With the correct investment we have a decent enough ground to last a few more generations at least.

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On 07/05/2022 at 20:07, Hitcher said:

I think a good example of redeveloping an existing stadium is Ashton Gate.

They've so far improved three stands which all have connected concourses (like a big U). The concourses are huge and you can get into the stadium through any entrance by scanning your ticket. Went to a game once with a friend and they have little spaces for bands to play post game (getting people to stay and have a few more beers). 

I think the parallels with vale park are that its also quite residential. If we do it right i would see no reason to move. I think vale park as a more authentic ground is a USP, when you consider our neighbours have done the souless new build next to a dual carrigeway thing. I'd hate that. 

That’s actually a superb point. I think Ashton Gate is perhaps one of the best redevelopments of an old ground in recent years. If we copied that, I think everyone would be delighted..

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1 hour ago, Guitar Ray said:

f we completely rebuilt the Railway would it come close to the cost of building 4 new, albeit possibly smaller, stands somewhere else?  

I think there's more to it than than that. The area is a former clay pit, with mining shafts and subsidence issues. That may have a huge impact on whether it's a similar cost to add new stands at VP or on another site without those issues. Or whether we can actually build new stands of any significant size at VP at all.

Due to the problems building there, the costs overran when we built the stadium in the first place (almost bankrupting us) and the same thing almost happened when the escalating costs of the LS stand helped take us into admin under Bill Bell. 

The LS original cost was supposed to be circa £3m if I am correct - due to those issues with mine shafts etc I think it ended up costing about £6m, quite possibly more. Will the cost of any new stands also escalate in such a way?

In terms of a new ground always being on the agenda - the reason for my original post on this was because when Carol and Kevin took over they seemed to suggest that there was NO possibility whatsoever of moving from VP. My point was that I think we do need to at least keep an open mind about moving.

Of course we shouldn't move if we can't afford it and I agree with you that a lot has been done and a lot can be done at VP and it's certainly a lot better than many other grounds, but I do worry about the future of an old stadium built on a former clay pit. All the money being spent is adding up. The Sentinel reported the Shanahans spent 500k last summer on improvements (and even after them we still have a massively reduced capacity). It's 500k to be spent on the PA this summer. That's £1m alone just on upkeep and replacing old features. How many more millions will it cost to continue to keep the stadium up-to-date and to meet the safety requirements to increase the home capacity?

In terms of the pitch... when it was laid on that clay bed in 1950 it was the most expensive pitch ever laid at the time. As it's so problematic, I would hazard an (albeit uneducated) guess that there's more cost involved in fixing the current pitch than laying a new one at a new ground. 

As Rotherham have shown, moving to a new stadium doesn't have to mean a soulless, out of town affair while link-ups with local councils, developers and grants doesn't mean the club has to shell out all the costs themselves. 

 

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I think a figure of £500,000 has been quoted in the past for replacing the pitch with a sand base and proper drainage. Obviously in an extended close season which would involve more manpower than with a new ground,  Swansea`s new ground  pitch cost a £1 M a few years back but with a plastic mesh, pumped drainage and aeriation, a metre of sand making it capable of coping  with Rugby as well.

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I'm totally aligned with robf's opinion piece on the Lorne St., stand completion.  As a contributor to the original fundraising iniatative, does anyone know exactly what the figure is for the total raised so far?

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3 hours ago, robf said:

I think there's more to it than than that. The area is a former clay pit, with mining shafts and subsidence issues. That may have a huge impact on whether it's a similar cost to add new stands at VP or on another site without those issues. Or whether we can actually build new stands of any significant size at VP at all.

Due to the problems building there, the costs overran when we built the stadium in the first place (almost bankrupting us) and the same thing almost happened when the escalating costs of the LS stand helped take us into admin under Bill Bell. 

The LS original cost was supposed to be circa £3m if I am correct - due to those issues with mine shafts etc I think it ended up costing about £6m, quite possibly more. Will the cost of any new stands also escalate in such a way?

In terms of a new ground always being on the agenda - the reason for my original post on this was because when Carol and Kevin took over they seemed to suggest that there was NO possibility whatsoever of moving from VP. My point was that I think we do need to at least keep an open mind about moving.

Of course we shouldn't move if we can't afford it and I agree with you that a lot has been done and a lot can be done at VP and it's certainly a lot better than many other grounds, but I do worry about the future of an old stadium built on a former clay pit. All the money being spent is adding up. The Sentinel reported the Shanahans spent 500k last summer on improvements (and even after them we still have a massively reduced capacity). It's 500k to be spent on the PA this summer. That's £1m alone just on upkeep and replacing old features. How many more millions will it cost to continue to keep the stadium up-to-date and to meet the safety requirements to increase the home capacity?

In terms of the pitch... when it was laid on that clay bed in 1950 it was the most expensive pitch ever laid at the time. As it's so problematic, I would hazard an (albeit uneducated) guess that there's more cost involved in fixing the current pitch than laying a new one at a new ground. 

As Rotherham have shown, moving to a new stadium doesn't have to mean a soulless, out of town affair while link-ups with local councils, developers and grants doesn't mean the club has to shell out all the costs themselves. 

 

Carol and Kevin have a vision, however I doubt they have closed minds, but putting this to one side and considering purely costs, 500k is small change when compared to the cost of building a completely new stadium of any significant size.  Admittedly there is a high cost involved in getting our ground up to standard but after that it’s a case of keeping it maintained, just as you’d have to with any ground.  There would still be running costs involved with a brand new stadium, granted you’d expect these to be less but there are costs nonetheless.  Either way, funds permitting, we could spend 500k -£1M on VP every year for a good few years and still get nowhere near the cost of a completed new ground, with far less disruption (lost revenue) to boot.

To relay the current pitch may cost more than laying a new one elsewhere, but significantly more?  To install a new pitch anywhere you’ve still got to prepare the ground and install drainage.  What’s the difference between doing this at VP or at a new location?  The actual material costs would be the same?

The history of the redevelopment of Lorne Street is well documented, as is the history of the location of the ground, so we all appreciate that there’s likely to be underlying issues meaning any major redevelopment of VP would incur potentially unforeseen additional cost.  The fact remains that to build a new stand here would be a huge financial undertaking but still wouldn’t come close to a brand new stadium.  Think about it.

Rotherham were fortunate, many grounds are out of town simply due to land availability and cost.  Anyway we’re a city of two teams which makes things far more difficult, certainly in terms of getting the council on board.

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52 minutes ago, Guitar Ray said:

Carol and Kevin have a vision, however I doubt they have closed minds, but putting this to one side and considering purely costs, 500k is small change when compared to the cost of building a completely new stadium of any significant size.  Admittedly there is a high cost involved in getting our ground up to standard but after that it’s a case of keeping it maintained, just as you’d have to with any ground.  There would still be running costs involved with a brand new stadium, granted you’d expect these to be less but there are costs nonetheless.  Either way, funds permitting, we could spend 500k -£1M on VP every year for a good few years and still get nowhere near the cost of a completed new ground, with far less disruption (lost revenue) to boot.

To relay the current pitch may cost more than laying a new one elsewhere, but significantly more?  To install a new pitch anywhere you’ve still got to prepare the ground and install drainage.  What’s the difference between doing this at VP or at a new location?  The actual material costs would be the same?

The history of the redevelopment of Lorne Street is well documented, as is the history of the location of the ground, so we all appreciate that there’s likely to be underlying issues meaning any major redevelopment of VP would incur potentially unforeseen additional cost.  The fact remains that to build a new stand here would be a huge financial undertaking but still wouldn’t come close to a brand new stadium.  Think about it.

Rotherham were fortunate, many grounds are out of town simply due to land availability and cost.  Anyway we’re a city of two teams which makes things far more difficult, certainly in terms of getting the council on board.

The biggest difference in replacing a pitch in a working stadium and installing one on a new site is the access to the site.  A new site has all the building period 1 -2 years or more, but for the Vale  just an extended close season assuming no POs or availability of a shared ground. Rotherham as far as I remember were forced out of Millmoor as Vale were out of the Old Rec. As far as shared grounds go I think that was an option in Festival Park, similar to a lot of Italian teams, but nothing came of it.

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3 hours ago, Fosse69 said:

The biggest difference in replacing a pitch in a working stadium and installing one on a new site is the access to the site.  A new site has all the building period 1 -2 years or more, but for the Vale  just an extended close season assuming no POs or availability of a shared ground. Rotherham as far as I remember were forced out of Millmoor as Vale were out of the Old Rec. As far as shared grounds go I think that was an option in Festival Park, similar to a lot of Italian teams, but nothing came of it.

The access would be similar I’d guess.  You’re going to build your stadium then instal the pitch afterwards I’d assume.  You could possibly do some groundwork prior, add the drainage and such, but would there be a dramatic difference in cost?

The Festival Park idea was never going to get off the drawing board.  Ted Smith would’ve seen to that.

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13 hours ago, Guitar Ray said:

The access would be similar I’d guess.  You’re going to build your stadium then instal the pitch afterwards I’d assume.  You could possibly do some groundwork prior, add the drainage and such, but would there be a dramatic difference in cost?

The Festival Park idea was never going to get off the drawing board.  Ted Smith would’ve seen to that.

The big difference is  the time available  in the close season, could the clay be removed, replaced with sand and then seeded, or would it have to be turved, whereas a  new ground would have time for a seed and plastic grid system. Speedy is the expert as well as a chap in the Railway Paddock.

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