Construction News

[UPDATE: A new signing about twenty minutes after I posted]

And we’ve got the planned completion date for NPL…

Before I start, a bit about the football if I must. Nobody seems to be looking forward to the trip to Shropshire – even your editor, who will actually be at a game for once.

Because I’m doing the day job on Sunday (will I get to meet Karl Robinson…?), there won’t be a “proper” report up until Monday. Which might give enough time for the anti-depressants to kick in.

It doesn’t help the collective mood to discover Cody McDonald is out for the rest of the season. But we have signed Lloyd Sam who is out of contract and is a winger. Former MLS, and one of those sort of signings I’m surprised we haven’t done more of this season.

Needs must, and all that. I would put him alongside the returning Antwi on the bench on Saturday, as there’s nothing to lose…

Actually, if you want a bit of hope, Shrewbury couldn’t beat Northampton, and it is this stage of the season where teams challenging can slip up. Plus, surely we realise what’s at stake right now?

Our biggest enemy remains the same foe that it has been throughout this entire campaign – ourselves. We have nine games remaining, and survival is in our own hands. If we’re so lacking in faith that we have to rely on every other team slipping up, we don’t deserve to stay up.

Anyway, can I stop writing about the football side of things, and move on to the nice stuff involving AFCW these days? Please?

NPL is the ying to the football side’s yang, and it’s quite a contrast between the two different aspects of the club. Imagine the mood if we were doing well on the pitch? Or imagine if we didn’t have the new ground to distract us right now.

Anyway, mark your diaries for 24th October 2019, because that’s when NPL is due to be finalised. A day before your editor’s 44th birthday. I want a big bow and ribbon over the whole structure, and a nice card as well.

Better still, just give me Hammam’s head on a commemorative plate.

That PDF is a fair sized file, and there’s plenty more bedroom reading material here. Most of it is just building site related stuff, and we await the Stadium Plan, though it does have a few interesting bits of info.

Firstly, I assume it means it will be ready for the first time since May 1991. It’s also earmarked to be built in 51 weeks and 4 days, which being construction means it probably won’t be – something always holds a project of this size up.

Your editor used to be involved with this kind of thing in a previous life, and even just reading the Design Management Plan has bought back some “interesting” memories…

Let’s assume it goes ahead on schedule though. Logistically, it’s not the best time to be moving grounds – if it had been August, we could have been able to move games back to September if we needed to.

After February, we wouldn’t be able to switch venues anyway, because EFL rules say so (assuming we’re in the EFL by then, before anyone else says it). By that stage, you might as well just move beyond practical completion and earmark the opening for the next season.

So it looks like we’re in the bizarre situation of having about 7/8 games at one home venue. I doubt if you could offer half-season tickets, not without it getting confusing – unless you simply sell  tickets on a game-by-game basis and just have that season’s STs for NPL.

Of course, it might be tempting to just delay moving in until January 2020 – but why wait around any longer than necessary? I wouldn’t want to be at KM when the new place is ready, and I doubt anyone else would too.

I’ve mentioned groundsharing a couple of times in previous updates, and I still think if the sums add up it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world. It’s not like it’s going to be for about eleven years.

OK, this means that we’ll probably not get the glamour friendly. To be honest, I’m not that bothered if we don’t. We’ll need a ramp up event or two though, and an LSC tie would be the perfect game to do so.

Hell, given our recent record, it might even be us playing in it 😉

The timeline of the demolition works is interesting – the asbestos removal is going to take until the back end of May (difference between negotiable and non-negotiable here).

According to this, it’s mainly in the insulating boards and is in (mostly) decent enough nick, so you’re not going to see proper flattening until that’s all stripped out. But it’s only a couple of months maximum, and you assume 777 know what they’re doing.

We’re getting some lifts in, plus an LED scoreboard. So there will be no reason to avoid writing “Milton Keynes Dons” any longer…

The North/South/East stands are earmarked as “semi-permanent”, however that is defined, although the seats can be removed. Potential standing area? Actually, I wouldn’t hold your breath for that, if cost ends up being the main factor.

They’ll be done after the West stand (ie the “proper” one) gets done first. They can be constructed quite quickly, and Andrew Scott aren’t exactly stadia building novices.

Demolition wise, there’s going to be weekend work, though none at night. Christ, imagine the NIMBYs if that was the case.  Oh, and I did like the way that the Photo Demolition PR event had an amendment and they still couldn’t spell “viewing” properly…

So it’s all happening. Even down to the fact that we’ve submitted our employment strategy to Merton. It’s for the construction side, so would we require one once it’s opened?

If so, I assume we would be expected to give casual/part time employment to those locally who would otherwise find themselves on the dole.

Wouldn’t a push towards getting volunteers involved at NPL** go against that? We’ll need things like additional ticket sales clerks on a matchday, for example. Put a volunteer in that role, and we’ll be denying an employment opportunity to somebody who needs it.

I can’t imagine Merton and (especially) Wandsworth being too happy with that situation, somehow.

** – the VLO does at least recognise there’s a lot of (older) volunteers who won’t be doing it come the new place opening. It’s another article in itself, especially if you consider volunteerism will be largely redundant by then, but the younger supporters don’t seem to view the club in the same way as the older types do…

Just a couple more things – even though it brings in money, is the Dons Draw administrator position really “vital“? I would hold a description like that for the new Marketing Manager job, which is the first tangible move from the new COO.

I imagine we might get some good quality candidates for that, especially as it’s an area we’re not very good in. True, a lot of that is down to the fact we haven’t “needed” to fill out KM, but from October 2019 onwards, we will certainly need to put arses on seats – and keep them coming back.

That doesn’t seem to cover the commercial side, at least not yet, but beefing up underdeveloped areas of the club is certainly no bad thing.

And finally, I wonder how many yoof teamers are tempted by the mascot for Charlton offer? After all, it might be the only time they ever get to walk out with the first team…