Chairman Tom Piatak spoke this week about the success of the Fan Zone and the ongoing development work at Brunton Park. 

“It's been great to see people down here watching the Euro games in the Fan Zone,” he said. “The size of the new screen amazed me, and I was impressed with the screen we had there last year. 

“We’ve seen the new screen in the videos and the pictures, and we have the cameras on so we can actually see the CCTV so we can see the Fan Zone and see the TV. It's exciting to watch all the fans come together and have one area together, but you don't really appreciate the size of it until you actually see it. And honestly, I mean, we were floored. We were absolutely floored looking at that, it’s a great addition.

“There's so much more that we can do with that. You know, the Euro’s were the first step and we wanted to make sure it was in play for that. And then obviously all the home matches.

“But there's so much more that we have that's untapped that we haven't even thought about yet. But that is a tremendous asset for the club and something that we're proud of, and proud that we were able to get done for the Euro’s. To see that kind of support come out and watch the matches here makes us really proud.

“England need to improve their performance a little bit. But at least they keep moving forward, we’re optimistic about the game on Saturday.”

On the ongoing stadium developments, he said: “We've been seeing it on videos as everybody else has. So, to come over here in person, and really yesterday was the first day that we did a thorough walk through of the entire facility and saw all the changes that are going on. They are just phenomenal. I will say it exceeded Patty's and my expectation.

“The changing room, it's going to be wonderful. Even the away team, their changing room is going to be okay. It's going to be a standard above what they're probably accustomed to. 

“Fred Story and his team are doing a phenomenal job in the East Stand in a very, very tight window. The work they're doing is just fantastic.

“To get up on the top floor and see those sky boxes and how they've done them was amazing.  We went up to the top and worked our way down. And each floor we went down, it was just more and more impressive because each floor, there's a little bit more to do. On the hospitality floor where we've got the Cumbria Lounge, the United Lounge, and the boardroom, I mean, that space just looks fantastic.

“There's still quite a bit of work to be done. Everybody's pushing hard, but it's the right thing to do. When it's completed, I think the supporters are going to see it and say, wow, this is amazing.

“I've had questions about whether fans will be able to look at everything. And yes, we're going to make that available. We want people to see everything that's gone into the facilities.

“We then went down onto the administrative floor which was actually shocking to us. The amount of space going in there is unbelievable, and the staff are having to work through that as holes are going through the walls and windows are going through the drywall where our existing offices are.

“That's amazing to be able to work through that. But then you stick your head through that window, and you see all the new space that's coming along, the new classrooms, the new offices. Things that we really need as a club, it's going to give us what we need to operate and continue to grow.”

Work is also progressing quickly on the Warwick Road End: “That's been a little bit of a struggle for us because visually through the videos, it's very difficult to kind of understand exactly what's going on there. We see it on the plans, so we know what the eventual outcome is going to be. But then to see that in person is tremendous. 

“The pylon coming down and the disability space right there is going to be first class, and I'm so proud that we're able to offer that to the folks that need that. Then the fan zones, the new turnstiles, the concessions, and as everybody knows, the bathrooms.

“I mean, there are actually going to be bathrooms there that deserve to be there and that I would use. The Fan Zone and the concession space behind is just going to look like an entire new area for everybody there.”

Are we still on track for all of the stadium work to be complete before the start of the season? “I'm optimistic,” he said. “It's a struggle, but we've got McKnight & Sons doing the changing areas and the Warwick End. We've got Fred Story and Story Contracting doing the East End. It is a tremendous amount of work.

“One thing I want everybody to understand is how much work is getting done during this short off-season, and it is a short off-season. So we're optimistic, we're pushing hard, but I also know there's unknowns that can surface. We've certainly had a couple pop up that as you start dismantling and taking things down, there's things that you weren't expecting that suddenly you have to fix that and add on to it.

“So I'm optimistic. If we’re not complete for the start of the season, we're going to be very close.” 

Watch more from this interview HERE.

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