What have a Chelsea Blue, a Manchester Red and an Oldham Blue got in common?
Besides all being sick of the site of rain, they are the on-site team responsible for the construction of the New North Stand.
Football is usually the topic of discussion in the cabins at dinner times and the banter is usually flying. It’s safe to say from reports that I get back from site that the site manager, Dave Scott, a Manchester United season ticket holder (I still don’t know how he got through his interview) is currently the butt of a fair few jokes about his floundering team. It’s not just our staff that are ripping into him either, delivery drivers know the score as well so after a number of years giving it out he’s having to live with the stick coming back the other way. To be fair to him, he is a Manchester lad who goes to the games and always has and there aren’t that many of them around.
It’s just part of the camaraderie that helps form a dedicated happy team. Whilst the site manager is a red, the Contracts Manager is a Chelsea fan. Hampshire born and raised and his southern accent booms across the chilly Boundary Park air. Working with Dave and Terry is James Whitehead, probably as big a Latics fan as me. He deals with deliveries and moving materials around for the various contractors with the telescopic handler which strangely he manages to strategically place at the end of the week to aid match day viewing for whoever draws the short straw of “ballboy duties.”
The friendships that have been formed over time though have been severely tested these last few weeks. Cold, wet and dark days are not the best working conditions and I have been assured that it’s probably not best for me to go in the drying room at the end of the day when the lads and the groundwork contractors are getting out of their sodden work clothes. As James says what is said in there is best left there.
In the last blog I said that there would be more to follow on the steel frame for the new stand. The contract for the steel frame has been placed with James Killelea & Co of Rossendale. So no the stand isn’t being prefabricated in France and shipped over, a subject of much speculation on various social media sites. Killelea’s must have been involved in the construction of new grounds or new stands of at least 30 grounds. They have done Derby County’s new ground and the Brittannia Stadium at Stoke, various stands at Villa Park, Anfield and Bradford to name a few. At the time of writing, weekly supplies of steel are being delivered to Killelea’s fabrication base from Tata steel and various sections of the stand are being fabricated and stored ready for delivery to site. Killelea’s will also install the precast concrete terracing for the 2,642 seats. The terracing is already in production and will be delivered to site to fit in with the steel frame erection programme.