Fans' Liaison Commitee Meeting October 2002

Last updated : 06 November 2007 By Mike Lammiman
Before it was built, Boothferry Park, along with every new stadium this side of the Watford Gap, was dubbed the Wembley of the North, a tag it never lived up to. On the day that demolition of the actual Wembley Stadium began, we got a glimpse of a structure more suited to the claim. The members of the Fans' Forum were treated a guided tour of a building site that in less than 12 weeks will become the magnificent new Ark.

Very little on the inside appears to be anywhere near ready - one exception being the dressing rooms. A lesson Jan Molby could well heed - get things right in the dressing room and they'll sort themselves out on the pitch. Someone very astute thought of that. The City dressing room has mainly amber tiles with a black line of tiles above them. Hull FC get their own black and white one. Pearson joked that the (single) away team dressing has no heating or hot water - as John Beck would no doubt prefer.

The tour, led by Adam Pearson, started with a brief description of the facilities available outside the stadium. The Sports Hall will host a top level basketball team, as the Hall will have the 1500 seats required at this level. There are 2 astro turf pitches - one sand based, the other water based. The latter will enable Hull to host international hockey as a water based surface is a pre-requisite of this. These pitches will be available to the public and it is envisaged that there will be a large five-a-side league based here.

And so to the stadium itself. It will house the largest conference space in Hull, capable of holding 350 people (surprisingly small given Hull's vision of being a top 10 city). There will also be a smaller corporate venue within the stadium. We were shown the corporate hospitality boxes which will be priced at around £1000 per person and will hold 10 people. Some boxes will be available for individual hire, although the target customer is the corporate one.

Very little of the concourse areas are near completion. The food and drink kiosks are breeze-block shells. To ensure that everyone it served at half time, beer will be ready poured into plastic glasses. Unfortunately it's going to be Tetley's or Foster's - the best we can hope for is a pint of Smooth. As your rep I did request something more palatable, and as ever Pearson made sympathetic noises and promised to "see what he could do".

It's hard to believe that the target date will be met. Adam Pearson says it's anticipated that the stadium will be useable three days before the first game (against Sunderland, unless they are still in the Worthington Cup). The actual completion date is likely to be some time in January.

The tour was completed as we christened the West Stand by Ian Farrow leading a rousing rendition of "Give us a Ceeeeee...", to the bemusement of Adam Pearson. The quality of the acoustics were apparent when we returned to the Visitor's Centre to be greeted by a late arriver enquiring "Was that you lot singing in there?" Rest assured the atmosphere of the Kempton will be recreated.

Anyone who has seen Fever Pitch will understand the feeling of walking out of a vomitary (for the uninitiated it's the technical term for that bit where you walk up into the stand) and seeing the inside of the stadium for the first time. It's breath-taking. It can be no coincidence that the best performance and biggest win this season came the day after the players toured the stadium. Let's hope they give the players a tour before every home match.