Cardiff City Director Steve Borley today confirmed progress on the current Ninian Stand expansion is on schedule and due to be delivered on time ahead of the upcoming 2014-15 Sky Bet Championship season.
Building work on increasing the capacity of Cardiff City Stadium has been ongoing since last November, with the main structure nearing its final phase of development in a move that will see the stadium increase its total capacity to just under 33,500.
ahead of the arrival of the seats, which are due to be installed in the Ninian Stand development next week, Steve gave us an update on the expansion.CardiffCityFC.co.ukSpeaking to
The stand has developed quickly over the summer. Are you happy with how it’s progressed and are we still on target for completion?
Steve:It’s been a challenging job. It was always going to be a tough build to undertake in a relatively short period of time, but I believe that we employed the right professional development and construction teams to ensure that it is delivered on time.
The contractor we chose to undertake the project was the Buckingham Group and they have huge experience in building stadiums and sports venues in difficult circumstances. Their experience in delivering projects such as the expansion to Wolves’ Molineux Stadium, Brighton’s Amex Stadium and the development at Silverstone Racing Circuit gave us the confidence to use them.
The expansion is clearly a signal of the long term ambition of the club.
Steve:If you look back at when the stadium was originally conceived, the original thought process was for a 60,000 seat stadium. The geometry of the stadium is set to hold that capacity with regards to its location. The idea to move from a capacity in the region of 20,000 to up to a 50,000 capacity would see the stadium built up around the existing envelope - as can be seen with the current phase one development of the Ninian Stand.
The original design was built in a way to ensure that any expansion could be made with minimal effect and disruption to the current structure and our supporters during the season. Any expansions would always have to be started during the season and this stadium has allowed us to do that without effecting our existing capacity levels.
How many new Ninian Stand seats are actually being installed and what will the new capacity be for 2014/15? Also, can you tell us about the seat design and your thoughts behind it?
Steve:This adds another 5,338 seats to our capacity which is already 28,000, that’ll take us just short of a 33,500 capacity for Cardiff City Stadium.
The seats have been brought in to match the quality of the seating currently seen around the stadium and have been brought in from Australia. They are a quality, comfortable and robust seat for supporters to watch their football from. In terms of their layout and design, we’ve tried to encompass a link with our supporters by using the Ayatollah above the current design of the bluebird wings on existing stadium seats.
It’s a capacity that could well be maximised very early on with the UEFA Super Cup Final between Real Madrid and Sevilla set to take place here on 12th August. It’s quite an exciting fixture to have here.
Steve:It’s great to have such an event to open the extended stadium and you couldn’t get much more of a high profile event than the UEFA Super Cup to do so. We look forward to welcoming two giants of Spanish football in August in Champions League winners Real Madrid and Europa League winners Sevilla. We’re very fortunate to have secured this fixture and much like our Euro 2016 international qualifying matches with the FAW we are honoured to facilitate such a high profile event here in Cardiff.
Will the hospitality areas be completed and used for the Super Cup and/or season ahead?
Steve:Level four of the new stand is going to be fitted out initially as a slight upgrade of your usual concourse area, in between what can be found in the current Grandstand on Level 2 and Level 4. The long-term plan for Level 4 of the Ninian Stand will be to house a top quality restaurant facility with the two wings either side of the central concourse providing commercial opportunities for boxes etc.
What other Ninian Stand enhancements can we expect? A new restaurant? A possible museum area?
Steve:It’s a big structure. We’re bringing up to 40,000 sq ft of extra space to the stadium, which we can of course put to other use, perhaps using the space for educational facilities or other projects within the community. We’re also looking into the option of possible office space within the new structure, releasing space in the current Grandstand.
We hope our league results add to demand for tickets. Are you personally looking forward to the season ahead?
Steve:It was great last season to see our record attendance broken on many occasions and breaking the 28,000 mark. Given current applications for the Super Cup final we look to be heading for full capacity, which will see that record attendance for Cardiff City Stadium broken initially - and we hope with a successful season ahead that the demand for the extra capacity will increase game-by-game so we can break our own club records. Now everyone has the opportunity to come down and support Cardiff City because we have the capacity to match the demand we saw during our 2012/13 promotion run and last season where we were at capacity in the Premier League for many fixtures.
Finally, it’s just five years since the club moved into its new ground. This expansion underlines the progress that has been made in those seasons since, don’t you think?
Steve:It was great getting into the stadium in 2009. Initially with a 25,000 seat capacity, the ambitions were to try and build the club as much as possible. The stadium has helped Cardiff City increase its average attendance massively, attracting investment to the club and local area and bringing worldwide interest. The accolades we have received for the work done in the Family Stand, our continuing efforts to improve the match-day experience in other areas and our treatment of away supporters have all been achieved with the help of this great facility we have. There’s still a lot of hard work to do of course, but the future looks bright.