Date:Thursday December 6 2007
The concluding transcript of the 'ground' section of the meeting with Karl Oyston and Matt Williams.
Platos; Probably the last point on the building is, it's a bit of an eyesore that piece that's cut out at the end there (on the South end of the West stand) like someone's been there with a tin-opener.
Karl; It's going to be an eyesore 'till the South West's built.
Platos; Why was it done? Why was the hole cut out?
Karl; So we could load all the plasterboard and metal studding in to do the fit-out on the 42,000 sq. ft. of space that we rent to the PCT at the moment. Also all the builder's rubbish went out through the hole as well.
Sandgroanun; It seems like a general thing like the signage thing that dragged on didn't it, all the issue about the BSA y'know spending money on the signage, it's an impression of the club isn't it?
Karl (interrupting); Sorry, we are just diving around aren't we...we set off on chipboard and panels...we've not dealt with panels have we...are we going to deal with panels?
Toronto_Pool (interrupting); Well panels is the same thing as the signage, it's giving an impression about the club.
Karl (interrupting); So are we going to deal with one thing at once or are we just going to skip around...
Toronto_Pool (interrupting); Well come on, you know the panels is the same topic as the signage, it gives a bad impression of the club.
Karl; Are we going to skip about or are we going to deal with one...
Toronto_Pool (interrupting); We're not skipping about...
SeasideEssexXile (interrupting); Right, we're happy with the panels, you've cleared up about the chipboard being part of a pre-let which we're not going to talk about...
Sandgroanun; I just want to pick up there, y'know you go to St Mary's like a week ago and I think I saw you outside there looking at it and how impressive it was, y'know. First impressions as an away fan are just as important as home fans isn't it, it's pride in your club isn't it. That's what I'm saying, as fans you have a pride in the ground, not just in the playing staff themselves don't you. It's a general comment I'm making, not specific about building the South stand, I'm just saying about y'know, being here now and what it conveys. A lot of it, and I live hundreds of miles away, I deal with Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday fans and I'm jealous of them and what they've got, they've got a fantastic following and great grounds y'know what I mean? It's just a general comment that's all, I'm not asking you to sign a cheque now, I'm just saying I'm delighted to go to Wolves, delighted to go to Leicester, fantastic grounds - one of the benefits of being in The Championship - it means a lot rather than going to Gillingham as you've quoted Matt, quite rightly, we're in The Championship and we've got a Championship team but have we got a Championship stadium?
Karl (interrupting); Sorry, what's your point?
Sandgroanun; Well no, I'm just making a general one, it's about the impression of the ground and the signage is one thing I think could have been quickly dealt with. Y'know it doesn't cost a lot of money to put a decent sign up...rather than it is, BSA organising charity functions in order to pay for it, Karl. Just a personal observation...
Karl (interrupting); You'd rather have a fancy sign than a player?
Sandgroanun; Well god, if it costs that much, I will be worried! If it's a choice between Andy Welsh and a sign probably yes...
(laughter, Jerry motions to Sandgroanun)
...topical, topical, topical Jerry!!
Toronto_Pool; I think we've gotta move on from the ground now really...
SeasideEssexXile (interrupting); Can I just quickly talk about the sign? One of the quotes about the sign Chris, as you rightly said, was two seasons ago when we were struggling and we never went up, we stayed above relegation, one of the quotes attributed to yourself on Radio Lancashire - you were on the phone - was 'if we stay up, I'll put a sign up'. We stayed up, no sign appeared...
Karl (interrupting); Did I?
SeasideEssexXile (interrupting); Radio Lancs so I...y'know, Radio Lancs is Radio Lancs. We had a function purely for the simple 120th anniversary it was, part of the funding was that we made money for signage. From the 120th anniversary...
Matt, then Karl (interrupting); That was Chris Hull. That was nothing to do with the club.
SeasideEssexXile (interrupting); So that's nothing to do with the signage?
Karl (interrupting); No, I didn't say that, I said it was nothing to do with the club. Chris Hull ran the event to raise money for signage, not the club.
SeasideEssexXile; Right, so our question next would be directed to Chris Hull and not yourself?
Karl; Yes. To see how much is in the pot. Chris Hull has sent me...
(interruption by George Oyston)
...Chris has sent a couple of designs through which have gone out to our sign contractors but I am aware there's nowhere near enough money in that signage pot...
SeasideEssexXile; Well that's fine because those that went to Coventry actually walked to the ground and looked at the fantastic signage outside, maybe 100 yards, wondering how much that cost, that's a different ground and again, talk about impressions that people get y'know...
Karl (interrupting); My problem with some of these, and we can go on endlessly with some of these other grounds in The Championship where clubs have put themselves in horrific debt and I think the stat is on Coventry they've got to average 5,000 more than they can fit in the ground to break even. Which is terrifying!
SeasideEssexXile; It's fantastic if you look at...if you remember the old South stand, it used to say 'Welcome To Bloomfield Road' right across the back of it, which was a fantastic 'we know where we're at', this is Bloomfield Road, you come to Blackpool...
Karl (interrupting); You knew where you were 'cause of all the rust and flaking paintwork and dropping sheets and all that...
SeasideEssexXile (interrupting); We won't talk about rust, 'cause we're right underneath it (points outside, laughter) so y'know with the greatest of respect, for those of us old enough to remember it, we knew exactly where we were. If I was an away fan coming here now, I'd be thinking exactly...
Karl (interrupting); I think we're all old enough, it was only '98 when I, first time I came down here and the ground hadn't altered since the record gate against Wolves, other than...I think, what was that, 37,000 people in nineteen thirty...
SeasideEssexXile (interrupting); 38,000...
Karl (interrupting); The ground hadn't altered at all...
SeasideEssexXile (interrupting); It had structurally actually because we were the first ground ever to have an all-seater stand, the scratching sheds...
Karl (interrupting); It hadn't altered physically, the size of stands, hadn't altered since that date and the capacity was down to about 10,500 I think, of which 3,000 were seats. 7,500 were standing. That's what it was like when I took over.
Date:Thursday December 6 2007
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