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Monday 16 March 2009
From the Dorchester programme

After each home game we publish articles from the programme that provide news or information about the club and Trust and which haven't previously appeared on this site.

This linked feature updates fans on various recent and planned developments around the stadium.

The content may vary slightly from the programme as the original article is subject to sub-editing and may have been, for example, shortened slightly to fit the page.

Good afternoon and welcome to the fans, players and officials of Dorchester Town.

Today’s page is an update on things that are going on, or being planned, around the ground. First, as fans entering the Tempest End will have seen, we have our new first aid room. It occupies most of a purpose-built portakabin, with the remaining space set aside for much-needed storage for matchday safety equipment.

You may think that it is a bit large for a first aid room – I’ve certainly not seen one like it at any other ground this season. But we are regulated by Kingston Council and they require that our ground is run and managed to the standards of the ‘Green Guide’, which sets out standards for sports stadia. In effect we have to apply the standards for a league ground. As a result, the first aid room has to be at least 15 square metres and the only way we could find such space was a portakabin.

In the last couple of weeks we have furnished the weights room, a small area we’ve set aside inside the stadium for the players to exercise. In practice, I expect it will mainly be used in the close season, with players encouraged to come in and keep fit in May and June.

As is obvious, we haven’t replaced our TV gantry, which was taken down to allow Setanta to erect theirs for the televised Wycombe game. We will decide what to do when the season is over. The reason is that, if we were to be promoted, we understand that Setanta would build a gantry the first time we appear on TV and then the gantry would stay all season. I don’t like spending money when it isn’t necessary so we will see out this season with the current arrangements and then make whatever plans we need for next year.

Very soon, an FA representative will visit us to sign off the changes we’ve made to comply with Grade B, the required standard for the Blue Square South. At the same time, we will be asking for feedback on where we fall short of Grade A, i.e. what we need for the Blue Square Premier. (I know that talk of promotion makes some fans nervous about tempting fate, so please note that we are merely assuming that we will be promoted sooner or later.)

We already know that we need to increase the number of turnstiles to eight. We plan to do this by making use of the extra land we will get when the perimeter lease is signed off. A couple of weeks ago we held a meeting where volunteers representing our ticketing, stewarding and stadium design groups met to debate the best place to site the new turnstiles and how to manage full segregation, which will be needed more often when we are promoted. The meeting also allowed us to consider the pros and cons of issuing terrace season tickets for designated areas of the ground.

Personally, I found it to be one of the most useful meetings we’ve held, as pretty well all the possible options were explored. The issues are far more complicated than we had imagined and so we are now checking our thinking by getting the views of safety and stadium experts from the council and from the FA. When we’ve done that I’ll update you on the outline plans but one thing is certain; if we are promoted this season, then improvement work will need to be completed by this time next year. I was wondering what to do with all my spare time…..

Enjoy the game.