Wakefield Trinity’s East Stand has come down as coach Wille Poching looks up the table.
The Yorkshire club are fighting to maintain the Super League status gained in 1998, when Featherstone Rovers were beaten in the then-First Division Grand Final, and are four points above Toulouse Olympique, current occupants of the relegation berth.
That’s amid ongoing redevelopment of historic Belle Vue, now known as the Be Well Support Stadium, which started after the home game against Wigan on July 3 and which chairman John Minards says is set to continue regardless of the outcome of the survival scrap.
“The money, largely from a Section 106 agreement (under which a development company will build on the site at Newmarket, near the M62, which had originally been earmarked for a new stadium) and Wakefield Council’s sports resilience fund is ring fenced and in place,” said Minards.
“Obviously the position we’re in isn’t the greatest of places to be, and while it’s sensible to plan for a variety of scenarios, we’re all doing everything we can to ensure we stay in Super League.
“In terms of the ground redevelopment, we’re on course, with the old East Stand now demolished, which we knew would take the time it has, partly because of the reclamation of seats and bricks, which fans had requested, and also the need to be careful and to follow the necessary safety guidelines in removing the old asbestos-tiled roof.
“Once that was done, things moved fairly quickly, and the contractors are now ready to start laying the foundations of the new stand.”
That structure on the Doncaster Road side of the ground will provide seating for 2,500 as well as hospitality facilities and new changing rooms, and Minards is hopeful it will be at least partially open before the end of next season.
Redevelopment of the existing North terrace (nearest the city centre) will take place over the close-season, as will the installation of a new hybrid pitch, which will be mainly grass but have a mesh underlay to aid root protection.
“We’ve decided to go with the new pitch this year, because the season finishing earlier than usual due to the World Cup provides maximum time to get it laid and established,” added Minards.
“We weighed up the options, including a 4G (artificial) pitch, but decided on the hybrid after taking a look at similar surfaces, including that at Siddal.
“It has the advantage of being natural, but being able to cope with extra use, and that community stadium element is key to our plans going forward as well the funding.”
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