Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Watford to partially open Vicarage Road East Stand in new year
A section of the new East Stand at Vicarage Road could be open to supporters as early as the new year.
The Joint Contracts Tribunal documents were signed on Monday when a substantial six-figure sum was also paid as a deposit, which meant demolition work was able to begin on the same day.
The stand is a multi-million pound development which will have concrete foundations and rows with steel framework.
It will house around 3,000 Watford fans but the design of the structure means it would be easy to expand in the future if required.
The new structure will be built in sections from left to right; initially starting from the yellow railings at the Vicarage Road end of the stand to the players’ tunnel.
This will enable the new changing rooms for the players and officials to be in place before the current facilities, which are to the right of the players’ tunnel, are demolished.
This means a large section of the new stand should be ready in the new year and it is hoped the whole stand will be open in spring.
Alternative dug-outs will be installed and there will be temporary kiosks used this season until those areas can be fully fitted in the summer.
Work started this week but the plans are flexible and changes are still being made, which means the club are reluctant to set exact dates for completion.
This week the wall at the front of the stand, up to the technical area, was knocked down and replaced with wooden hoardings.
Part of the old stairs at the Vicarage Road end of the East Stand will remain but the railings beyond that section were removed this week.
The club are planning to move the temporary building which houses the members of staff who control the big screen to above the Click-and-Collect shop, which is on the corner of Occupation Road and Vicarage Road.
The temporary gantry used by some of the media will also need to be removed before the more heavy-duty demolition begins.
Local firm Gaywoods are completing the demolition work with the stand being built by stadia construction specialists GL Events.
The current East Stand was closed to supporters in 2008 due to safety concerns.
The media have continued to use the facilities and the players’ families and friends started sitting in the stand towards the end of last season.
Watford chief executive Scott Duxbury said shortly after his arrival last year that an East Stand would be built once the average attendance was around the 15,000 mark, with the Vicarage Road capacity around 17,000 if you exclude restricted view seats.
The attendances at the end of the 2012/13 campaign indicated there was the demand for a new stand and the average attendance so far this season have reiterated that.