DERRY CITY Chief Executive, Sean Barrett, insists it was a ‘welcome relief’ to see demolition work on Derry City’s ageing Glentoran Stand finally get underway yesterday.
Local firm, T.K. Brolly Demolition, moved into Brandywell yesterday morning to begin work as the first stage of the demolition process began with the removing of seats in one of the oldest structures in Irish football.
Work will continue throughout the week with bulldozers expected to take down the walls of the dilapidated stand and a section of the site boundary wall adjoining the Lone Moor Road tomorrow (Wednesday).
The demolition of the Glentoran Stand is the first phase in the multi-million pound redevelopment of the stadium.
And Mr Barrett is hopeful that work on the building of a new 3,000 seater stand with new changing and office facilities will then begin in earnest.
“The work has started and the stand should definitely be down by the time of our next match against Bray Wanderers,” predicted Mr Barrett. “Hopefully they will then start work on the rest of it as soon as possible.
It’s great for the club and great for the city and I cant wait to see it when it’s finished.Sean Barrett
“It’s a big relief,” he added. “I was on the Board of Directors 20 years ago when they were talking about the redevelopment of the Brandywell.
“Two decades on they’re finally starting the work and the wall is going as well, so we’re delighted.
“It’s badly needed. Okay we have great memories from years ago but it’s time to move on. The facilities that are going to be underneath the new stand are going to be fabulous and I can’t wait until its finished.”
In addition to the construction of a new stand on the Lone Moor Road side of the ground a new 4G pitch will also be laid, replacing the grass surface which has been maintained there since the stadium was built during the early 1900’s.
And Mr Barrett claims the redevelopment of the stadium and the new artificial surface will be to the benefit of the entire local community.
“It’s for everybody in the whole Brandywell area and the city, not just the club,” he said.
“This can be used 24/7 if they want to. We’ll have a proper 4G pitch which will be maintained to the highest standard. It’s a facility for everyone,” he insisted.
“It’s going to be a sports facility open seven days a week not just once a fortnight. We want to engage in the community and become the community club that we should be.”
So it’s the beginning of exciting times off the pitch for the Brandywell club and Mr Barrett agrees that it’s important to mirror that progress on the pitch as Paul Hegarty’s men continue to battle for their very Premier Division survival.
“There has been a big pick-up in performances in the last couple of weeks and I’m hopeful they can get us out of the trouble we’re in and there’s no reason they won’t.
“We need to be in the Premiership next season.
“But it’s great for the club and great for the city and I cant wait to see it when it’s finished.”