Derry City chairman Philip O'Doherty expects new Brandywell stand to be completed for 2024 season
DERRY CITY chairman Mr Philip O'Doherty insists 'no shortcuts' will be taken in the club's bid to erect a permanent terraced stand at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium but he expects work to be completed in time for the start of the 2024 Airtricity League season.
Brandywell owners Derry City and Strabane District Council stated the club had requested additional capacity for the 'forthcoming season' in its report to the local authority's Health and Community Committee, disclosed at a meeting at Guildhall on Thursday.
Strategic Director at Council, Mr Barry O'Hagan said expectations that proposed work would be completed in time for the new season, which begins on February 10th, were 'completely unrealistic' given the timescale of the project.
"They (Derry City) have a project management team in place but in terms of their expectations of building a stand and getting it up for this season - we have to go through planning, we have to go through building control, we have to go through community consultation.
"There will have to be a design process which normally lasts a period of four months at best and sometimes six months and then an appointment of a contractor; so it’s completely unrealistic that there would be a stand done on our ground for this season. So it's up to the club now.”
However, Mr O'Doherty has since clarified that the plan was always to have the new covered stand at the Brandywell Road end of the ground in place for the start of next year!
Derry City intend to foot the bill for any costs and will work in partnership with Council on the new structure which is hoped to accommodate between 900 and 1,100 supporters, depending on planning permission. The project is at the design stage at present and Mr O'Doherty anticipates planning and construction to begin midway through the 2023 season.
"The plan is to have it ready for 2024 because we have to go through a planning application and then move to the construction stage," he explained. "And major construction can only be done in a window around October this year to get it ready for 2024. So there was no way it could be done this year.
"We have a structural engineer working on this but they have to do a full planning application and there will be no shortcuts taken. We're going to get it tendered as soon as the drawings are done.
"The club is paying for it," he confirmed. "Hopefully we'll be ready to go in the middle of the year in terms of planning and construction but it will be next year before there will be anybody in the stand.”
The current capacity of the Brandywell is 3,700 but the proposed new terrace would increase that by at least 900 which will go some way to meet the significant demand for matchday tickets and help create 'a cauldron-type atmosphere'.
"It's going to be around 1,000," he estimated. "It could be 900 or it could be 1,100 depending on what's approved. I think it will be very popular with the younger fans in particular and it's obviously going to be priced lower than seated tickets.
"It will create a real cauldron-type atmosphere which will only help the team achieve bigger and better things."