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15. The Business End!

There are now only 7 weekends left until the changing rooms are being delivered, so we have entered the business end at The Athletic!!

Things are moving again at the ground so I thought it's a good time to update on where we are and where we're heading in the coming weeks as it's going to get busy!

The Pitch:-

In the last blog we mentioned that the pitch was almost complete and was due to be handed over to us - unfortunately this hasn't been the case! The heat-waves put a stop to progress and the pitch started going backwards which was worrying!

The state of the pitch in August 2022

The pitch suffered heat damage and it turns out the only thing that survives hot spells unscathed are weeds! Bald patches were appearing all over the pitch and the rest was getting long and couldn't get cut as it would've damaged it further. We had weeds appearing across it which we haven't seen on the pitch since we started the renovation works!

During this period we were still keeping the grassed areas outside of the pitch cut down oursleves. Turns out I've got a severe allergy to pollen that I didn't know anything about which resulted in me not being able to open my eyes properly for 3 days! 🤷🏻‍♂️🙈

I gladly let Ev have a go of the mower to do this work while I was out of action, which was great at the time but now the bugger doesn't want to get off the thing!!

State on it!🤦🏻‍♂️ And Ev 'cutting' the grass surrounding the pitch

After speaking with the contractor we're using for the works they assured us that the rain will turn things back around. They will weed, feed and cut it down to playing height and hand it over to the club by the end of September. They came and cut it last week and it is looking a little better already so fingers crossed! 🤞🏻

Starting to look a bit better after some rain and a cut start of September 2022

The changing rooms:-

The delivery date has now been put back from Oct 24th to the 31st which gives us an extra week to get things ready. It also means we have had to put back our 'official' opening day until after Wales leave the World Cup (as champions no doubt!⚽️🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🏆) due to us hopefully having representatives from the FAW there to open it for us. This will likely be end of November/December.

We will hopefully get the electric connected and made live soon, we have been on hold with this for some time as the electric box needs to be installed onto a blockwork structure - which we needed to get built! Thankfully a very kind builder called Richard Griffiths (who happens to be one of my oldest friends) called to the ground this weekend and built it for us free of charge!! Thank you Richy boy, especially considering he's always supported the wrong shaped ball game!👍🏻💙⚽️

Our electric box getting built Sept 2022

Next Friday we are having some testing works carried out on the floor in the area where the changing rooms will be sited. Our structural engineers have recommended this as if the ground is strong enough we won't need to install foundations. Instead we can just install pads consisting of paving slabs for the changing rooms to sit on. This will be a much quicker and cheaper operation so we are hoping for some good news this week. Either way the foundations will start in the next couple of weekends!

Surrounding the ground:-

The past couple of weekends we've been doing some of my favourite hobbies - weeding and cutting back bushes !🤮🤯

The wall and fence at the front of the ground was starting to look a bit rough, with grass and weeds growing over it all so that needed sorting!

Before and after of the front of the ground

We've also been meaning to cut back the bushes overhanging the parking bays on Thomas Street for some time but haven't been able to do anything due to a bird nesting in it!

Nesting season is now over so me and my little helper (who is now charging £10 a day!) were over there for 6 hours yesterday hacking away at them. (I did check and the nest was empty by the way!)

We cut back as much as we possibly could, but before we get anymore complaints, there were some cars in the way so we left those parts for another day!

Those bushes are absolutely disgusting, full of thorns and my arms look like they've been through a mincer!

Most of the bushes are now cut back on Thomas Street

Other news:-

I mentioned in the last blog that we had applied for a grant from Comic Relief in order to be able to order the benches and other furniture required for the changing rooms. I'm delighted to say that last week we were informed that we have been successful with the application and will receive the £10k that we requested. All of this money will go towards the furniture and IF there is any left over it will go towards training equipment for our teams to be used at the ground.

There is still plenty to be done in the coming weeks and more updates and photos will come out as and when we do the work.

Thanks for reading, KJ 👍🏻⚽️💙

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