Inspection of Football Conference Ground - Report
Club Name: Altrincham AFC
Ground: Moss Lane
Date of Visit: Thursday 4th February 2010
Attendance: Andrea Brown – Customer Services Manager – The Football League, Eddie Walsh – Security and Operations Advisor – The Football League, Nick Jones – Customer Services Manager – The Football League, Ian Smith – Football Licensing Authority, Helen Thompson – The Football Conference, Peter Hunter – Ground Grading Co-Coordinator, Football Conference, Alan Finney – Licensing Section – Trafford Borough Council, Andrew Shaw – Director – Altrincham FC, Grahame Rowley – Vice Chairman – Altrincham FC, Derek Wilshaw – Secretary / Director – Altrincham FC.
Altrincham FC’s name was Broadheath FC from their foundation in 1891 until it was changed to the present name in 1903. They gained promotion to the Football Conference in 2005 as winners of the Conference North play-offs and were uniquely reprieved from relegation for three successive seasons (2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08) as a result of other clubs’ issues. 2008-09 proved to be a much better campaign however, with the club spending much of the season in mid-table, and they eventually achieved safety from relegation with two games to spare. The ground is also used by Manchester United Reserves. The purpose of the ground visit was to set out where Altrincham stand in terms of applying for membership of the Football League.
The stadium is located in the centre of Altrincham
Tenure of the Ground:
The land at Moss Lane, Altrincham is owned by Trafford Borough Council and is leased to Altrincham FC. The club has a 40 year lease on the land with 17 years still to run. The club has provided a copy of this lease agreement to The Football League.
Interest in the Ground:
No director or material shareholder of the club or any connected person or company has a financial interest in the ground.
Third Party Option:
The club’s occupation of the ground is not subject to any third party option.
The club is subject to the following restrictions: Floodlights must be off by 10.15pm
The ground is not charged by way of security.
Altrincham FC use the stadium for all their home matches and additionally the stadium is used by Manchester United Reserves.
The club has no intention of moving to a new stadium.
The safety certificate provides for the accommodation for 3328 covered standing, 1603 uncovered standing and 1154 covered seating, giving a total of 6085 for the whole ground. This is currently being reviewed by the Local Authority and Football Licensing Authority and we await final calculations from them.
The club’s last floodlight test dated 2nd October 2009 showed the average lux value to be 452.5 with the minimum lux at any one point of 241. This is sufficient for the current requirements of The Football League.
External Boundary Wall:
The external boundary wall is of sound construction, secure on all sides and sufficient to deter would-be intruders, with the minimum height of 2.2metres.
Pitch Perimeter protection:
There is appropriate pitch protection in accordance with the requirements of the Local Authority.
Terracing is currently being reviewed by the Local Authority and Football Licensing Authority. Generally, terracing appears to be in decent condition; however, certain areas thought to have been included in capacity calculations may not be usable.
All seating within the ground consists of individual plastic seats with backrests. There is the appropriate number of seats situated in the modern part of the ground and they look to be in good condition and to conform with the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds.
No segregation plans have been provided. Currently supporters can mix but segregation should be available without too much alteration. When planning future development of the stadium, segregation plans need to be agreed with the Local Authority and police and will need to include stadium access and egress together with provision of refreshment and toilet facilities. Future segregation plans will need to take into account the provision to accommodate 200 visiting supporters under cover within a year of promotion.
Visiting supporters are currently situated in the East Stand. This is an uncovered area. They currently access the stadium via the South/East corner where refreshment and toilet facilities are also provided. This area also provides passage for home supporters in the South/East “Family Stand”
There are 13 turnstiles in good condition that feed all parts of the ground. There is some concern regarding turnstile entry for visiting supporters as this is a mixed area. This would need to be taken into account with any contingency plans for segregation. There is currently no turnstile monitoring system in place.
We were informed that there is an adequate PA system in place which is operated from the press box and covers all internal areas of the ground. The Football League and no doubt the Local Authority will require the PA system to be linked to a dedicated control room with override facility on entry to The Football League. There is no external PA facility.
The Football League was informed that there is an adequate emergency lighting system installed. This is something that the Local Authority would look at in order to comply with the ground safety certificate.
Ground Control Room
There is currently an office in the family block that is used as a ground control room on match days. This would not be suitable from The Football League point of view. There would need to be an appropriate, fully equipped and dedicated ground control room created before the start of any season in The Football League.
The current CCTV system is limited to the south side of the ground for ground security purposes and not crowd management. On entry to The Football League the ground would require a CCTV system incorporating both security and crowd management both internally and externally in accordance with the requirements of the safety certificate.
There are six numbered exits situated around the ground. These must be approved by the Local Authority.
All exits are signposted. These are non-illuminated green signs. These must be approved by the Local Authority.
There are 12 seats reserved for the press. The press area is located at the rear of the main stand with an excellent view of the pitch. Although we were informed that these facilities are generally not used and whilst the press area meets the requirements with regards to available seats and power points, it needs updating and is not appropriate for press requirements at the present time. Any changes should take into account the change of Football League Regulations from Season 2011/12.
There is a Director’s Box that is clearly marked. There are 27 seats in both the home and away Director’s area and they are of a comparable standard.
The Directors' Room has space for 18 people.
Inspection of Football Conference Ground Report Part 2
Due to the covering of snow we were unable to check the parking facilities however; we were informed that there was appropriate marked parking available for six visiting Directors and Club Officials, the visiting team coach and match officials.
There is one first aid room situated within the ground. This is a permanent structure. This facility should be looked at in conjunction with the medical authorities to ensure that there is the appropriate equipment and maintenance. This should link in with the ground contingency plans.
There are currently only two refreshment facilities within the ground. One is a mobile catering unit and one is a new permanent facility of excellent standard. There is scope to bring in additional mobile catering units. Future developments should consider plans for permanent facilities and should take into account segregation arrangements to ensure that there are appropriate facilities in each area of the ground.
The players currently have access to a lounge area with a bar.
There is currently no additional facility for entertaining visitors and guests of the club other than the Directors' Room.
There are currently a number of toilet facilities in the ground for men, women and disabled people. The majority that are provided are portable facilities, however, there has recently been a new black constructed that was in excellent condition. Future developments should include plans for permanent facilities and should take into account segregation arrangements to ensure that there are appropriate facilities in each area of the ground.
There is currently provision of one disabled toilet which is of a good standard. Other disabled facilities within the ground are limited. Consideration should be given to the Disability Discrimination Act. The League issues guidance to member clubs on this.
There are separate dressing rooms provided for both teams.
The home dressing room is 28sq. Metres and includes two urinals, one WC and one washbasin. There is only provision for five showers so an additional one would need to be added. There is also no massage table situated within the room.
The visitor’s dressing room only just meets the current required size at 18sq. Metres. It includes two urinals, one WC and one wash basin. There is only provision for five showers so an additional one would need to be added. There is a massage table present within the room.
There is a separate match officials' dressing room that is 10.2sq. metres, which is above the required size. There is one WC, one washbasin and one shower. An additional shower would need to be added. All dressing rooms are heated, well ventilated, free from damp and secure. All dressing rooms are in need of refurbishment. Any future alterations will need to take into account changes in the regulations effective from 2014/15.
Medical Treatment Room
There is a medical treatment room adjacent to the home dressing room with separate access from the corridor for the visiting team. Advice should be sought in respect of equipment required.
The playing area measures at 68.6m x 103m which is within the required standard. The shortest distance between the touchline and the pitch perimeter barrier is 1.3m which is below the 2.25m minimum requirement.
The shortest distance between the goal line and pitch perimeter is 2m which is below the 2.25m minimum requirement. It is thought that by moving the pitch markings slightly, this may provide the appropriate distances required.
There is no replacement goal installed which is capable of being erected immediately in the event of the failure of the Goal Posts. This would be required on promotion to The Football League.
Warm Up Goals
Two sets of portable goals are not provided for the purposes of player warm ups. These would be required on promotion to The Football League.
Trainers’ Benches / Boxes
There are separate trainers’ benches/boxes clearly marked for each team. These are situated within the main stand and are both covered and have access to the itch. They both seat a minimum of 11 persons. Future consideration should be given to the change in regulation from 2011/12 that requires the number accommodated to increase to 13.
The pitch was flat and in good condition.
The club des not currently provide full pitch frost covers or under soil heating. This is a requirement of membership to The Football League and clubs promoted from The Football Conference shall have until 1t May following admittance as a Member to comply with this requirement.
Protection of Players and Match Officials
There is a safe and unimpeded passage for players and officials between their dressing rooms and the playing area. All players and officials currently access the pitch pre kick off via the entrance/exit situated next to the visitor’s dressing room and officials' dressing room. This tunnel area is stewarded. At half time and full time the visiting team and officials continue to use this entrance/exit with the home team using a separate entrance covered by a collapsible tunnel which leads directly from their dressing room.
The club has a Safety Officer, Darren Gregory, who is qualified to NVQ level 3. Safety Management is important and it is necessary that the Safety Officer attains the appropriate qualifications and a Deputy Safety Officer is appointed.
The club currently has 28 stewards, 10 have attained NVQ level 3 and 14 have attained NVQ level 2. It is important to continue with training and ensure that the appropriate numbers of stewards are in place should the club gain promotion to The Football League.
The club has a groundsman, Neil Brown. The club are responsible for the maintenance of the pitch and for the general maintenance of the ground.
The club has a full time administration that includes Derek Wilshaw (Secretary) and Jennifer Heslop (Administrator).
The club has a qualified therapist as per regulation 32 named Sean Riley.
The club has a Team Doctor as per regulation 32 named as Dr Richard Parris.
The club does not currently have a Crowd Doctor as per regulation 32. Attendance of a Crowd Doctor is required at all matches played under the jurisdiction of The Football League.
The club does not currently have a Paramedic as per regulation 32. Attendance of a Paramedic is required at all matches played under the jurisdiction of The Football League.
The club has submitted audited accounts for the two financial years preceding the current year. A balance sheet as at 31st December in the current season and profit and loss account for the club’s financial year up to 31st December in the current season, along with a phased monthly cash flow forecast for eighteen months following 31st December in the current season, is required by 1st March 2010.
The club confirmed that they are a company incorporated under the Companies Act.
There has been some updating of the ground in recent years with the main stand being of good quality. The addition of the ‘Family Stand’, sponsors' lounge and offices has also made a positive impact. Some new turnstiles, refreshment and toilet facilities have been provided in the South West corner and are of a good standard. Many of the facilities are of a standard that is sufficient to gain access to The Football League; however there are a few areas that the club needs to work on.