Boston United have chosen to reveal where they could ‘potentially’ groundshare, as work continues on their impressive brand new stadium.
It was back in August when the Pilgrims left their former home at York Street, and since then, work remains at their Community Stadium, with seats already in place.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, if the new build is unable to finish in time for the start of the season then United will be forced to play elsewhere, just like AFC Wimbledon and Harrogate Town.
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“Construction work on the new stadium is progressing well, but has of course been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic which has resulted in slightly slower progress than under ‘normal’ circumstances and we have (and continue to be) affected by material shortages, longer delivery periods and some labour shortages,” Mr Newton told bufc.co.uk
“We are on track to have most of the work completed for October 3, the potential first home fixture of the new season, however we are less certain to have all the necessary service connections completed in time for the extensive testing of the mechanical and electrical installations – and the completion and testing of the floodlights and the lifts.
“We are working closely with the Safety Advisory Group to ensure we have all the necessary safety protocols in place, but a Safety Certificate cannot be issued until a ‘test event’ has taken place.
“Under current draft Government guidance, which is subject to the outcome of the pilot events currently being undertaken, fixtures with spectators cannot take place until the October 1 at the earliest, which would not leave sufficient time for any issues arising from the test event to be addressed before the first fixture.
“We also need to ensure that the new stadium is Covid compliant ahead of any fixtures taking place with spectators and we are currently working through SGSA guidance to ensure we have all the necessary protocols in place. We also need to pass the ground grading process.”
Mr Newton added: “Clearly we need to have some certainty around the playing of that fixture and at present we feel that there are a number of elements out of our control that give uncertainty at the present time, therefore although we will continue to push to be ready for the start of the season, we have to be sensible and realistic.
“We have therefore reluctantly taken the decision to potentially play the first few ‘home’ fixtures at Gainsborough Trinity’s Northolme Stadium.
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“I say ‘potentially’ as we do not yet know the fixtures and we could have a situation where we are drawn away from home in the FA Cup fixture(s) and our first league games are scheduled away from home, so the scenario may not arise.
“However, we need to make sure we are prepared for the possibility of ‘home’ fixtures, so we are grateful to Richard Kane, chairman of Gainsborough Trinity, for allowing that option for us.
“It is a really good stadium which always has an excellent playing surface. We will now put in place the Covid-19 procedures for the Northolme Stadium as unfortunately we cannot play under the same protocols being put in place already for our new ground.
“This is a lot of work that we really have been trying to avoid on top of everything else we are managing at the present time.
“As soon as the Covid-19 assessments have been completed, we will look to start selling season tickets.
“I have been absolutely determined that we would start the season at the new stadium, but the cumulative effect of Covid-19 associated issues have resulted in this very difficult decision.”
After Boston United reveal where they could ‘potentially’ groundshare, Mr Newton added an update on stadium work: “On a positive note, work has now commenced on the foundations for the East and South Stands.
“Construction will continue on the East Stand, with a view to having it complete around March or April next year. We will have to keep the works to the superstructure of the South Stand and the sports hall on hold for a while to see how the economy (and housing market) performs when the furlough scheme comes to an end in October.
“If there is no major impact, we hope to have that work completed towards the end of next year. We are also looking to start work on the 3G pitch and are just refreshing quotations from the specialist contractors for this work.
“Despite my disappointment regarding this delay, it is only a few weeks at the most, and we will then have a brand-new stadium that I hope we can all be proud of.”