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Romford Dogs stadium's £10m overhaul making it 'best in the country' to be finished by summer

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 March 2019

Stadia Manager Karen McMillan shows the Romford Recorder around the work taking place on the Romford Stadium.

Stadia Manager Karen McMillan shows the Romford Recorder around the work taking place on the Romford Stadium.

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Work is well under way and the multi-million pound redevelopment of Romford Stadium is nearing completion, with all work and the opening date is set for mid-July.

Stadia Manager Karen McMillan shows the Romford Recorder around the work taking place on the Romford Stadium.Stadia Manager Karen McMillan shows the Romford Recorder around the work taking place on the Romford Stadium.

The Recorder has spoken to stadium manager Karen McMillan, who said once work is finished “I can guarantee it will be the best stadium in the country, and the place to be”.

Back in March last year Ladbrokes Coral Group said it would be giving the stadium a complete refurbishment, costing around £10m.

Work began in May, and so far has included the demolition of the Main Stand to create more than 100 car parking spaces, a modernisation of the reception area and office building and a new track that was put down in September.

Scaffolding is still up on the front of the Millenium Stand as work is ongoing to complete the restaurant, which will hold up to 180 people, and the new stand will hold up to 1,350 spectators.

Stadia Manager Karen McMillan shows the Romford Recorder around the work taking place on the Romford Stadium.Stadia Manager Karen McMillan shows the Romford Recorder around the work taking place on the Romford Stadium.

There are still a few things yet to be finished, and that includes relocating the steward’s box, to be situated in the refurbished stand’s roof, and the finishing line will be re-positioned in front of the refurbished stand.

Along with the work to improve the stadium, Karen has said there are a number of new clubs starting at the ground, to try and include as many local people as possible.

These include a Monday and Thursday club for over 65s, and Romford Juniors - which is a Saturday club, where youngsters can come down and meet the dogs, and will get a different colour rosette each week.

Karen and other members of the team at the stadium are also working closely with three greyhound retirement homes, to make sure dogs have a home when they finish racing, and she has said if anyone would like to go and visit a retired dog then to get in touch with the stadium.

Romford Stadium's multi-million pound re-development is nearing completion and is expected to be finished in mid July. Photo: @RomforddogsRomford Stadium's multi-million pound re-development is nearing completion and is expected to be finished in mid July. Photo: @Romforddogs

She said: “A man who had adopted two retired dogs said to the me the other day, ‘there’s two things a retired greyhound is guaranteed to steal from you, one is your sofa and the other is your heart’.”

Plans are also in place to bring in some new mascots for the ground - but names haven’t been decided just yet, so watch out in the Recorder for more news about how you can get involved.

Karen who has been in the industry for 25 years, came over to the stadium in August last year, and has been overseeing the works.

She told the Recorder: “It is great to see such a big investment in Romford, there have been a number of grounds closing around the country, but Romford is going to be the best, and we’re all very excited about what it is going to look like once it’s finished.

Romford Stadium's multi-million pound re-development is nearing completion and is expected to be finished in mid July. Photo: @RomforddogsRomford Stadium's multi-million pound re-development is nearing completion and is expected to be finished in mid July. Photo: @Romforddogs

“We’ve had lots of support from the local people, and lots of letters saying thank you,and that they can’t wait for it to open.

“We had people saying we thought it might be closing, but that isn’t going to happen.

“I think one of the most exciting things was when we were choosing all the decor, all the furniture and all the kitchens, and that is all done now, and everything is ready to go, and I think that was a turning point because it was like, this is definitely going to happen now.

“I’ve got staff who have been here for 30 years, and they thought it was going to go, but now you can see the smile on their faces, now we can see how much work has gone on, and we all can’t wait for it to open.

Romford Stadium's multi-million pound re-development is nearing completion and is expected to be finished in mid July. Photo: @RomforddogsRomford Stadium's multi-million pound re-development is nearing completion and is expected to be finished in mid July. Photo: @Romforddogs

“Sometimes you see scaffolding going up and you think it’s not going to happen, it doesn’t matter how much reassurance you give but now we know it is and that’s fantastic.

“We want to create a community stadium, we’ve got a great team with lots of experience, some staff have been here for 30-40 years, and I just can’t wait for everyone to come and see the amazing work that has been going on.”

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