Arena Seating’s Dave Withey talks to fcbusiness about the importance of flexible seating options for clubs undergoing facilities improvements.


With decades of experience and projects across over 200 football clubs, Arena Seating have a thorough understanding of what clubs require on redevelopments of all sizes, whether that be permanent upgrades or temporary installations.


One of the clubs benefitting from Arena Seating’s expertise is Ross County who were promoted to the Scottish Premiership in 2012.


“Following Ross County’s promotion to the Scottish Premiership, quickly increasing the ground capacity was paramount ahead of the new season,” explained Dave. “The installation had to avoid extensive construction work whilst doubling the seated capacity, providing a cost-effective alternative to fixed permanent seating plus offering the option of additional seats once the season had begun.


“3,500 permanent seats utilising our demountable system across four stands were installed by our professionals in just 12 weeks, complementing the existing infrastructure and tiered spectator terraces,” Dave added.


Ross County FC’s Chairman, Roy MacGregor, commented: “We had a really tight timeframe to develop the seating facilities and the advice and fast response received from Arena Seating was crucial in us meeting our target dates. It was important to engage them at the beginning of the early planning stage and their input along with the quality of their product met all our requirements, plus we didn’t need to embark on time-consuming expensive construction.”


With their products supported by the Football Foundation and the FAW, smaller clubs can enjoy ground expansions, training ground improvements and kit hire thanks to the grants available.


Withey added: “For small clubs looking to enhance their facilities on limited budgets, our seated and standing Sports Stands offer a flexible solution. With their modular design they can be linked together or added to at a later date to flexibly accommodate around individual club requirements. The complete stands are prefabricated and delivered to site via a lorry with in-built crane, ensuring installation is quick and with minimal disruption.”


Taking advantage of this seating system, Swansea City FC required improved training ground facilities to allow their increased fan base to support upcoming talent at training matches and events. Designed to fit between the existing flood lights around the pitch, three prefabricated grandstands were installed, housing 501 tiered tip-up seats in the club’s colours, also allowing space for up to 6 wheelchair users.


Tony Pennock, Head of Swansea City FC’s academy, explained: “We have a fantastic new training ground for our academy team and the seating grandstand was the final piece in the jigsaw to complete a top-class facility. We were on a tight timescale to erect the grandstand to meet the Premier League’s criteria, Arena Seating met all our needs with very little, if any disruption to our training programmes.”


Within the stadium environment, Arena Seating undertook an overhaul of Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage seating requirements as Dave explained. “Fulham approached Arena Seating in 2003 to transform the old-fashioned, run-down stadium suffering from years of under-investment, into a code-compliant, 22,000 seated facility for the first game of the 04/05 Premier League season.


“Arena’s crew embraced the construction industry’s CDM regulations and higher health, safety and logistics standards required by the nature of the construction industry. Throughout a seven year, £2.75million project, the seating facilities in the stadium have been progressively upgraded to the club’s current Championship season 25,700 capacity, all whilst minimising the need for permanent concrete construction.”


Club Considerations


Ground Grading – Any club seeking promotion to a higher league or division in the pyramid must be aware of the criteria required, set by The FA.


Flexible Thinking – Gone are the days when the only option to expand ground capacity was permanent, concrete, fixed seating. Extra capacity for cup ties or one-off games can easily be installed using Arena Seating’s demountable range of seating products and be added to with our rental inventory for big matches.


Facilities Funding – Arena Seating is recommended by the Football Foundation and Football Association of Wales (FAW) who can help with help with your building, refurbishing or facility improvement costs. Do not assume time consuming, expensive and inflexible construction has to be the answer to a club’s seating requirements.