Here’s a sneak peek inside the John Smith’s Stadium with just three full days to go before it hosts Premier League football for the first time.
The Examiner was given a guided tour by the stadium’s deputy safety officer Tim Dale ahead of Sunday’s eagerly anticipated home clash between Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United.
Inside and outside the stadium is a hive of activity, with various tradespeople and stadium staff working hard ahead of the big kick-off.
“Organised chaos” is how Mr Dale summed it up.
“We have three weeks of work to complete in four days,” he joked.
The home and away dugout seats are looking proper Premier League and work is continuing on a TV studio in one corner of the ground. And the pitch surface looked impressive as groundsmen went about their work mowing the turf.
Meanwhile a new steel and perspex segregation barrier has been erected in the south stand which allows a greater number of seats to be used.
“What we used to have to do is segregate by using netting,” says Mr Dale.
“So what we have done now is taken three seats out and people are now within almost shaking hands distance of each other.
“The beauty of this is that we can move it (the segregation barrier) – it’s not easy but we can move it. If the away fans are bringing less than 1,500 we can move it. It’s not an easy job, it’s a two-day job at least.
“We can now alter the capacities of home and away sections in this stand.”
He said the idea of the new segregation barrier was “to try and get every seat sold.”
Mr Dale also revealed that the stadium has a new capacity of 24,338 which is 199 more than last season.
Sunday’s game is a sell-out, he added.
The former West Yorkshire Police officer, who in the early 1970s watched Town from the Cowshed, said he was looking forward to the challenge of keeping fans safe during the upcoming Premier League season.
“I am looking forward to the challenges it will bring,” he added.
“Stewarding just short of 25,000 people has its challenges and I am looking forward to it.”
Fans who haven’t visited the stadium for a while will notice quite a few changes as they walk down Stadium Way.
There is a new outdoor enclosure for Sky TV crew vehicles in the car park opposite the stadium fitness club. And an additional club shop is set to open in a portable building nearby.
Fans may also notice new generators which have been brought in to reduce the risk of power cuts. Improved floodlights are also planned, according to Mr Dale.