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Watford fans who were promised a return to the East Stand when it reopens will be given the chance to relocate in time for next season
Watford have stressed the 2,000 season-ticket holders who were promised a return to the East Stand when it reopens will have the opportunity to move back in time for next season.
The Hornets are confident the new East Stand will be open at the start of the 2014/15 campaign.
In the last decade around 2,000 fans were relocated elsewhere inside Vicarage Road, from seats in the East Stand and adjoining blocks.
Speaking during an interview last week, chief executive Scott Duxbury said: “Next season it is about following through with the old promises.
There are around 2,000 fans that have been promised a return to the East Stand and we need to satisfy those promises first before we make any other decisions.
“Because of the delay in building the East Stand, we decided it would be best to address those issues first. I don’t personally see this as a stand solely for any particular group; it is a stand which helps increase the overall capacity of the ground.”
The new structure is being built in two phases as the club had initially hoped to have part of the stand open this season.
However, delays, poor weather and the decision to extend the East Stand the full length of the pitch means the club are now planning to open it fully in time for next season.
On the delay in opening the stand, Duxbury said: “It is a combination of several factors. The foundations’ preparatory work significantly increased because of the weather and delayed matters by several weeks.
“At a push we could have driven for phase one to be open by the end of March, beginning of April, but once we decided we wanted to extend it the full length of the pitch, it became apparent there was no need to rush part of the stand and then we could have it opened in its entirety.
“So we effectively decided not to rush the opening.
“The decision was helped by the fact there were delays, primarily because of the weather conditions, so we decided to open it in its entirety next season.”
Asked if there were any significant changes to the plans as part of the extension, the chief executive replied: “No. It is great we can increase the capacity further and aesthetically it will look so much better, but primarily we will be able to provide better changing rooms for both teams.”
The Family Stand is currently next to the away section in the Vicarage Road end.
Duxbury says there are no plans to move the Family Stand at present because next season will be one of “transition” due to the opening of the East Stand.
He said: “Once we have found out where the different fans are happy and settled then we might find out naturally where we could change certain sections.”
Duxbury was also asked for his views on safe-standing.
He said: “We have told the Football League we are open to it being trialled. But it is an expensive option and it doesn’t increase the capacity, it just gives you the option to stand or sit.
“The number of clubs who would want to spend the money on providing safe standing remains to be seen. But we are open to it being trialled.”
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