I know what a “fit up” is (it seems there are still some who might think our Chairman has been the victim of one recently!), but what is a “fit out”? I looked the term up in Wikipedia and found more or less what I was expecting to find – “fitting out” .
Although it refers specifically to ships, I think that the idea is the same when it comes to our stadium – fitting out seems to be the work that needed to be done once the “shell” of the new ground was completed.
Now with this in mind, it is worth looking at this article which appeared in the Western Mail on 20 May last year.
By coincidence, a story about an online question and answer session Peter Ridsdale had taken part in on the MediaWales website appeared in the Echo on the same day and our Chairman’s answer to question 36 is very interesting given what has happened since then.
So, on the day that our Chairman is saying;
“As we near the end of the build programme, a high-quality fit-out of our hospitality, conference and VIP areas represent the finishing touches for the project, providing world-class facilities for our fans and corporate supporters”
in a story celebrating the clinching of the contract to fit out the new stadium, he is saying in another story that;
“There are still some additional costs on moving to the new stadium which was anticipated”
According to our Chairman back in May then the fit out contract had been sorted and any additional costs to be paid for the new stadium had been “anticipated”.
Therefore, how have these additional costs for fitting out (which, judging by the documents relating to yesterday’s Council meeting, appear to be as problematic to the club as the unpaid tax bill) arisen? Another question worth asking is how much do these additional costs amount to?
As to the cost, well, if the “club source” quoted in this story from the Echo dated 9 January is correct;
it has more than doubled since the “original estimate”.
Now, I suppose the next question is what is meant by the term “original estimate”? If it means all the way back to when the scheme was first costed, then I wouldn’t have thought that this should really come as a shock to anyone – particularly at the club.
However, this didn’t stop the club going on a relative spending spree last summer which had our Chairman and the local media proclaiming that we were the biggest summer spenders in the Championship when it came to signing new players. To do this knowing that £3 – £4 million had to be found to pay these additional fitting out costs has to be folly surely and, admittedly with the benefit of hindsight, surely any money received in the Roger Johnson transfer should have gone towards paying those bills.
On the other hand, “original estimate” may mean when the contracts were sorted last May, but, frankly, I cannot believe that the costs would have more than doubled in such a short time.
No, the more I think about it, the more these additional costs were, to use our Chairman’s word back in May, “anticipated”. However, to me at least, “anticipated” carries with it the suggestion that the additional costs would not present a problem, instead, in this instance “anticipated” appears to mean “we know it’s coming, but we have done sod all about it so far and we haven’t got a clue how to sort the mess out – all we can hope is that someone buys us out soon”!