The Riverside Stadium
by Robert Ferris J.P.,F.N.A.E.A Chairman of Development
Institute Football Development Committee
Ground Developments 1995 – 2004
A major step was taken by the Club in 1995 to set up a special development committee to plan the “way ahead” to gain entry to the Irish League; this included the upgrading of the football grounds which included facilities required under the I.F.A. regulations.
This resulted in a three-year plan and the following was agreed and implemented in 1995:
Phase 1 New security fence to enclose the ground, new changing rooms, toilets, also facilities for disabled, the purchase of two former school classrooms for hospitality and supporter’s shop, two new turnstiles – this resulted in the entry to the “B” division of the Irish League in 1998.
Phase 2 In 1998 we embarked on providing a new 300-seater stand and floodlights. The Club gained promotion to the Premier Division of the Irish League.
Phase 3 It was decided to bring the grounds up to new Health & Safety standards and advice was sought from Derry City Council. This resulted in providing new access for disabled, additional toilets, Public address system, emergency lighting and a new covered stand for 200 people.
“The Riverside Stadium” had emerged from a Greenfield site.
“Thinking beyond the box” – Irish League plans for the future.
Phase 4 – 2005/6/7 three-year plan
The Club has decided to proceed with new plans to develop, upgrade and replace all temporary buildings within the stadium to bring the grounds up to UEFA standard – providing facilities not only for senior and reserve teams but for our Youth Academy and our Ladies.
The grounds will meet the Irish Football Associations recommendations for facilities to be provided within all soccer grounds, spectator facilities have always been the last thought, this has changed because as well as providing good conditions for player’s training, the facilities for those attending games must provide good access, comfortable seats, pleasant conditions to enjoy the game.
We are keen to encourage and increase the attendance at games, provide a family atmosphere and relaxing afternoon watching the game of soccer. To achieve this the Club have to improve access to the grounds, additional car parking especially for the disabled, the refurbishment of the north stand from 200 seats to 800 seats, new covered stand for 750 people, 300 seats at the south side increased to 600 seats, new media and TV facilities, additional turnstiles, emergency generator and other Health & Safety improvements as well as the new Centre of sport
The improvement to “The Riverside Stadium” has only and will only be achieved with the support of the Irish Football Association, the North-West Football Association, Sports Council for Northern Ireland, local businesses and Club funds.
Derry City Council has played a major role in supporting the Club for many years with grants for our new developments and in many other ways, long may this continue.