A full reopening of two shuttered stands at St Andrew’s, the home of English Championship football club Birmingham City, could be “months away”, a new report has claimed.
The Daily Mirror said that the scale of the repairs required in the Kop and Tilton stands – which have reduced the stadium’s capacity by about a third from 29,400 to just over 20,000 – means that fans may face disruption for months to come.
Problems with the steelworks in the stands were identified at the beginning of the pandemic.
The Mirror reported that the club’s parent company, Birmingham Sports Holdings, was quoted between £2m and £3m for the work to be carried out before the return of fans this season, with COVID-19 restrictions having eased.
However, earlier this month City director Edward Zheng said that he was “shocked” to discover the stands would remain closed to fans for the start of the season due to delays.
The club rents the ground from recently-formed business Birmingham City Stadium limited, which is wholly owned by Birmingham Sports Holdings, and has a full repairing lease. This means it must come up with the money to fix the problems that have been identified, including corroded steel beams, specialist paint for the steelworks and missing or damaged bolts.
The latest report on the saga also suggested the possibility of legal action surrounding the delays.
Birmingham’s first game of the 2021-22 Championship season at St Andrew’s against Stoke City ended in a 0-0 draw, with only 10,189 fans in attendance. Just under 10,000 were in attendance for Birmingham’s 2-0 loss to Bournemouth on Wednesday evening.
The club today (August 19) released details on ticketing for its upcoming League Cup fixture with fellow Championship club Fulham at St Andrew’s. It said: “Due to the current stadium repairs, only the Main Stand and Gil Merrick stands will be open for this fixture.”