BOOK PAUL TODAY
I nearly signed Paul Fletcher when I was manager of Manchester United in 1974. It could have been my biggest mistake! Nevertheless, since he retired as a player Paul has become one of the world’s most experienced stadium developers and a superb After Dinner Speaker, so as they say ‘two out of three ain’t bad!” This book is an autobiography of stadium development, a great read.
I met Paul at the old Wembley Stadium in 1999. As I was catapulted backwards over a table when trying to sign an autograph with the ‘exploding pen’ he handed me, our friendship was sealed for life. I love a good joke and a good book, and this is one. I remain fascinated by football, its players and its stadiums and have myself written about the subjects. But I’ve never come across the word ‘verisimilitude’ before, this is one of the many lessons the book has taught me.
This book could be titled ‘Stadiums for Dummies’ but it’s much more than that. It’s a study of the development of stadiums in the UK since the Taylor Report of 1989 and will be valuable read for stadium developers, Chief Executives, football supporters and students wanting to understand the industry.
When I was planning the MK Dons new stadium, like many other new stadium pioneers, I visited Paul on a number of occasions to ‘pick his brains’. His knowledge of Stadia is legendary in football and I’m delighted that he has decided to put this to paper for all to share.
In 2000 we opened the KC Stadium in Hull after many years of history at Boothferry Park. I’d visited the McAlpine Stadium at Huddersfield and we learned an awful lot from the story of its development and construction. Paul was always extremely helpful and went out of his way to share the information he’d learned. He even worked for a short time with me during the design of the KC Stadium, the caterers he recommended are still here today. The Premier Club, which Paul introduced, was the brainchild of Ken Sharp and it has brought many £millions into the Hull City coffers since the day it opened.