This week, we go behind the scenes at Emirates Old Trafford, with Technical Manager, Nathan Mellor, to find out more about his role at the Club and behind closed door cricket.
What is your role in preparing for and delivering behind closed doors cricket?
I’m the Technical Manager at the Club, so I support the Operations Team in making sure that all the technical services are running efficiently. This includes IT, power, air conditioning, TV’s etc. Within the Hilton Garden Inn hotel, I also manage the day to day maintenance alongside the hotel maintenance team.
Can you describe what work has been involved for the Maintenance team in preparing for these matches?
It's been an incredibly busy time for myself and the maintenance team, as it’s been such a short time frame from site being closed to us welcoming the West Indies team. We’ve had to ready the 150-bedroom hotel, making sure we’re obviously being legally compliant on things such as water, fire and kitchen equipment. I’ve also had to liaise with several contractors in regards to preparing the rest of the site, in order to get it up and running. The operations team have given me a few challenges over the coming days, such as relocating our scoreboard operators and scorers from one side of the stadium to another, and making sure all the systems they use are available in the new location and work without any delays.
What are the different protocols you’ve had to implement around the venue?
The biggest protocol we’ve had to implement is definitely social distancing and making sure that us as a team are safe. Also, it’s important we are still able to operate as a team, as some jobs require more than one person and are generally in close proximity. Paul Rogers, the Facilities Manager and I look at ways in which we can limit the time these jobs take by working with the operations team to plan the works.
What does a typical day look like now there’s these new measures?
My day usually starts at 7am with check in via car park 3. Once I’ve passed the temperature checks and accreditation stages, I head over to my desk to check on any issues that may have come in overnight, either within the hotel or stadium and then these are issued out to the relevant team members or dealt with by myself.
I then do a quick check on the Building Management and CCTV system to ensure everything is running smoothly, before heading over to see the hotel maintenance and management teams, to catch up on anything that’s happening with the hotel.
One of the biggest changes is remembering to enter buildings through the designated entry points as all the other routes have now been closed off. Masks and gloves are worn within the hotel if we’re entering any of the floors and bedrooms are now sealed off once cleaned by housekeeping, as part of the new Hilton CleanStay policy. This means that we have to work closely with housekeeping to ensure we’re completing any issues within rooms before they are cleaned and sealed.
When looking at areas I need to address in the stadium, I receive emails and calls from operations to finance to give support and answer questions where needed, and I also liaise with the ECB as required. This can range from setting up computers to relocating access points or dealing with broadcast and media technical enquires.
On a daily basis, I’m responsible for making sure all of our statutory and non-statutory maintenance is completed on time and within budget. One of my main responsibilities is going through each building and making sure work is booked in around events and completed with minimal disruption, followed up by making sure that any repairs are carried out and all the relevant paperwork is filed correctly.
I think one of the most enjoyable parts of my job is not knowing what challenges will present themselves throughout the day and having to come up with solutions if an immediate fix can’t be implemented straight away. I usually end my day catching up with the hotel maintenance team and going through any issues from the day before clocking off at around 4.30pm, although this can be later if we have a big setup.