Multiplex project manager Ranald McGregor claims that removing Cleveland Bridge was only a contingency plan.

Multiplex denies that it always intended to remove Cleveland Bridge from the Wembley stadium project.

Multiplex's 'Armageddon plan' to remove Cleveland Bridge from Wembley was only a contingency plan, a key Multiplex employee told the High Court yesterday.

Ranald McGregor, Multiplex project manager at Wembley, was questioned by CBUK barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC over Multiplex documents dating from March to June 2004 detailing plans to bring replacement subcontractor Hollandia onto the project.

One document, dated March 16th, referred to the "Armageddon option" by name.

McGregor said: "My memory of Armageddon is that if we couldn't agree a way going forward [with Cleveland Bridge], there would be a fall-out."

"It could be that Cleveland Bridge would resist giving us steel or drawings or that they would stop work completely. I didn't know but I began to plan for what might occur."

McGregor stated repeatedly that he had not known of the decision to replace Cleveland Bridge with Hollandia until it was announced on June 29th 2004 and that the decision was taken "above my head".

However, McGregor accepted that he had carried out some steps of the plan to bring Hollandia onto the project which he noted at a Multiplex meeting on June 8 soon after that date.

The court also heard that design changes on Wembley stadium were causing such lengthy delays by December 2003 that Multiplex ordered a design freeze on the project.

McGregor acknowledged that the move had taken place and that changes were still made after that date, but he denied that every piece of steel delivered to the project late by Cleveland Bridge had been subject of a design change.

The project manager was also questioned about a 10-page note he wrote to himself in January 2004, which included five stages at which Cleveland Bridge could be "cut" from the Wembley project, including 'now', 'when the arch is ready to go', 'when the arch has been lifted into its final position'.

McGregor accepted that 'cut' meant 'remove' but said that the note also referred to the possibility that Cleveland Bridge would "choose to go by themselves".