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Marathon Man David Bedford unveils his beloved Hendon FC's new £230,000 stadium upgrade

Marathon Man David Bedford unveils his beloved Hendon FC’s new £230,000 stadium upgrade

David Bedford

David Bedford OBE, a former 10,000 metre world record holder and lifelong Hendon FC fan, was at Hendon FC recently (Monday 18 July) to officially open the club’s £230,000 stadium improvements ahead of a friendly match against a Queens Park Rangers FC Under-21 team.

The project was made possible thanks to a £114,000 grant from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the largest funders of non-league football in the country. David, who competed at the 1972 Munich Olympics, unveiled the new facilities alongside Ann John OBE, former leader of Brent Council.

The funding has enabled the club, who play at Step 3 of the Isthmian Premier League, to improve their existing facilities, including: changing rooms; spectator toilet facilities; dugouts; turnstiles and standing and seated terraces.

A new spectator grandstand, consisting of 120 seats and three wheelchair spaces, has been installed to increase stadium capacity and improve spectator access. The work has also provided a new pitch perimeter barrier to replace previously inadequate post and rail fencing.

The existing clubhouse pavilion has been refurbished to provide two new changing rooms, two officials’ changing rooms and a first aid room. Spectator access has been further improved through the provision of male, female and wheelchair toilet facilities that were previously only accessible via the clubhouse and bar area. 

Funded with £5.2m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.

David Bedford OBE, said: “I was delighted to officially open Hendon FC’s fantastic stadium improvements. The changes made to the facilities will have a hugely positive impact on club members and visiting teams. I have been a supporter of Hendon FC since I was a youngster, and fondly recall watching the team returning from Wembley after winning the 1960 FA Amateur Cup.

“Across every sport, it is vital that facilities are safe, comfortable and accessible for those that use them. Without the correct facilities, young people would not be able to progress through to the elite levels of their sport. As somebody who was able to compete professionally, I know the importance of top-class facilities no matter the sport. I would like to thank the Premier League, through the FSIF, for their investment into the project.”

Simon Lawrence, Chairman of Hendon FC, said: “Since being forced to leave Claremont Road in 2008, the club's very existence has come under greater and greater threat and, while the Supporters Trust and the football club board have managed to keep the club alive, we have felt powerless to do anything to turn the club's fortunes around.

“Our move to Silver Jubilee Park enables us, for the first time in 10 years, to look forward to and plan for a brighter future. The club owes a huge debt to the Premier League, through the FSIF. Without their incredible support, this move would not have been possible.”

Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “Hendon FC’s stadium improvements have enabled the club to meet the relevant ground grading requirements to move into their new home at Silver Jubilee Park on a permanent basis. Without the support from Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, this development would not have been possible. I look forward to seeing the club go from strength to strength.”

ENDS

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Quote

“Across every sport, it is vital that facilities are safe, comfortable and accessible for those that use them. Without the correct facilities, young people would not be able to progress through to the elite levels of their sport. As somebody who was able to compete professionally, I know the importance of top-class facilities no matter the sport."

David Bedford OBE

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