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Stamford AFC play at the Zeeco Stadium for the first time

Stamford AFC play at the Zeeco Stadium for the first time

Pre match at Stamford AFC

Stamford AFC took on Nantwich Town at the Zeeco Stadium last Saturday to kick-off a new era at Borderville Sports Complex. The impressive new stadium was made possible thanks to a £150,000 grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, the largest funders of non-league football in the country.

The keys to the new stadium were handed over to the club in September following the completion of building work, and while facilities including the new college and 3G pitch have been in use for over two months, the Zeeco Stadium has been unable to host any matches due to the pitch needing to pass an FA inspection.

The turf at Ryhall Road was given the green light by FA officials in the middle of last month however, triggering the move from Kettering Road to the new home of the Daniels.

The Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) provided a grant of £150,000 towards the new ground. Funded with £6m 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.

The Zeeco Stadium contains several references to the former ground. The end nearest to Ryhall Road is officially known as The Old Railway End, in a nod to the Kettering Road ground’s Railway Side, while the opposite end, which backs on to the all-weather, 3G pitch, is known as The New Hedge End, in honour of the hedge that used to surround the club’s previous home. The changing room side takes its name from the complex’s location, being referred to as the Borderville side, while the opposite side is known as The Town Side, in reference to locals often referring to the old Hanson’s Field ground as The Town Ground.

The move across Stamford will allow the club to further enhance their abilities to develop players of all ages at the Young Daniels Football Development Centre. The Daniels’ work in player development has already been recognised by the Football Association, who named Stamford as an FA Charter Standard Community Club - the highest possible accreditation they could be awarded - highlighting their dedication towards nurturing young talent.

The Development Centre currently houses 15 teams across 11 different age groups led by over 30 coaches and managers, with some qualified as high as UEFA B level, and is now equipped with year-round use of the Borderville complex’s 3G pitch, made possible thanks to a £500,000 grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund. The facility is seen as crucial to developing the next generation of English footballers by FA Chairman Greg Dyke, who recently announced his intention to double the number of all-weather pitches available to youngsters in his England Commission report.

The club aim to see more ‘Young Daniels’ break through to the first team in the coming years with the intention of building successful footballing careers, similar to that of Ricky Miller, a Daniels youth product who now plays in The Football League for Luton Town.

Stamford’s youth team faced local rivals Blackstones at the new ground last Friday (5th December) as part of final preparations for this weekend’s opening match, which is expected to be attended by a bumper crowd.

Greg Dyke, Chairman of the Football Association, said: “Congratulations to Stamford AFC, local partner organisations and Lincolnshire County FA for making this stunning complex a reality. It is a wonderful example of how the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund can make a real difference in supporting the grassroots infrastructure in football around the country.

“We are delighted to have made a £500,000 contribution to this project through the Football Foundation. It will support Stamford’s ambition to grow the number of teams it operates and significantly boost grassroots facilities for a host of teams in the wider community.”

Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, added: “I am delighted that my colleagues and I have been able to award this grant to Stamford AFC to allow them to build this impressive new stadium which will benefit the club for generations.

“FSIF staff work hard to make sure that the funding that is generously provided by the Premier League each year goes as far as possible and benefits as many clubs and supporters as it possibly can.”

Guy Walton, Director at Stamford AFC, commented: “Over the last few weeks we have celebrated and remembered historic elements of our wonderful football club, and 3pm on Saturday is the time to celebrate another milestone for the club and the final stop in our journey to Borderville.

“The Zeeco Stadium is a fantastic football facility and will provide a cornerstone for future generations of footballers, and it’s a fitting venue for us to add to our rich history. Our vision was underpinned by stakeholders determined to set a bright future for all Daniels, and I’d like to thank everyone involved with making the move to a new stadium a reality. Myself and my fellow directors can’t wait to welcome fans to the Zeeco Stadium and look forward to doing so for years to come.”


For more information contact:

- Bradley Cleveland on 0845 345 4555 Ext: 4282 or bradley.cleveland@footballfoundation.org.uk

© 2014 Photos by Jake Whiteley. All rights reserved

Nantwich Town scoring
KO at Stamford AFC
The new terraced stand at Stamford AFC's Zeeco Stadium.
Pre match at Stamford AFC

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