Melton Mowbray FC set to play first fixture at new home

Melton Mowbray FC's temporary 100-seater stand at Burton Road EMN-160330-124617002
Melton Mowbray FC's temporary 100-seater stand at Burton Road EMN-160330-124617002
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Melton Mowbray FC are urging the town to get behind them as they play their first match at their new home ground on Saturday.

It will be the first time in three years that Melton have hosted a match in the town bearing their name, having spent the last three seasons up at Asfordby.

Melton Mowbray FC's new home at Melton Sports Village takes shape EMN-160413-152112002

Melton Mowbray FC's new home at Melton Sports Village takes shape EMN-160413-152112002

The move was rubber-stamped on Friday when the new facility, situated behind Melton Vale Post 16 Centre in the Melton Sports Village site, passed a ground grading to host matches at the next level up.

This would allow the club to play at the higher step six tier, having been denied promotion because of failed ground inspections in both of their last two seasons.

The journey to their new home, which includes a 135-seater stand, has been a long and complex one, but co-manager Matt Curtis hopes it will be worth the wait.

Allexton and New Parks will be the opponents for the landmark occasion, and the Senior League Premier fixture kicks off at 3pm.

Curtis said: “I’m pleased we’re not nomadic anymore; it’s long overdue. We just want to get up there and get the town behind us.

“It’s testament to the council; without their hard work it wouldn’t have happened.

“The players have been more frustrated than anyone. I don’t think many of them thought it would happen. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here.”

There was further good news last week when the Football Foundation awarded the council, in partnership with the football club, a £50,000 grant for stadia improvements through its Football Stadium Improvement Fund (FSIF).

Leigh Higgins, lead member for the Council’s Leisure Vision Project, described the return of football to the town as a milestone.

He said: “This is testament of the council’s time and investment, and we are supporting Melton Mowbray FC’s ambition to progress through the leagues.”

The council are hoping to build a new multi-use indoor facility and 400-seater stadium within Melton Sports Village, on the former King Edward VII School site.

If finalised, the stadium would be home to both Melton rugby and football clubs.

But despite having a ground fit to host higher league football, the team may have to wait another season.

Saturday’s goalless draw at defending champions Sileby left Melton nine points behind leaders and promotion rivals Birstall with only four games to go.

Melton are hoping to persuade the FA to sanction the promotion of two teams out of the Senior League this season.

This would allow the club, potentially, to join Holwell in the East Midlands Counties League, or more realistically, the United Counties League.

The club are also fighting a potential points deduction for fielding an ineligible player in three matches.

Melton claim they were cleared to play Luke Winfield.