Melton Town unveil plans to improve ‘worst ground in league’

Town want to replace their temporary clubhouse with a new brick-built structure EMN-200122-113805002
Town want to replace their temporary clubhouse with a new brick-built structure EMN-200122-113805002
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Melton Town FC is launching its own DIY SOS appeal in a bid to help its ground match up to their on-field ambitions.

The club this week unveiled plans to build a new covered terrace and clubhouse to improve facilities chairman Sam Ellis described as the worst in the United Counties League.

Plans are to be submitted for a second covered stand, sitting along part of the right-hand side of the pitch EMN-200122-113816002

Plans are to be submitted for a second covered stand, sitting along part of the right-hand side of the pitch EMN-200122-113816002

Town have strengthened their management and playing staff considerably over the last 18 months, and spectator numbers have reacted in kind to the on-field success.

But the club has been unable to make much headway with its ground, part of Melton Council’s on-going Sports Village project.

“We have an excellent club, but the clubhouse is hampering our future development and growth,” said chairman Sam Ellis.

“We have the worst ground in the league – we can’t sit and wait for five or 10 years.

“If we get promoted, all of the step five teams have good facilities, and we have a converted Portakabin which leaks if it rains.

“It struggles to house both teams after a match due to its size and we can only have a limited amount of supporters at any one time.”

In terms of promotion, the terrace proposal is the more pressing concern, and plans are due to be submitted within days.

Although at the midway point of the season, Town are well positioned to claim one of the four promotion spots in United Counties League Division One.

But ground improvements would be required for life in the Premier which is a step higher up the non-league ladder at level five.

“We have to have hard standing on three sides of the pitch and covered accommodation for 200 people,” Ellis added.

“We currently have a covered stand for 100, so we want to build covered terracing on the opposite side of the field.

“We would build it ourselves with capacity for about 150 people with an option to extend it.”

The club has been stung by ground regulations before and was refused promotion to step six for two seasons running ago when based at Asfordby.

But Town do have until April 2021 to make the improvements this time around, even if they join the top flight this summer.

If plans are approved by Melton Council, Ellis hopes to start work by March this year.

They would then begin work on the new brick-built clubhouse when the season finishes in late April, with a target completion date of September.

“The season finishes on April 25 and I want to get started on April 26,” Ellis said.

“We are planning to set up a community co-operative to get a new clubhouse designed and built involving club members, supporters and local businesses coming together to provide facilities for the town to be proud of.

“There is quite a lot of interest already, and some of the players are builders as well so we would try to get everyone down for two to three weeks and get the bulk of it done.

“It’s a bit of a DIY SOS theme and I think it will work.

“We have taken it on ourselves to do the work and finance it so we hope the council will get behind it.”

Club vice-chairman Howard Eggleston said: “We have the best supporters in the league, with the biggest and most vocal support home and away which is greatly appreciated by everyone in the team, management and committee.

“We desperately want to give them the facilities they deserve and can be proud of.”