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Ardiles Opens Citizens Upgraded Facilities

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Tottenham Hotspur ambassador Ossie Ardiles officially opened Welwyn Garden City’s upgraded stadium on Sunday – 24 hours after the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division club had progressed to the last 64 of the Buildbase FA Vase.

The stadium upgrade was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund – the largest funders of non-league football in the country.

Before the stadium upgrade project, Welwyn Garden City’s ground did not meet the FA National Ground Grading Criteria (FANGGC) requirements for their Step 5 position. The grant has enabled the club to build two brand new spectator stands and modify its clubhouse to better serve its players and spectators. They have also received turnstiles, donated from Tottenham Hotspur FC’s White Hart Lane stadium prior to its demolition.

Now, thanks to the new stands, the ground offers more than the required covered spectator capacity – which includes space for wheelchair users.

Additionally, their clubhouse has been re-modelled to extend the club’s changing provision, as well as re-locating the kitchen to allow food and drink to be served directly to fans – something not previously possible.

City’s ground now surpasses the FANGGC Grade F requirements for their position in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, and meets
Grade E requirements should they be promoted.

The club hopes that their stadium upgrade will support them in attracting new fans and retaining existing ones.

The project was made possible thanks to a £100,000 grant from the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the largest funders of non-league football in the country.

Funded with £6.5m 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.

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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