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Big Plans for Eastleigh

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Blue Square Bet South club Eastleigh`s new majority shareholders are aiming to bring 3,000 crowds and Football…

…League action to the Silverlake Stadium.

Pending the completion of legal formalities, Neil Fox and Stewart Donald of Bridle Insurance will soon become majority shareholders of the Spitfires.

The pair, already club directors and sponsors, are launching an exciting five-year plan to bring Eastleigh and their Silverlake Stadium headquarters up to Football League standard.

“We’re looking at the possibility of a bigger stand and terracing,” said Donald.

“A new clubhouse is also a possibility, but we don’t want to jump into doing anything short-term. Whatever we do here will be for the long-term.

“Facilities have got to follow results on the pitch. We’ll see how it goes.

“It’s no good providing terracing for 1,000 people if we want to get 3,000 here eventually.

“Eastleigh has massive potential.

“The thing we like is the catchment area.

“Although Saints are on the doorstep, Eastleigh have 400,000 people living within 20 or 30 minutes of the ground.

“There are around 300,000 people in the Southampton area alone. “If the facilities are improved and the football is of a slightly higher standard, the potential to bring crowds in at Eastleigh is huge.”

Donald and Fox have revealed that former Saints boss Glenn Hoddle played a big part in taking the Oxfordshire-based pair to the Silverlake Stadium.

Hoddle, who runs a coaching academy in Spain, had been keen to explore the possibility of bringing it over to Hampshire.

“We know Glenn Hoddle well, but Bridle doesn’t fund the academy,” said the new directors.

“Glenn showed an interest in bringing the academy to Eastleigh and it’s fair to say it was him that alerted us to the possibilities here.”

Bridle’s investment has already enabled boss Ian Baird to bring in four new signings – Damien Scannell, Scott Rogers, Mitchell Nelson and Philip Appiah.

More are expected to follow.

“The plan is to invest in the team, invest in the facilities and get people through the door,” said Donald.

“Our first target is to get regular attendances of 1,000 and take it from there.”

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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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