Eighteen years ago, Evesham United Football Club was on the brink of extinction.
Back in November 1993, the debts were mounting and the club’s Common Road ground had been put up for auction.
All looked lost until Jim Cockerton, Stuart Reeves, Dave Wright and the late Les Malins stepped in to stump up the cash and save the Robins.
Now the Zamaretto League Premier Division club are on the verge of moving into a new £2 million home in Cheltenham Road, which has a 3,000 capacity with 300-seat main stand, as the club looks towards a bright future.
In total, the thirteen-acre facility, built by David Wright Developments, boasts nine full-sized pitches, a training area, six changing rooms and a function room.
An £850,000 Football Foundation grant has helped finance the project, but the club has funded the rest, including selling the land to Wychavon District Council for £200,000 and renting in back.
Yet to be named – although one stand behind the goal will be named in memory of Malins – it will become the central hub for Evesham’s first-team as well as their ladies and girls sides and up to 20 children’s teams.
Chairman Cockerton hopes it will benefit the senior side but insists it is for the whole community.
“I want to see the team go forward but it’s about the club, not just the first team, and putting Evesham on the map,” he said.
“I would like to think Evesham is a community club and we want to see that grow. My ambition when we got involved was to see all the children playing here on a weekend and that would be my reward for all the work we have done. We want to give them the best coaching available. The kids of Evesham are going to get the best opportunity to make it as a footballer as anywhere else in the land.”
Evesham left Common Road, which was sold for housing, in 2006 and have since been tenants at Blue Square Bet North club Worcester City`s St George`s Lane.
They hope to kick-off the new season in August at Cheltenham Road but are waiting for road access to be completed from an adjacent roundabout. The official opening is also planned for Saturday, July 30th, when an Evesham XI will take on the Manchester United Legends, including the likes of Andrew Cole, Lee Sharpe and Norman Whiteside.
Cockerton said: “The roundabout works have to be completed before we can use this facility and the work is expected to be finished in mid-July. The season starts on August 13th. We have got a ground-share agreement in place with Worcester for next year if we need one.”
City officials have also visited the ground, which is suitable for Conference North football, should they need to share when they leave the Lane in June 2013.
A Football Foundation statement said: “The foundation is backing their development at the Cheltenham Road project, as not only will it provide a home for the club’s 22 teams, it will enable the club to expand further, providing regular football for local people through over 40 teams.
“The new site will be a real sports hub which will benefit the whole community for many generations to come.”