Newton Aycliffe’s football club is appealing to members of the public to help fund vital ground improvements after their season was cut short due to the coronavirus crisis.
The Covid-19 outbreak brought Aycliffe’s Northern League campaign to an abrupt end in March, and with it seven home games which would have brought in critical cash.
The club – which was on course to record is highest-ever position in the Northern League first division – had just completed improvements around the ground prior to the pandemic which brought all sports to a sudden halt.
Thanks to funding from the Great Aycliffe and Middridge Partnership (GAMP), Aycliffe were able to resurface the footpath leading from the Sports Club building up to the Beaumont Landscapes Stadium.
The club – run entirely by a team of local volunteers – now needs to install a new turnstile entrance to the ground as well as carry out improvements to the playing surface, including crucial drainage works which will reduce postponements during the winter months.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to raise £5,000 which will contribute to the total costs of the summer ground improvement programme – and more than £1,200 has already been donated by the public.
Chairman Allan Oliver (pictured above before the Covid-19 outbreak), told Aycliffe Today: “The ground improvement programme is vital for us, not only to just maintain the grounds, but more importantly to improve the matchday experience for all supporters.
“We’re run entirely by volunteers, a loyal bunch of local people all working round the clock, but our matchday revenue stream has been completely cut off by the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Every penny of this funding from the public will go directly into these improvements and would give us a huge boost as we start preparing for the 2020-21 season, when it’s safe to do so.
“The entrance to the ground has been a wooden ‘pay hut’ for more than 10 years, which desperately needs replacing, and improving the pitch will also improve the quality of football.
“We hope the people of Newton Aycliffe will get behind us with this, and we’ll again have a top Northern League ground we can all be proud of when football kicks off again.”