09:00AM, Sunday 11 June 2017
While manager Alan Devonshire continues to assemble his Magpies squad for their debut season in the National League, ground developments off the pitch are also gathering pace.
Maidenhead United’s promotion from the National League South means the club will be making history as they compete at the top of the non-league football pyramid for the first time.
But success on the pitch has come at a small price, with the club now required to undertake £160,000 worth of developments at York Road to meet The FA’s Ground Grading rules.
New toilets, a hospitality suite and a designated away end for travelling fans are just some of the changes that will be introduced by the time the 2017/18 season kicks off in August.
Club director Mark Stewart said: “With the league we’re going in and the prospect of Tranmere Rovers and Leyton Orient coming to York Road, if someone had said that a few years ago I’d have thought they were mad.
“But it’s happening and we have to look forward with the facilities we have.”
Diggers have already started work in the South-west corner of the ground so toilets for men and women can be introduced, replacing the makeshift portaloos that had been on offer.
The development will also see a hospitality suite built at York Road’s Canal End with the club offering businesses and individuals the chance to dine before they take in the action.
Mark added: “It’s about trying to give people, if they want it, a better matchday experience and we’ll be offering hospitality packages that suit anyone’s requirements.”
With the club bracing itself for more bumper-gates similar to the 3,337 sell-out crowd that watched the Magpies’ penultimate game of 2016/17 against Ebbsfleet United, turnstiles will be introduced for travelling fans.
Stewarding numbers will also be increased while away supporters will now be based in the Canal End.
Mark said: “I know everyone loves to change ends, but if we have to segregate then that can no longer happen, but that’s why we’re also building a terrace nearby.”
Even boss Devonshire can look forward to a comfier seat over the coming season with the club’s dated dugouts making way for an upgraded model.
Mark added: “It’s a totally different ball game for us and a new experience, but one we look forward to.”
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