01:05AM, Thursday 30 January 2014
Creating a football club 'at the heart of the community' is the long-term goal for Maidenhead United as it looks to improve its historic York Road stadium.
The club is developing a five-year plan to play a key role in the town's regeneration while giving the ground better facilities and making it more financially sustainable.
The first phase of improvements is set to begin next month with the installation of a new, 500-seater stand which is expected to be ready by July.
Club chairman Peter Griffin said the club has committed to staying at its town centre location and wanted to be 'at the heart of the community' as projects such as Crossrail and Maidenhead Waterways transform Maidenhead.
"I'm a firm believer in if you build it they will come," he said.
"If you can retain the charm of an old fashioned football ground in the heart of the town and improve the facilities you will have more and more people come along."
Mr Griffin said phase two of the project would involve the installation of a 3G artificial pitch which would allow the club to play in all weather conditions.
It would also open it up to be used seven days a week by schools, five-a-side teams and an academy, bringing in revenue and providing sport facilities to the town.
A number of options are being considered for phase three of the project, which could include a better clubhouse and a museum celebrating the oldest continuously-used football ground in the country.
Mr Griffin said the changes will benefit the town and the £320,000 stand project, which is expected to be fully funded by July, had proved the club can 'handle big projects without incurring new debt'."
Having more leisure facilities and more people coming to the football will just encourage people to spend money in cafes, bars and shops," he said.
"It's about what's going to give long term financial stability and support to the club."
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