FA Cup cash to kick-start 4G training pitch development at Belper Town

Belper Town's Raygar Stadium. Pic by Tim Harrison.
Belper Town's Raygar Stadium. Pic by Tim Harrison.

Belper Town’s FA Cup heroics has enabled the club to forge ahead with plans to install a new 4G training pitch at the Raygar Stadium.

Prize money earned from the Nailers’ memorable cup journey will be used to help kick-start the project, with work expected to begin on site before the New Year.

The facility will not only be accessible to the club’s first team and academy sides but also for hire to the wider community, chairman Ian Woodward revealed.

Woodward said: “We have had planning permission for around three years but only now can we start to deliver on our plans.

“The FA Cup money will enable us to start the project which will see a new 4G training pitch behind the goal at the river end.

“It’ll be used by the club and the community. People will be able to hire it out to train on and play five-a-side football on.

“The club has become a seven-day-a-week club over the last 18 months. All of which needs organising and the people who do that are our volunteers.”

Belper earned £31,640 in prize money from their FA Cup journey which came to an end at the fourth qualifying round stage in a 2-1 defeat against Notts County.

And Woodward said part of that money will go towards the general upkeep of the club over the next two seasons.

“In its first instance, it will just give the club a bit of a boost,” he said.

“There are people at Belper who for years have been trying to get as much money as they can into the club and scratching around working towards budgets.

“What it will do is give those people a bit of breathing space.

“Cup runs like that don’t happen every season - we would love for it to be the case - but it just doesn’t happen.

“So it’ll be nice for those people who are constantly fighting to keep the club in the black a bit of breathing space for a season or two, which will be good for them.”

Woodward is in his second season as chairman of Belper Town and has been impressed by the commitment shown by the club’s volunteers.

“There are some people at Belper who have followed the club and been involved with the club for a very long time,” he said.

“There are people on the board who have been there for 30-40 years or more. They’re a great bunch of people - really lovely - and I only hope to do the same.

“They’ve made us all feel welcome. It’s not hard to fall in love with the place.

“These volunteers are ingrained in the club’s DNA.

“What impressed me when I first got involved behind the scenes is that these people are volunteers - no-one gets paid - they do it for the love of it.

“Once you get the non-League bug, you’re stuck with it. I love it.”