AMBITIOUS £750,000 plans have been unveiled for “desperately needed” football facilities in Dinnington.
The proposals feature a full-size floodlit 3G pitch to replace the natural turf at Phoenix Park, plus a 200-plus seater stand and clubhouse.
Dinnington Town FC and Dinnington Resource Centre have joined forces for the project, which will also support other sports.
Club chairman Andy Marshall said: “A lot of hard work has gone in to get us to this stage but it’s extremely exciting, from the point of view of the community of Dinnington, what the resource centre and the football club could possibly achieve together.
“These facilities are absolutely desperately needed. The football club is going to benefit massively, but it’s not just about football. It’s a community project creating something that Dinnington can be proud of.”
Plans said the community use of the facility, off Laughton Road, would become a key focal point for Dinnington and be “vital” to ensure the sustainability of both the club and resource centre.
Scenes of former staff and managers like Steve Toyne mowing the pitch themselves will be consigned to the past with the new artificial surface.
And the project aims to be accessible to all for playing and watching, with the 213-seater tier including wheelchair spaces.
Resource centre manager Darron Crookes said: “It’s been a good few years since this was all first mooted, so this is an exciting time. It’s at the early stages really in the process of looking at what’s required.
“There’s only so much hammer that a grass pitch can take. If there’s two teams playing on the Saturday and then under-18s on Sunday morning, by winter it’s tricky.
“The artificial pitch will open it up to more players.
“We’ll have facilities to encourage more ladies football, disabled facilities for walking football and inter-generational stuff too. There’ll be several different size pitches marked.”
No target completion date has been set due to the virus uncertainty but bids are set to be made to the likes of the Football Foundation.
An online fundraiser has started at gofundme.com/f/dinnington-town-fc-community-3g-pitch-fund with the aim of contributing £50,000.
Andy said: “If people donate, however small, then hopefully in years to come when they watch their children or grandchildren playing, they will be able to say they were a part of putting this whole place together.”
Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford said: “Now more than ever, this Covid crisis has shown the need for better outdoor spaces.
“Dinnington Town FC’s campaign for a new 3G pitch will bring to the whole community a state of the art asset that will benefit everyone.
“We need to give young people the ability to play in this safe and secure space, as it is good for their physical health and mental health.
“And after all, we don’t know where the next England striker may come from... maybe Dinnington.”