​Level playing field is all part of Maltby Main's grand plans

​AN infamous slope at a known-known Rotherham football ground could soon be a thing of the past.
KIERON WHITE: wants better football at Muglet Lane ... and that means no slope. Pictures by KERRIE BEDDOWSKIERON WHITE: wants better football at Muglet Lane ... and that means no slope. Pictures by KERRIE BEDDOWS
KIERON WHITE: wants better football at Muglet Lane ... and that means no slope. Pictures by KERRIE BEDDOWS

The incline at Muglet Lane, home of Maltby Main FC, has long made it a less than appetising destination for visiting teams and sometimes for the home side as well.

Kicking up the slope can be tough, especially when playing against a stiff wind as well.

But recently installed chairman Kieron White wants to make Muglet Lane a more attractive place to visit, and that includes creating a level playing surface more suitable for good football.

Entrance to Maltby Main FCEntrance to Maltby Main FC
Entrance to Maltby Main FC

"At the end of the season we are looking at getting some bulldozers in to level the pitch ready for next season,” said Kieron.

"We’ve had a couple of companies give quotes to level it properly.

"The earth on the right hand side of the pitch rises up so we can pull some of that across to create an even surface.”

And he joked: “We might leave a little of the slope in just to keep the tradition here of a team playing the second half uphill!”

The bottom end at Muglet LaneThe bottom end at Muglet Lane
The bottom end at Muglet Lane

Once complete, the intention is to close off the pitch with new fencing and advertising boards to complete the look.

"We have struggled recruiting players sometimes because of the set-up. They don’t want to come.

"Hopefully these improvements are going to be more attractive not just for fans, but for players as well.

"We have to try and get our attendances up and if we create the conditions for better matches then hopefully more people will come along."

Muglet Lane is a multi-purpose site also used by Maltby Cricket Club, Maltby Main JFC juniors and the recently formed Maltby RUFC rugby team.

There are proposals for a new cafe and club shop on the land between the football and the cricket pitch to use by all user groups.

"The rugby players can stay and have food and drink in there and there are going to be windows in the back overlooking the cricket pitch so the cricketers can use it as well,” said Kieron.

"Even when the kids train down here in the week, it’s somewhere for the parents to sit and have a drink and something to eat in shelter.”

As reported previously in the Advertiser, Maltby Main are distributing up to 3,000 season tickets for next season to schools in the town and the surrounding areas to get more kids along and create a new generation of supporters.

But the Miners also want more local kids to be pulling on their boots to play for their home-town team.

To that end it has set up the Maltby Academy to fill the chasm that currently exists after U16s and leads to many kids drifting away from the game, among them potential future players for Main.

The comparative lack of pub teams in the town compared to the past doesn’t help either.

"There is no pathway through to the first team at Maltby and we want to provide that,” explained Kieron.

“The new Academy will start with an U18s and an U21s team and enough interest has been shown already to potentially have two teams of each.

"Longer term, if we can work with kids from 16 all the way up to 21 and train them for four or five years before they get into the Maltby team then everyone is on the same page.

"If all our coaches work together then the lads will know the way we are going to play and what is expected of them by the time they come up to the first team.”

In the here and now, Maltby Main are fighting to stay in the Premier Division of the Northern Counties East League, which is Step 5 on the domestic football pyramid.

Work continues in the background to create an environment where Maltby can one day challenge to move to a higher league.

The current proposals have gone through Maltby Town Council and the ground’s owners, CISWO, have been made aware are said to be OK with them.

Added Kieron: "The ground is a little bit left behind and it’s difficult with the situation with the lease.

"It’s not in our control and it means we can’t get grants at the minute.

"We have to work with what we’ve got to make the club more sustainable until somewhere down the line we do get the funds to carry out more improvements.

"It is going to be a big challenge to for the team to stay up and get everything everything in place but hopefully over the next 12 months we will see plenty of things improving at Muglet Lane.”