Harborough's new ground open for business for FA Cup clash

The first phase of work has now been completed at the Harborough Town Community Ground
The first phase of work has now been completed at the Harborough Town Community Ground

Harborough Town will mark the next chapter in their history when they take on Cambridge City in the Emirates FA Cup at the weekend.

The first phase of the £800,000 redevelopment of their ground will be unveiled ahead of the preliminary round clash on Saturday.

The Bees will then play their Evo-Stik South League Division One Central opponents on the new state-of-the-art artificial grass pitch.

Laurence Jones, chairman of Harborough Town’s trustees, said: “Saturday will be an incredibly exciting day for everyone connected with the club.

“FA Cup fixtures are exciting for clubs at our level of the game in their own right but being the first fixture in the redeveloped ground this will be a very special day indeed, not just for the club but for Market Harborough.”

The new ground has transformed the club, with 11 grass pitches and two artificial surfaces Harborough now has some finest grassroots football facilities in the country.

Jones added: “Saturday will be a very proud moment for everyone connected to the club which has seen a remarkable transformation over the last four seasons.

“I would like to pay tribute to the trustees, volunteers and employees of the club, they have been amazing.

“The hours of dedication and commitment shown by what is a very small group of people in not just delivering this project but the overall transformation of the club over the last four seasons is nothing short of remarkable, and Saturday is their special moment to enjoy.”

The club are now hoping for a big crowd to cheer on Stuart Spencer’s team as they bid for a place in the first qualifying round of the world.

Jones said: “We are building a vibrant community football club that will provide a high-quality football experience in fantastic facilities for everyone who wants to play the game and the club has very real aspirations to bring top flight non-league football to Market Harborough.

“I really hope people come down to the club to see the new ground, take in the game and give their support. Everyone at Harborough Town is on a journey and we want the local community to join us on that journey to give Market Harborough a football club to be proud of.

“The trustees and everyone connected with the club would like to place on record our huge thanks and appreciation to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund delivered through the Football Foundation, Harborough District Council and Leicestershire & Rutland County FA who have come together and worked with the club over the last four years to turn our vision of creating a football hub that will benefit the community of Market Harborough into reality.”

The project will be fully completed by the end of September when a new car park will be provided to the front and side of the clubhouse. The club is planning an official opening in October once the project is fully completed.

The project funding is made up of £436,123 from the Premier League & FA Facilities Fund delivered by the Football Foundation, £70,427 from Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and £270,000 secured by Harborough District Council from section 106 agreements where the authority obtained funds from developers for community use. The club is also investing £50,000 of its own funds.

Admission for Saturday’s game is £6 for adults, £3 for concessions and £1 for under-16s and under-16s go free if accompanied by a paying adult.