New light is shining on the future of Midhurst and Easebourne Football Club with the installation of the long awaited £60,000 floodlights.
Chairman Mark Broughton told the Observer the lights had been forty years in the pipeline and without them the club had been looking relegation in the face for several seasons as they were an essential requirement for keeping the senior team’s position at the highest level of county football.
“It has been touch and go,” said Mark. “Without the lights we would have gone down and if that had happened there was a danger the club would have folded - it was that close.”
He said they benefitted not just the football club but also the cricket and stoolball teams at the Rotherfield Sports Association ground.
They are the first phase of major improvements. The association has permission for a £400,000 pavilion.
The floodlights were supplied by Musco Lighting, who provide lights for high profile football, cricket and rugby clubs including Arsenal and Hants CC at the Ageas Bowl.
Midhurst and Easebourne FC have two teams at senior level in Sussex County Football and 11 junior sides from under 7s to under 18s in organised local leagues. “The new lights will enable our young footballers to aspire to the highest level,” said committee member Chris Wigley.
Major funding came from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, the largest funders of non-league football in the country who contributed £42,602 to the works. There were also significant contributions from the Big Society Fund via West Sussex County Council and the Grange Community Association. “We are indebted to them, Cowdray Estate, MacDonald Oates, all our sponsors and many hardworking members of the Football Club and RSA committees,” said Chris.
The first league match under the floodlights takes place on Tuesday (September 27), against Selsey FC.
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