Hadley FC officially opened their upgraded ground recently (Saturday 7 October), thanks to a grant from the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) – the largest funders of non-league football in the country.
The Premier League funding has enabled Hadley FC, in partnership with the Hadley Disabled Sports Association, to undertake a large upgrade project which has included: installing state-of-the-art floodlights; a brand new spectator stand; new pathways and fencing, and car-parking and spectator access.
Previously the club had been sharing Potters Bar FC’s ground – which has also received three FSIF grants – due to the extent of improvement works their own ground required. Their facilities now meet the Grade F requirements of the FA National Ground Grading Criteria.
The site will be used by Hadley FC, whose first team plays in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Premier Division, as well as the Hadley Disabled Sports Association who will deliver disability football coaching sessions and matches. The Step 5 club are delighted with their new facilities, which will enable them to deliver safer and more effective training, as well as improving the match-day experience for fans.
The project was made possible thanks to a grant of £87,461 from the Premier League, which is delivered by the FSIF, the sister organisation of the Football Foundation. The club also secured funding from Sport England and other sources in support of the project. Hadley has also received a grant of £12,539 from the FSIF, towards improving their carpark, taking the Premier League’s investment in the club to almost £100,000.
Funded with £6.5m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF – the sister organisation of the Football Foundation – is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.
Micky Hazard, who managed the club’s first team from 2014 until 2017, said:
“I was so pleased that the club asked me to be a part of this opening. The project has helped us to return to our own ground, deliver fantastic facilities for our players, and improve our fans’ experiences on match days.
“We would like to thank the Premier League and the Football Stadia Improvement Fund for their investment and support throughout the project. They are doing a great job of improving the standard of facilities for lower-league clubs just like Hadley FC.”
Paul Mallett, Hertfordshire FA Board Member and FA Representative, said:
"The Hertfordshire Football Association are pleased that Hadley FC have been able to return to their ground after nearly eight years, made possible by funding from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and the dedicated work of its club officials."
Steve Gray, Project Manager, said:
“We are delighted with the new facilities and we hope that many people in the local area will enjoy them for years to come. We are very grateful to the funding from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund because without their support, this project would not have been possible.”
Peter McCormick MBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said:
“I am very pleased to hear that Hadley FC’s development of their home ground has been so successful. The improvements made to their stadium not only mean that it meets the requirements for HFC’s Step 5 position, but will also help to inspire love of the game in the area for a long time to come.
“Through the commitment of the Premier League, stadia infrastructure for non-league clubs is reaching a much higher standard. Through the FSIF, the Premier League invests in upgrade projects, such as this one, which benefit players and fans across the country.”