Darlo get the green light for floodlights
Darlaston Town will play under floodlights next season after the club received a grant from the Premier League.
The Citizens won promotion from West Midlands League Division One into the West Midlands Premier Division last season.
But to play at that level – step six of non-league – your stadium has to be fitted with floodlights.
Town submitted a grant application to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), which is a sister organisation of the Football Foundation.
And they have now agreed to give the club a grant of £52,903 towards the price of installing floodlights at the Paycare Ground at Bentley Pavilion.
That is 70 per cent of the cost with Darlaston paying the remaining £22,672 themselves.
Work to install the floodlights will begin in the coming weeks and is set to be completed by the end of September.
Had the grant not been improved, the Citizens would have played in the West Midlands Premier Division next season.
But with no plans for floodlights agreed, they would have been relegated at the end of the campaign no matter their league position.
Neil Chambers, Darlaston Town’s chairman, said: “It is fantastic news that we were successful in our grant application to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, which is funded by the Premier League.
“Clubs like ours simply cannot afford to improve their facilities without the help of the FSIF.
“The grant means that we will be the first club in Bentley to have floodlights.
“It is wonderful news for our committee, directors, supporters and players who will benefit greatly from the improved facilities.
“In years to come, we expect thousands of local young players to benefit from the improvements we are making.”
As well as securing Darlaston’s future in the West Midlands Premier Division, the grant will also allow the Citizens to play in the FA Vase in the 2020/21 season.
And dependent upon their League position they may also be entered into the FA Cup.
Peter McCormick, chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “It is great to hear that a grant from the Premier League, through the FSIF, is going to help Darlaston Town to install new floodlights at the Paycare Ground.
“Through the FSIF, the Premier League is committed to improving the standard of infrastructure at all levels of the game.
“It is important that investment makes its way to lower league clubs, and the new floodlights at Darlaston Town (1874) is a great example of what this funding can do.”