Work is set to start on a new covered stand at Stafford Rangers thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign by fans of the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League club.
The new structure is on the way at Marston Road after fans Graham Mitchell and Alan Gee uploaded a video to the Stafford Rangers TV channel on YouTube to publicise a two year campaign to raise £80,000 to rebuild the iconic Shed End at the south end of the ground.
With £10,000 already raised since April to put the “heart and soul back” into their home funding the initial groundwork needed before the steel stand can be erected, the duo are meeting with the EVO-STIK NPL Premier Division club’s board this week after launching the next stage of the campaign to raise a further £35,000 and discuss plans to fund the remaining balance by selling the naming rights.
Mitchell told the staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk that the club had been a “victim of its own success” when the old shed had to be taken down after they reached the Conference Premier in 2006 due to the division’s criteria for a seated stand.
“We were a victim of our own success,” said Mitchell. “When the Shed End came out, it tore out the heart and soul of the club. It was a place where people of all different ages and backgrounds mixed. We say the highs – and a lot of lows – and it was a comfort blanket and a warm place to be.
“We’ve lost a lot of the atmosphere, as well as a lot of the cover for inclement weather. We want to put the heart and soul back.”
In addition to naming rights, sponsorship opportunities to have company names on plaques on the uprights for the new stand, available at £1,000 each, or £250 for a plaque on a wall in the social club, will also be available.
Urging potential sponsors to come forward, Mitchell added: “We’re in a position where we’re ready to go, ready to build. The only thing stopping us is money, and we’re appealing for people to do what they can. We’ve got the full backing of the board but it has to remain self-sufficient.
“We’re appealing to clubs and firms within the community to jump on board and help us out. In return, we’ll give something back. We still have naming rights for the front of the stand, which is 72m in length.
“We’d like one local company to have exclusivity for those naming rights. You can also sponsor the uprights with a plaque for £1,000 – a great way to advertise as it will be seen by many people at every game.
“The ground isn’t just used during the football season – there are cup finals held here, and there are also events for local charities. The club are very modest about this, but every single weekend during the close season, a local charity or organisation has use of the facilities, free of charge.”