Exciting times for Sutton Athletic as they switch on new floodlights for the first time
SUTTON ATHLETIC chairman John Ball says the club is going in the right direction after switching on their new floodlights for the first time last night.
The Sutts moved in to their current Lower Road ground in Hextable four years ago and are making progress with their ground to maintain their current Step Six status.
PROGRESS: Sutton Athletic switched on their new floodlights at their Lower Road ground in Hextable last night.
Photo: Sutton Athletic FC
“This is our fourth year playing at Lower Road in Hextable. We had to find an alternative home venue as planning restrictions in the Sutton-at-Hone area prevented the club developing their existing ground to the FA’s set ground criteria requirements,” said Mr Ball.
“Successful negotiations with Hextable Parish Council secured a 25-year lease and extensive work was required and undertaken to a derelict site and through donations, fund raising and the willingness of players and supporters who assisted with the works, allowed for the site to be ready in time for the inaugural match against Hythe Town on 4 August 2012.
“The lease allowed the club to submit a planning application to Sevenoaks Council for floodlights, pitch perimeter hard standing and new power supply. Works are now complete with the floodlights being tested last night.
“When planning and the proposed work was agreed the club looked for funding opportunities through identifying sponsors and grant applications.
“Sutton Athletic applied for a grant through the FA’s Stadium Improvement Fund, of which the club was successful in their application.
“The grant paid for the majority of the work now seen at Lower Road.
“The club still need to install a seated spectator stand and the club is actively looking for partners to assist completing this.
“We have developed the club in those four seasons and have been successful both on and off the pitch and the club now have three adult teams and three youth teams.
“The club receive an average of around 50 home spectators at each first team home game around a notable increase in spectators watching the Sutts from our first season at Lower Road.”
Sutton Athletic are managed by Ben Young and he has guided the club to a top-four placing in the Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League table on 74 points with five games left to play.
Two clubs will win promotion into the re-branded Southern Counties East Football League Premier next season.
Bearsted lead the way with 85 points with three games left to play, followed by Sheppey United on 80 points from the same number of games.
Chislehurst-based side Glebe, who were long-term leaders, have slipped down to third-place on 76 points, with a game in hand on the top two, followed by Sutton Athletic.
“This year the first team is currently involved in a top-of-the-table fight of the Kent Invicta League where the title can be won by us and three other clubs and should results go our way there is a chance that the league title can be won,” said Mr Ball.
“We currently have in the region of 60 registered adult players and in excess of 30 youth team players and more and more people are wishing to become part of our story.
“Sutton Athletic Football Club goes from strength-to-strength and is becoming a club that is being noticed.
“We wish to strengthen our youth sides next year and place more emphasis in encouraging more sponsorship and have more people visit from Hextable, Sutton-at-Hone and surrounding areas. The club wish to become a sporting hub and it is hoped that the local community will play its part.
“Next year is another important year for the club when the Kent Invicta League merges with the Southern Counties East Football League to form a new league consisting of two divisions.
“Sutton Athletic has also applied to compete in next years’ FA Vase to which, if accepted, will allow progression and entry in to The FA Cup – exciting times!”
Sutton Athletic travel to play Phoenix Sports Reserves on Tuesday night (19:45) before hosting Kent Reliance Senior Trophy winners Sheppey United on Saturday (15:00).
Visit Sutton Athletic’s website: www.pitchero.com/clubs/suttonathletic