FANS and officials at North Shields Football Club are hoping to benefit from a cash boost the club helped launch.
The Robins was selected by a new partnership between the Football Association and Budweiser to highlight the £1m being invested directly into grassroots football by the FA Cup sponsors over the next two seasons.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew visited the Daren Persson Stadium on Tuesday to see first hand how the club, ground and stadium could potentially benefit from one of the £50,000 grants.
He was joined by North Shields’s very own celebrities – Magpies legend Malcolm Macdonald, club president, and former Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Leicester City striker Graham Fenton, the Robins’ manager.
Mark Scott, commercial manager at North Shields FC, said: “North Shields FC is a well-known and respected name in football with national honours to our name and it was no surprise we were approached.
“We’ve been looking for funding for a new club house at our stadium and I’m sure this helped with the decision of which non-league club to help promote the scheme.”
Club officials are currently in the process of making an application for funding with all applications required to be submitted to the FA by the end of October.
The planned North Shields project is for a social club – catering for 120 people – situated on grass adjacent to the ground on the junction of Silkey’s Lane and West Percy Road. It will replace their current clubhouse which is deemed inadequate.
Club chairman Alan Matthews, approaching 20 years in the role, said: “This clubhouse is crucial to the future progress of North Shields Football Club and we’re delighted the FA and Budweiser chose us to highlight this scheme.
“Everyone on the committee is fiercely proud of the club and the town of North Shields and should we be successful in our grant application we believe this will take the club to the next level to compete with the very best in the area.
“Our focus is to improve the match-day experience of those attending our games and also to encourage more to come along and keep attending on a regular basis.
“We continue to admit 16s and under free and we’ve capped admission at £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.
“We consider the new social club to be the next piece of a larger jigsaw that will return the club to its position prior to going bust in the early 1990s.”
The ‘Budweiser Club Futures’ programme will give 16 grants of £50,000 to non-league clubs across steps five to seven of the English Football pyramid over the next two years – eight grants during the 2012/13 season, the other eight during the 2013/14 season.
After the 16 grants have been awarded, the successful clubs will be given the chance to win an additional £100,000 ‘Super Grant’ – as voted by football fans from early next year on The FA Cup and Budweiser UK official Facebook pages.