Newcastle United hero Malcolm Macdonald has officially opened North Shields FC’s new clubhouse.
The project was made possible 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 project has enabled North Shields FC to replace a cold and damp steel shipping container, that accommodated just a single wooden bench and twelve chairs, with a brand new clubhouse comprising a large function room, kitchen facilities, spectator toilets and a storage room.
The new clubhouse will provide accommodation for home and away supporters, post-match hospitality facilities for officials and visiting teams, and a venue for local community events.
Malcolm Macdonald, who scored nearly 135 goals in 5 seasons for the Magpies and won 14 England caps, said: “What a great setup we now have at the Darren Persson Stadium.
“My role as President here has shown me the huge importance of quality stadia at the lower levels of the football pyramid and this new development will allow the club to really push on – it’s hugely exciting for all our fans.
“I’d like to thank the Premier League, through the FSIF, for their investment which has placed us in great stead for the coming seasons and beyond.”
Trevor Campbell, Deputy Chairman, North Shields FC, said: “Without funding from the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, this project would not have happened for many years and the club would have been at risk of being demoted for failure to comply with ground standards.”
Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “It’s great to see Geordie legend Malcolm Macdonald open the new clubhouse at the Darren Persson Stadium.
“His role now as President for North Shields FC illustrates the massive importance of the lower levels of game, and how crucial these types of facilities are in maintaining the base of the football pyramid.
“This project is another example of the Premier League’s continued commitment towards the grassroots game, enabled through the investment of the FSIF. I’d like to thank all those involved and I wish the club the very best for the future!”
The North East club, who currently play Step 6 football in the Ebac Northern League Division One, now meet the required FA National Ground Grading Criteria that will help aid their progression up the National League System.
Funded with £5.2m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF 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.