Following their winning performance in the Staffordshire County League last season, Abbey Hulton United were considered for promotion to Step 6. Previously, the club’s ground did not meet the relevant requirements, but the installation of their state-of-the-art lighting system has changed this.
The club has now been officially promoted to Division One of the North West Counties League. Their new floodlights not only helped them to meet the Grade G requirements of the FA National Ground Grading Criteria, but will also allow them to deliver safer training to their players all-year-round.
Abbey Hulton United, which was founded in 1947 and is one of the oldest clubs in Staffordshire, currently has 11 teams, ranging from the Under-9 level to adult. This includes a ladies side and a girls’ team, as well as a veterans team – all of which will be able to take advantage of the new floodlights.
Abbey Hulton United FC received a grant of £46,885 from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, which made the project possible. This follows two previous FSIF grants that the club have benefited from, towards fencing and maintenance equipment, taking the Premier League’s total investment in the club to £66,885.
Funded with £6.5m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF – the sister organisation of the Football Foundation – 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.
Lee Savage, Chairman of Abbey Hulton United FC, said: “The FSIF have been brilliant throughout the whole process, helping us to achieve this grant. Tom Salisbury, Maria Finelli and Sophie Huby have been particularly helpful to myself with their advice and assistance.”
Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “I am delighted to hear that this money from the Premier League, delivered by the FSIF has had such a positive effect on Abbey Hulton United FC, having allowed them to meet the requirements for promotion. I’d like to offer my congratulations to them for making the project a success.
“The Premier League understands how important it is for non-league clubs to be able to offer the best facilities to its players, helping to provide safe and effective training and inspire love of the game. By channelling the Premier League’s investment into clubs like Abbey Hulton, the FSIF is working to improve the experiences of players and fans everywhere.”