Non League Daily

Daniels Ready To Add Another Chapter To History

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division club Stamford AFC are set to write a new chapter in their rich history this weekend when they run out at the Zeeco Stadium for the first time.


The Daniels brought down the curtain on 118 years of history at Kettering Road on Saturday 22nd November, when they beat Rushall Olympic 3-0 in the final outing at Hanson's Field.

And following Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Witton Albion, a result that left The Daniels in sixteenth place in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division, David Staff's first team are ready to take on Nantwich Town at the Zeeco Stadium at 3pm on Saturday to kick-off a new era at Borderville Sports Complex.

The keys to the new stadium were handed over to the club in September following the completion of building work, and while facilities including the new college and 3G pitch have been in use for over two months, the Zeeco Stadium has been unable to host any matches due to the pitch needing to pass an FA inspection.

The turf at Ryhall Road was given the green light by FA officials in the middle of last month however, triggering the move from Kettering Road to the new home of the Daniels. The Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) provided a grant of £150,000 towards the new ground.

Funded with £6m 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.

The Zeeco Stadium will contain several references to the former ground. The end nearest to Ryhall Road will be officially known as The Old Railway End, in a nod to the Kettering Road ground's Railway Side, while the opposite end, which backs on to the all-weather, 3G pitch, will be known as The New Hedge End, in honour of the hedge that used to surround the club's previous home.

The changing room side will take its name from the complex's location, being referred to as the Borderville side, while the opposite side will be known as The Town Side, in reference to locals often referring to the old Hanson's Field ground as The Town Ground.

The move across Stamford will allow the club to further enhance their abilities to develop players of all ages at the Young Daniels Football Development Centre. The Daniels' work in player development has already been recognised by the Football Association, who named Stamford as an FA Charter Standard Community Club - the highest possible accreditation they could be awarded - highlighting their dedication towards nurturing young talent.

The Development Centre currently houses fifteen teams across eleven different age groups led by over thirty coaches and managers, with some qualified as high as UEFA B level, and is now equipped with year-round use of the Borderville complex's 3G pitch, made possible thanks to a £500,000 grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund.

The facility is seen as crucial to developing the next generation of English footballers by FA Chairman Greg Dyke, who recently announced his intention to double the number of all-weather pitches available to youngsters in his England Commission report.

The club aim to see more 'Young Daniels' break through to the first team in the coming years with the intention of building successful footballing careers, similar to that of Ricky Miller, a Daniels youth product who now plays in The Football League for Luton Town.

Stamford's youth team faced local rivals Blackstones at the new ground last Friday as part of final preparations for this weekend's opening match, which is expected to be attended by a bumper crowd.


Source: Richard Curtis

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