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|MARINE HIT FLOODLIGHTS TARGET
Chairman Paul Leary has paid tribute to those who donated to Evo-Stik League Premier Division club Marine's floodlight appeal - and stressed how severe the consequences would have been if funds had not been raised.
New lights were delivered to the Arriva Stadium last Monday and are expected to be fitted imminently after the Mariners reached their £40,000 target earlier this summer.
A dedicated band of club officials and supporters set about trying to raise funds but were finding progress towards their goal slow.
However, a grant of over £36,000 from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund was the boost they needed and allowed them to purchase replacements for their 35 year-old floodlights.
Earlier last season, one floodlight caught fire after an electrical fault and with them no longer being able to be maintained, Marine knew they had to set about securing a new set.
Leary says the club can look forward to enjoying midweek matches at their Crosby home but admits that if the money not been found then the club would have been forced into a costly ground move for night matches.
"It was dire circumstances that we were faced with," said the Whites' chairman.
"It was the first week in September and just after the end of our home game with Northwich Victoria when one of the floodlights burst into flames. It was caused by an electrical fault.
"But, in a funny way, it reinforced the need for an appeal and that we were desperate to replace them as soon as we possibly could.
"The consequences of not raising the funds would have been dire. We would not have been able to play night games at the Arriva Stadium and so we would have had to play those games elsewhere.
"From a financial point of view and for the fans, it would have been a worst case scenario."
The public and supporters all played their part as did the launch of an appeal website to further promote their cause.
Sponsored walks and club officials turning up to games in fancy dress, all added to the pot.
However, they remained way off their £40,000 target.
But having shown their efforts and willing to raise the money on their own, the generous grant came their way.
Delivered last week, the new floodlights are a sign, the club hope, of a prosperous future.
"We had to demonstrate to the football authorities that we had the funds in place," said Leary.
"We had to give evidence of our own fund raising and where it had come from.
"Every person, whether they donated £1 or £100, got a personal letter from myself because they have dug deep.
"Lot and lots of people have been absolutely fantastic and it has been a marvellous experience in the end."
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