Owner reveals his plans for Yellows
SOUTHPORT FC’s newest director, Phil Hodgkinson, has revealed the club will carry out major work to modernise the Merseyrail Community Stadium.
The work will begin next summer, with the main stand to be stripped out and refitted.
As well as new seats in the club’s yellow and black colours, a new roof will be installed, replacing the current leaky one, and new dugouts will also be fitted.
The facilities inside the stand will also undergo major renovation to become more modern and fit for purpose.
The players will benefit from new changing rooms, while supporters and sponsors will be able to enjoy an improved Grandstand Bar and corporate facilities.
The plans for the main stand have been fully costed, with architect’s drawings to be released in the coming weeks, and will be financed through a £350,000 sponsorship from Mr Hodgkinson’s Pure Legal Group.
The facilities are expected to be in place by the start of the 2018/19 season, with the stand renamed as the Pure Legal Group Main Stand.
Mr Hodgkinson, who joined the club’s board in September, has also outlined plans to build a covered stand opposite the Main Stand, big enough to hold 1,300 spectators and with corporate facilities for 200 people.
This would mean, as well as giving shelter on the popular side for the first time in many years, the facility could attract more revenue on match days and throughout the rest of week.
The new corporate and office facilities would double up to as space for functions and events, a clear example of the plans to run the club in a significantly more professional way.
It is expected that this second development would cost £500,000, with half funded through grants and the other half to be funded through sponsorship from another nearby business.
The club are also exploring sites to build a training facility with a mixture of 4G and grass pitches. As well as benefiting the first team, this would also enable the creation of a formal academy involving a link to a local college, though those aspects of the plan remain in their infancy.
In the meantime, Southport FC are set to return to training at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk and are due to return to full-time status next season.
When he first announced his interest in investing in Southport, Mr Hodgkinson – a self-made millionaire – outlined detailed plans for the club, including building a new stadium. All those plans remain, subject to agreement with the other board members, though the fact that he arrived mid-season rather than in the summer has lengthened the process.
He now says he plans to hold a major event in the town to launch the club’s detailed plan for the coming years to supporters, residents and businesses as part of a bid to bring the club back to the centre of the community.
He said: “A new stadium is still the plan but the reality is there’s no point spending millions building a new stadium if the support isn’t there in the town.
“We’ve got to begin a huge re-engagement process after years of mediocrity and the reality is we’ve got eight months to do as much as we can before the start of next season.
“We’ve got big plans for the football club and we’re determined to do things properly.
“It may take a little longer than we’d like but we will definitely get there.”
The Main Stand at Haig Road will undergo a complete transformation