Harpenden Town FC launch funding appeal

HARPENDEN Town Football Club has set itself an ambitious goal to raise �30,000 to both secure its future and give its vandal-hit base a major facelift.

When the club, part of the community for 120 years, launched its appeal last Friday it warned that if funding requirements were not met, its first team will be forced into relegation.

Iain Sinnott, vice-chairman, said the clubhouse had not seen any real investment for many years and was in a poor state.

Vandals have smashed the clubhouse’s glass panes so many times that the club has been forced to brick up most windows, leaving the base dark and cave-like.

It has also been flooded by water streaming down from Rothamsted Park where the clubhouse is sited.

A former town councillor, Tony McFarland, was quoted in the Herts Advertiser last year describing the facilities as, “like an inner-city slum”.

The club is currently one of the top five sides in the South Midlands First Division. Its ambitions include inviting Harpenden Colts to use it as their administrative and social home. It also wants to throw the doors open to young people in Harpenden, on evenings when there is no football events.

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But to do so and avoid relegation on a ground grading technicality, the club needs to commission an �80,000 facelift over summer.

Iain said the club had been promised “a fantastic level of support” from St Albans district council, which leases out the facility, and the FA ground improvement fund, totalling �50,000. But the club needs to find the remaining �30,000.

Harpenden Town hopes that residents and businesses will support the scheme.

Iain said: “We believe that team sports can help our young people grow. With the pitch as it is today, the facility can only be used four times a week which represents a waste of a prime site.

“So in partnerships with other Harpenden groups, we intend to make the clubhouse a useful building seven days a week, with Harpenden’s teenagers as the focal group we hope to support.

“The result of not achieving our goal will be forced relegation of the first team despite being one of the top sides in the league, disbanding of the first team, the loss of the best coaching team we have had for years. Frankly, after 120 years as a football club, if we fail it could be the end of the road for HTFC.”

The club has asked people and organisations to show their support by pledging money online via www.harpendentownfootballclub.co.uk