More than a game

Bright future for Eastleigh FC after Premier League funding

28 Mar 2024

Find out how Premier League investment has helped one non-league club upgrade their facilities

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Last weekend marked the latest Non-League Day, which celebrates grassroots football and encourages fans of Premier League clubs to take in a local non-league fixture over the international break.

As part of the Premier League's support for the campaign, we are featuring some of the top-flight players who have gained valuable experiences and lessons in the non-league game.

Supporting the football pyramid

Former Premier League striker Glenn Murray marked Non-League Day last weekend by going to Hampshire to take in a match at Eastleigh FC to see how Premier League investment is supporting clubs throughout the football pyramid.

Eastleigh FC, Non-League Day

Murray, who started his career in non-league before playing in the top flight with Brighton & Hove Albion, AFC Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, joined a 2,500 strong crowd at Silverlake Stadium for Eastleigh's National League fixture against Hartlepool United in the fifth tier of English football.

The playing surface was immaculate despite recent challenging weather conditions, thanks in no small part to the club's utilisation of a £215,000 grant from the Premier League Stadium Fund.

"The old pitch didn't drain at all well," said the club's long-standing head groundskeeper Dan Barnes. "By getting the funding from the Premier League, we were able to reconstruct the pitch and have a new irrigation system installed underneath the full pitch.

Eastleigh FC, Non-League Day, Glenn Murray

"Having a high-quality surface is a huge benefit to everyone involved at the club. For the manager and players, there are no concerns over inconsistency with the surface."

It is part of significant investment Eastleigh FC have received from the Premier League to improve their ground.

They benefited from £375,000 of Premier League funding, which has also supported improvements to the floodlights, stands and dressing rooms.

And those facilities were proudly on display for Saturday's Non-League Day fixture that featured two former Premier League players in the dugouts.

Eastleigh FC, Non-League Day, Kevin Phillips, Kelvin Davies

Kelvin Davis, who made 53 top-flight appearances for Southampton and Sunderland, is the new Eastleigh FC manager, while the Premier League's 1999/2000 Golden Boot winner Kevin Phillips took charge of visitors Hartlepool United.

"This pitch is magnificent, it is one of the best I've seen," said Phillips, who scored 92 Premier League goals for five clubs. "Part of the charm and the challenge of the non-league is you do get a variety of conditions. It's a great challenge every week."

Phillips also started in non-league, playing for Baldock Town, in Hertfordshire.

"I love being involved in football - whether that's at the top of the pyramid in the Premier League, playing for England or as a non-league manager," he said. "You'll always find people who are passionate about the game and enjoy everything it has to offer."

Eastleigh FC, Non-League Day, Kevin Phillips

The Premier League Stadium Fund that helped Eastleigh FC awards capital grants to lower-league clubs to support improvement of their stadium facilities for players, supporters and officials.

The fund has delivered grants to more than 1,000 clubs playing in over 100 leagues. Total investment since 2000 is almost £200million.

"Non-league clubs are the bedrock of our national game and without them the game would suffer at all levels," said Non-League Day Founder James Doe. "I hope Non-League Day opens people's eyes to what a wonderful level of football this is - and shines a light on the staff and volunteers who power the football clubs."

Eastleigh FC, Non-League Day

Football broadcaster and Hartlepool fan Jeff Stelling, who is also an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK, the official charity partner of Non-League Day, added: "There is a lot to like about football at this level.

"There are some good clubs, very good players and the fans are just as committed as they are if you’re a Manchester City or Liverpool fan."

PL support for wider football

The investment at Eastleigh FC is part of the significant financial support the Premier League offers clubs throughout the English football pyramid.

Through the Premier League Stadium Fund, £192.7m of Premier League money has been invested into improving the stadiums and facilities of clubs in the EFL, National League System and Women's Football Pyramid since 2000. More than 5,630 grants have been provided to 1,083 clubs across 114 leagues.

Between 2022-2025, the League's commitment to investing £1.6billion to the wider game is the biggest voluntary contribution to communities and other good causes of any football league in the world. Of this, £400m will go to funding projects including the development of facilities and community and education programmes.


The Premier League will also provide approximately £16m of financial support to National League clubs in solidarity, Academy and community funding in that three-year period.

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