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New pitch giving Hanwell Town the chance to grow

13 Oct 2018

How Premier League helped non-league club improve facilities for fans and players

Ahead of Non-League Day this Saturday, we visit two amateur clubs who have benefited from Premier League investment.

Hanwell Town

Although Hanwell Town have been playing in west London for almost 100 years, their roots lie much further north.

The club was formed in 1920 by a group of workers from Newcastle who were in the capital to help build the London Underground and wanted to occupy themselves on a Saturday, hence The Geordies nickname and black-and-white-striped kit.

Hanwell Town currently play in the Bostik League South Central Division, the eighth level of the English football pyramid.

They had big plans for the future but their playing surface was a problem.

Grounds for improvement

"At the end of last season, we decided to do some work on the pitch, because we had so many games cancelled due to the weather," says Hanwell's commercial director Nigel Hunt.

To help them renovate their pitch, the club applied to the Football Foundation for a grant from the Premier League's Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), which works to improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds.

The grant of £73,580 enabled Hanwell Town to invest in a new playing surface and a new drainage structure, while their state-of-the-art irrigation system, which can be operated by a mobile phone app, is one that also used by PL clubs Fulham and AFC Bournemouth.

'Amazing facilities'

Head groundsman Tom Duffy certainly notices the impact of the pitch, especially when he takes his place in the Hanwell Town first-team defence on weekends.

"I'm a centre-back, so when you hear the striker turn around and say, 'Oh, the pitch is nice,' I'm like, 'Yeah, it's good, isn't it?' " he says.

"It's amazing to have something like this at such a small club. It will, hopefully, allow us to keep our income going throughout the winter."

'Enormous difference'

Hanwell Town have received in total four grants from the FSIF, which have helped them improve their changing rooms, sewers and clubhouse.

They are one of 120 non-league clubs who have have benefited from FSIF funds over the last 12 months.

"The money that we received from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and the Premier League has made an enormous difference to this club," says chairman Bob Fisher. "We've been able to achieve things that I never, ever dreamt that we ever would achieve."

Clubs interested in applying for FSIF funding should contact the Football Foundation.

Also in this series

Part 2: Premier League funding allows Potters Bar to thrive

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