Preparations in full swing at new Eastwood football club

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One of the co-founders of newly-formed Eastwood Community FC says swift progress is being made on and off the pitch as the football season approaches.

The new club will begin life in the Central Midlands League South later this month after being chosen a fortnight ago to take over Eastwood Town FC’s Coronation Park.

And Ben Marshall believes things are moving along well as preparations continue.

He said: “Things are taking shape and we’ve been blown away by the support we’ve had from local people since we got the nod to take over Coronation Park.

“We’ve got a manager in Tony Clarke who has vast experience in non-league football and who is also understanding of our stance that the priority in the first two or three years is to make this club sustainable.

“Alongside him is Jamie Bennett who is well known in the local non-league game and who also brings with him great contacts.

“Brian Willows is on board as a director having a fantastic record behind him in sports facilities management, including having worked wonders at the Rolls Royce facility in Hucknall, and chairman Steve Yardley is a well-respected Nottingham business leader.

“So we’ve a good team in place behind the scenes and based on the evidence of the friendlies we’ve played so far we’re confident we’ll have a competitive squad in place too.”

Marshall says patience will be key to making the new club a success, with the harsh realities of what happened to Eastwood Town ringing in the ears of football fans in the town and also those in charge of the new venture.

He said: “We obviously want to play as high as we can but we have to do things properly otherwise it’ll be curtains very quickly.

“This is a long-term venture and the dream is to eventually create the kind of player pathways that will see lads progress from the youth set-up right through to the first team in years to come - just like how it used to be in years gone by.

“There was a lot of bad blood around the old club which is why a clean break was needed. We want to produce players that make the town proud again whilst at the same time providing great facilities both on and off the pitch. Without the community this club can’t exist.”

Marshall believes having Coronation Park as a home will not only benefit Eastwood CFC greatly, but also the Central Midlands League as a whole.

He added: “The fact is we are lucky to have one of the best non-league grounds in the county and that will command respect from players who will visit here with other clubs.

“We’re looking forward to some great local derbies here against the likes of the two Hucknall sides and our aim is also to get attendances into three figures as quickly as we can, tapping into the kind of support that followed Eastwood Town even when things were going badly.

“To that end, admission prices will be just £3 per game and season tickets will cost £45, as we don’t want finance to be a barrier to people coming and being part of our new club.

“We’re still working on getting safety certificates sorted for the stands at each end of the ground and the final formalities of the lease are also being completed, but Broxtowe Borough Council have been superb to deal with throughout so we don’t anticipate too much of a delay.”

Marshall, who has experience coaching in youth football in the Hucknall area, also confirmed a new soccer school will begin at Coronation Park in September, adding: “All of us starting this club are passionate about grassroots football and the soccer school was a key part of our vision moving forward.

“My heart and passion is in the community and coaching youth teams and so I’ll be heavily involved in that side of things too.”

Also in the Central Midlands League South Division next season are: Belper United, Bilborough Pelican, Blidworth Welfare, Bulwell, Calverton MW, Clifton All Whites, Harrowby Saints, Holbrook St Michaels, Hucknall Rolls Leisure, Hucknall Town, Linby Colliery, Mickleover RBL, Mickleover Royals, Pinxton, Real United, Southwell City and Swanwick Pentrich Road.