EASTBOURNE BOROUGH will become the latest National League South club to put down a 3G pitch after announcing “one of the most significant developments in the club’s history”.
The Sports will follow in the footsteps of league rivals Maidstone United and Sutton United by putting down plastic in time for next season.
Work to install the Vertex 360 XL artificial turf will begin at Priory Lane on May 9 and will be undertaken by S&C Slatter, the firm who completed Sutton’s 3G pitch.
Eastbourne also intend to convert the existing concrete hardstanding to the north of the stadium into a self-contained facility with two mini artificial pitches, which will be ideal for training sessions or small sided games.
The plans, which have been discussed for the past few years, have been made a reality after signing off on an innovative lease purchase finance agreement with CF Capital.
Funds for the construction of the pitch will be released to the contractors during the construction phase and repaid over the course of the next six years. Eastbourne Borough Council have shown their support by underwriting the funding by entering into a Step In Agreement with CF Capital.
Sports chairman Paul Maynard said: “This is one of the most significant developments in the club’s history and it’s a great way to mark our 50th anniversary.
“We have wanted to construct a 3G pitch at Priory Lane for years but the funding has never been available. When the National League confirmed last year that its member clubs could play their matches on FIFA 2 star artificial pitches, we were able to devise a business plan to enable us to convince the likes of CF Capital and the local council that such a plan made sound economic sense.
“In future years, this should enable us to come up with a playing budget that can not only sustain the club financially in this league, but in the league above as well. This should demonstrate to everyone that the club remains as ambitious as ever.
“Whilst finance is the main driver for our decision, there are many other benefits that will flow from the development. We have always been a club at the heart of the community and for the first time all of our youth teams can train on the same site.
“We have ambitious plans to expand the Academy and Development Centre and to make Eastbourne Borough the football hub of East Sussex and beyond.
“We will be able to host cup finals, charity and benefit matches, school competitions and with vastly increased visitor numbers to Priory Lane this should help swell the crowds on match days; that has certainly been the experience of other clubs who have gone down this route.”