Stadium and pitch redevelopment ‘huge step’ for Euxton Villa FC

North West Counties [NWCFL] Division One North club Euxton Villa are to begin redeveloping their stadium, the Jim Fowler Memorial Ground, at the beginning of June this year.

The step six club were offered £100,000 towards their £1.4m stadium and pitch redevelopment plans by Chorley Council at the end of January 2023.

What the Jim Fowler Memorial Ground currently looks like / PIC: Edward Moss

The club currently play at the Jim Fowler Memorial ground, and alongside the Lancashire FA and the Football Foundation, plans have been drawn up to revolutionise the stadium.

The clubhouse and carpark are both set to be extended, with the old, natural pitch to be replaced by a new artificial one.

Work on the ground is expected to last 14-16 weeks, meaning Euxton will need to find a ground share for the start of the 2023/24 season.

“I think it’s going to be huge for the football club,” said Club Director Mark McDonnell.

“I think we’re going to secure the future of the club, it’s a £1.4m development, so the pitch will be [used] seven days a week.

“With the Football Foundation, they help with something called the Premier League fund, where they will put a state of the art pitch in.

“The actual pitch itself will take us as high as the National League, not that we’ve got ambitions to go there but the standard of the pitch will be that good.”

Club Director Mark McDonnell [Left] with Ethan Darr [Right] / PIC: Paul O’Brien

The new pitch won’t just be used by the first team though, with Euxton’s other teams getting the chance to use the new facilities.

Villa are also looking to generate some extra revenue by hiring the pitch out.

McDonnell said: “The pitch is going to be used by the whole club, we’ve got 45 teams now, so there’s going to be heavy use by the club.

“We’re also talking to Chorley, Chorley Ladies, and a couple of rugby teams [about using the facilities].

“We also want to hire the pitch out or use the pitch for free for vulnerable groups and that sort of thing.

“It’s going to be used for the whole community.”

This season Euxton Villa have exceeded expectations in their maiden NWCFL season, with the club currently sat 4th in the league.

Villa made the jump up to the step six division from the West Lancashire League at the end of last season.

Euxton Villa’s player-manager Matthew Atherton / PIC: Paul O’Brien

Player-manager Matthew Atherton believes playing on a new surface will only have a positive impact on the way his side play.

He said: “I think it’s one of those where in the past people have said it changes everything [playing on an artificial pitch], but nowadays everyone trains on artificial pitches.

“I think four or five teams in our league play on an artificial pitch as well.

“It will change certain things, hopefully it makes it a little bit more of a passing game, because as you saw today [in Euxton’s 1-1 draw with Cleator Moor Celtic], a February pitch is hard to play on.”

Euxton Villa played out a 1-1 draw with Cleator Moor Celtic on Saturday / PIC: Edward Moss

Atherton is also delighted at the prospect of being able to play consistently without having to think about the weather.

“That will be a big bonus, I think we played four games in eight days recently,” he said.

“It just kills you, there’s no way you can keep the consistency in games like that, that makes it hard.

“With artificial pitches you can pretty much bank on playing those games through all weather.”