Let there be light! 'A massive achievement' as Tring install new floodlights
The Spartan South Midlands League club have been working hard with off-the-field matters during the break from match action
Tring Athletic can look forward to playing under the new bright lights whenever matches resume.
Despite games currently not being played due to the suspension of the non-League game because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it hasn’t stopped the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division club from making some serious progress off the pitch.
A combination of a grant from the Football Foundation and donations from sponsors, fans and people around the town has resulted in new floodlights being installed at the Grass Roots Stadium.
Throw in a complete refurbishment of the clubhouse and it has been a productive time for Athletic and in keeping with the club’s philosophy.
“It’s been an interesting time,” chairman Bob Winter said.
“When football is going on, you tend to focus on the operational side of the club but with a bit of a break we have decided to focus our attention on getting the club in the best possible shape.
“We decided some time ago to get some new floodlights put in, which is a massive commitment to the tune of around £70,000 which is a lot of money.
“But we really needed them because our old floodlights let us down a couple of times last season and we had them looked at to see if they could be upgraded.
“That wasn’t possible so we appointed a project manager to drive it forward and it’s been a brilliant job with getting the grant from the Football Foundation and managing the contract.
“The lights have now been commissioned and it is a big achievement. It’s just a shame we can’t play under them at the moment!
“When we had them tested independently, the guy said the lights would be good enough for National League level and I must say I was gobsmacked by how good they are.
“It’s a massive achievement to get those done and we had great support from the town for it.
“There was a shortfall so we created a Floodlights Fund and we got some really good donations from sponsors, supporters and people in the town. They rose to the challenge. The support we have had has been outstanding.
“So we will be getting a patron’s board and everyone who donated will have their names on it. It will be a permanent recognition for them.
“That has been the big thing we’ve got done but we have also used the opportunity to refurbish the clubhouse and we have gone to town on that.
“I became chairman in October last year and the philosophy of the club going forward is about developing the youth talent on the playing side and, on the non-playing side, it’s about investing in the infrastructure of the club.
“And I think the floodlights and the refurbishment of the clubhouse are two big milestones in that.”
The big question now, of course, is when football might resume for Tring and other non-League clubs.
And Winter added: “The only thing we are certain about is that we are uncertain!
“You can only control what you can control and my personal view is that clubs at this level require their clubhouses to be open.
“How the league reacts remains to be seen. They might try to pack games in or they might say it’s null and void, which I think would be the more sensible approach and then start again in August. It’s anybody’s guess to be honest.”