MOSSLEY Football Club is to spend about £33,000 early next year upgrading the floodlights at Seel Park.
And the club has been successful in a grant application as the Football Foundation will fund 70 per cent of the cost for the new LED eco-friendly lights.
That has still left Mossley to find almost £10,000 with proceeds from the successful fireworks display, watched by a crowd of 2,500 at Seel Park, will be ploughed into the project as well as money from higher-than-budgeted attendances.
Finance director Graeme Jones believes the new lights will not take long to pay for themselves, pointing out repairs to the existing ones cost several thousand pounds each season.
There was an incident not long ago when a traditional bulb on one of the pylons exploded during a match.
Chairman Stephen Porter added: “LED floodlights will make the pitch brighter and will also be more eco-friendly.
“As well as being better for the environment, they will also reduce the amount of electricity used.”
Since lockdown in March 2020, Mossley have already invested about £50,000 on much-needed ground improvements after years of neglect, some of which has been funded by grants.
The leaking rooves of the main buildings have all been replaced at a cost of £27,000 while another £10,000 was needed to meet the Northern Premier League’s ground grading.
A sum of £7,000 was spent on pitch renovations while there has been a lot of electrical work done including safety lighting, refurbishment of the sponsors’ lounge and club shop, a new PA system and chiller fridge in the bar.
Mossley are also hoping to eventually replace the old concrete fence around the perimeter of the pitch which Mr Porter says has seen better days. That is likely to cost possibly as much as the new floodlights.
Mr Jones added: “Our gates have increased and are averaging about 450, but we have kept the same playing budget.
“We are using all our additional resources to reinvest in the infrastructure and that will hopefully benefit us for many years to come.
“Every time it rained, we had repair bills for damage caused. Now the buildings are watertight, we are now having to throw money at repairs.”
In another eco-friendly initiative, Mossley have introduced branded re-usable plastic pint glasses in the bar.
Mr Porter estimated there were about 500 glasses that were disposed of each match before the re-usable ones were introduced.
Fans pay a £2 deposit which is refundable at the end of the match.
Mr Porter said: “It is about doing the right thing for the environment.
“On a matchday, we must have seen 500 glasses left in bins, and they needed disposing, something we couldn’t continue seeing. That is why we have gone for re-usable ones.”
Mr Porter was delighted with the success of the licenced fireworks display, the largest community event held in Mossley since lockdown with close to 2,500 attending.
As Mossley had a match the following day against Workington, there was no bonfire in the car park for fear of debris damaging the pitch.
The committee, spearheaded by Mike Richmond, brought in many independent food retailers while local crafters were given free pitches to provide additional interest for visitors.
Britain’s Got Talent winner Jon Courtenay provided a set on the night and there was entertainment from Carlo Sax, Mossley Ukelele Group and a dance troupe.
Mr Porter said: “It was a brilliant night and above and beyond expectations.
“It was not primarily about making money but bringing the Mossley community together and putting on an event for them.”