Planning pays off for Gladiators

Success for Matlock Town hasn’t come on the field this season, but off it.

After years of painstaking planning, graft and fundraising, their dream of a new stand and clubhouse became reality at the picturesque Reynolds Stadium arena.

A 288-seater stand, complete with changing, laundry and medical facilities was used for the first time in September and at the home game with Whitby Town on March 26, the new Social Club was open for the very first time.

Many Matlock stalwarts remember the old main stand, which housed outdated changing rooms plus boardroom and offices, and the tiny old Scout Hut type building which was their Social Club, originally opened during the 1976/77 campaign.

“We’ve had many years of good use from the stand and seen some memorable games watching from there,” said chairman Tom Wright. “But it was time to move on, that stand structure wouldn’t have lasted much longer.

“We had some great times in the Social Club despite it being small, but it was homely. However, the new club will allow us to hold more social functions and increase income as well as being a focal point for the local community, both from in Matlock itself and the area beyond.”

Fortunately, Matlock have always had fantastic backing from not only their fans, but also from local businesses who again have given tremendous help. The Gladiators are also grateful for the advice and financial assistance from the Football Foundation in the stand construction.

Monetary backing from the County Club, who were forced out of their County Hall headquarters in the town four years ago, was also crucial in the building of the massive Social Club which can house 500 punters.

Gladiators’ official Jason Beaumont, who played a leading role in the £500,000 scheme, paid tribute to everyone who had assisted the Derbyshire side in their biggest ever development project.

“Everyone at the club has an immense sense of pride when they look at the superb facilities we have here now and we must also share that pride with everyone who has contributed to their construction. Many supporters and local people have backed us in this project and they are no doubt as pleased as we are.

“The stand is fantastic, there’s a tremendous view of the action and we have excellent facilities here that the local community can come and use for sporting purposes. Now we have the Social Club up and running, I’m sure that we’ve got one of the very best entertainment and community facilities in the region.

“Our special thanks go to the Football Foundation, the County Club, Twiggs, Longcliffe, Reynolds Sydnope and Arlingtons for their great help. Also, we musn’t forget each and every fundraiser and people who have bought raffle tickets and sponsored a seat or bought a brick, plus those people who took part in events such as sponsored walks, one such walk being for our game at Hednesford on Easter Monday 2008, a trek of 48 miles!”

Certainly, the new facilities have brought congratulatory comments the Gladiators’ way.

Last month, Matlock were presented with an award from the Groundtastic sports magazine as their new stand was acclaimed as the best new stand of 2010-2011.

Manager Mark Atkins, a Premiership title winner as a midfielder with Blackburn Rovers in 1994/95, is full of praise for everyone’s efforts. Atkins actually carried out the plastering work in the new Social Club.

“The ground here has come on leaps and bounds with this new development. The stand looks magnificent and it’s fantastic to go in the Social Club after a game to see it busy and people enjoying themselves. Everyone who has played a part in these marvellous improvements deserves a very big pat on the back.”