Football's coming home for Shawbury after land donated for new ground

Football's coming home for Shawbury United after the club was gifted land to build a new ground and secure its future.

Shawbury United have been playing their first team home games at Ludlow Football Stadium
Shawbury United have been playing their first team home games at Ludlow Football Stadium

The village club, which has over 240 players in both junior and senior leagues, has been given land by local businessman Gerard Verdino on a 99-year lease, and will build a new facility featuring five football pitches, a training area and a club house.

In recent times United has experienced a somewhat nomadic existence. The first team, which plays in the West Midlands Premier Division, played at Wem for more than 20 years before being forced to move 40 miles away to Ludlow Football Stadium to remain at Step 5 in the non-league ladder in 2016. The junior sides play at multiple sites across the village.

It is hoped that the first team, managed by Declan Allan, will be playing back in Shawbury from the start of the 2021-22 season, as it will take time to get its ground ready to meet strict league regulations. The juniors could be playing their games at the new facility much earlier though.

The club is now beginning a fundraising mission to get an initial £20,000 together in order to be able to get match-funding grants, although the overall project is expected to cost a lot more.

Club chairman Dave Richards said: “I'd personally like to thank Gerard Verdino and his family for their very kind donation of the land, it means so much to me personally and everyone at Shawbury United football club to have somewhere we finally can call home. We really appreciate everything he's done for us.

"People used to say we should be called Shawbury Wanderers because we've had to go all over to play. It's a club that keeps on growing. We had three new teams start last year and we've already had interest from people wanting to set up teams for next year. It's a big football club for the size of a village like Shawbury.

Tracie Howells, chairwoman of the juniors, added; “We are delighted to be offered this amazing opportunity to secure the future of junior football within Shawbury. The new facility will allow more children to be able to participate in sport within the village and surrounding areas.”

It is hoped that the new ground will create opportunities for further sport, recreation and community based activities, attracting a wide range of participants from juniors to veterans and also the non-footballing community.

Anyone who would like to sponsor the project can contact the club, and donations can be made via www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/shawbury-fc

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