Nelson Football Club have revealed ambitious plans to develop their Victoria Park ground as they aim to climb the football ladder.
The club are currently in the North West Counties Premier Division and plans have been drawn up to develop the two sides of the ground with the ‘Joe Fagan Stand’ at one end and a new clubhouse at the other.
It’s hoped this will make the club, which resigned from the league in 2010 before coming back again a year later, sustainable and they can build from there with ambitions to gain promotion to the Conference – just a step below the Football League.
“It’s important to have a vision,” said chief executive Adam Keizer who, at 31, is one of the youngest chief executives in English football and has been at the club a year.
“At the moment it is just a vision as we haven’t got planning permission for either stand but we are in the process of developing the Joe Fagan stand over the next 12 months.”
Famous Liverpool manager Fagan managed Nelson in 1951-2 when they won the Lancashire Combination - the last trophy they won before clinching the North West Counties First Division title in 2014.
Nelson is a one club town and it’s about working with the council, the community and local businesses to help the dreams come true and make a football club the town can be even more proud of.Adam Keizer, chief executive
“The Fagan family are on board with it and we have spoken to the Lancashire FA and town council about it and now it’s a case of fundraising as that will depend what kind of stand we build.
“We could have just thrown one up but we want to make sure it fits in the with the stadium and the area and with Joe’s family. We don’t want to rush it, we want to get it right.
“We have raised around £5,000 so far but we are hoping to get more backers on board as the Stadia Improvement Fund will match whatever we raise meaning, the more money we have, the more impressive it will be.
“The plans for a new club house are also in the early stages but if we can build a club house, it will make the club more sustainable, we can hold functions there and it can really put Nelson FC on the map.
“They are visions at the moment but there is a lot of potential here and the profile of the club has already been raised in the last 12 months with businesses getting on board and with the club going out into the community.”
And it’s not just pipe dreams for Adam who has actually seen it happen at other clubs.
“I grew up in Nelson and then went to work in New Zealand. When I returned to England I got involved with the plans for the new stadium at FC United and saw what was originally on paper turn into Broadhurst Park - I have seen it happen.
“I also spent time at Borussia Dortmund and looked at how they run the club and took ideas from there.
“My ambition for Nelson is to help them go towards Conference level. It could take 10 years, it could take 30 years as we also have to be realistic.
“It won’t be done overnight. It’s all about having a vision and making the club sustainable so it isn’t dependent on one investor and the club won’t have to resign from the league again as we did five years ago.
“Nelson is a one club town and it’s about working with the council, the community and local businesses to help the dreams come true and make a football club the town can be even more proud of.
“And, in eight years time, it’s 100 years since Nelson went on their pre-season tour to Spain and beat Real Madrid 4-2, making them the first English team to beat Real Madrid in Spain.
“I wonder if they will fancy playing at ‘Little Wembley’, the nickname for our ground, to celebrate the anniversary? That would be a coup.”