Grainger hoping £750,000 outlay will lead to elevated attendances
Manager Kevin Grainger has called upon the horseracing community and the people of Newmarket to get behind the town’s football club after it unveiled a £750,000 revamp of the newly-named Ridgeons Stadium.
Notorious for having an uneven playing surface in years gone by, the Jockeys are now able to boast a state of the art 3G cork-filled pitch.
The improvements, which have cost a total of £750,000, also include Osram flat glass LED floodlights — a world first for a football club — and renovated dressing rooms.
The funds were raised by the club selling off its old car park for housing, while a grant of £96,610 from The Football Stadia Improvement Fund was also received.
Similar enhancements have been made at AFC Sudbury and Harlow Town, both of whom Grainger’s men will face in pre-season friendlies over the coming weeks.
Those two clubs recently secured promotions from their respective divisions, but for Newmarket to follow suit, Grainger believes that they need to get more paying customers through the door.
“You have to look at it a little bit differently. Attendances are a great earner,” he said.
“Harlow is a big area and Sudbury have always had big crowds going back to when they were in our league.
“We need the people of Newmarket to come out and support the football club. It is not all about the racing. We try to support the racing. A lot of people involved in racing play football here.
“If we can get the racing community and the people of Newmarket behind us, this club, with this facility, can move on.
“Hopefully this new facility will generate some interest. We are open seven days a week. We are trying to improve everything.”
The new facilities were officially opened by former Premier League striker turned racehorse trainer Micky Quinn, who is based in the town.
Speaking about the work that has been carried out, the ex-Newcastle United player said: “I have seen a lot of these pitches and this one is the best.
“There is an ex-Premier League player living in the area and with this facility, who knows, there could be one coming through in the future.”
n Newmarket have been drawn away to Thurlow Nunn League First Division side Halstead Town in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup on Saturday, August 6.
If they can triumph in that tie, the Yellows would then face a trip to Ryman League Division One North outfit Thurrock (August 20).
In the FA Vase, Newmarket will travel to the winners of Yaxley versus Eynsbury in the second round qualifying.