With Birtley Town entering a crucial couple of months in the race for a play-off position, the club feel it is important to update our supporters, sponsors and members on the club’s current position. 

Once the dust had settled after our memorable promotion to Northern League One attention turned to progression both on and off the field. On the field, Bryson and Foster’s men have secured their place in Northern League One and are now looking towards a play-off position.

Paul Beat and Scott Brown provide us with an update of everything that is going on behind the scenes.

Ground Grading

We knew that The Arrowmark Home Improvements Stadium would need upgrading in order to comply with the FA Ground Grading Criteria for Step 5.  The first step was to upgrade the Andy Foster stand which needed over 100 seats. We installed an additional 24 seats and worked with a local steel fabricating company to ensure the roof was extended. Our brilliant group of volunteers then worked to install the seats and safety barriers. During the summer we also invested in redecorating the changing rooms and essential pitch maintenance, once again our amazing volunteers led on these projects. The pitch looked fantastic for our opening home game against Guisborough. 

The club was aware that the floodlights would need upgrading to ensure that they meet the 120lux criteria. That upgrade became a repair job! Two of the six towers caught fire due to rain and wind damage in the winter storms. We were unable to host home games in early January. We accessed a Sport England grant within days and work began to fix the two damaged towers alongside upgrading the other four. The club now has passed the lux criteria which will remain in place for the next two years. The club would like to thank Sport England and Colin Brown for helping us during this time. 

The floodlights were recently damaged and a Sport England grant was awarded to help pay for the costs.

We received the Ground Grading report on 8th December with recommendations of improved signage, upgrades to the hardstanding around the pitch and changes to the technical area. The changes to the technical area were a quick fix and nearly all of the additional signage has been installed. The hardstanding is a big project. We have nearly 200m2 of hardstanding that covers all 4 viewing areas and we know some sections of this needs replaced. With the current weather and location of the pitch, it has been difficult for us to commence work without impacting our Junior pitches. We are delighted that the FA have supported this and accepted our request to carry out this work at the end of the season. We are now working hard to secure funding for this through various grants. We will ensure that everything meets the criteria and ensure that The Arrowmark is an enjoyable and safe experience. 

Off the Field

We continue to work closely with our sponsors who are huge part of our club. We are delighted to have welcomed some new partnerships this year with Cedar’s Family Investments, Plumbase and JH Coaches. This is to build on the amazing partnerships we have with around 30 other organisations. Direct Business Solutions continue to support the club as our main sponsor and we are delighted to have them support both our home and away strip this season. We look forward to welcoming our Sponsors to the club for the game with Whitley Bay (which also happens to be non-league day) later this month. It’s difficult times in the current financial climate so we really appreciate their support. 

The Wider Club

We are making good progress on making sure our structure is fit for purpose as the club continues to grow. We have been working with Frank Bell, our FA Consultant, on various important issues for the club including structure, governance and the asset transfer from Gateshead Council. We are hopeful of achieving a long term lease that will extend the current lease on the senior’s side but also ensure the Juniors have their pitches secured for the foreseeable future. We have a close working relationship with Steve and our Junior’s committee, hopefully we will be able to provide further updates on this in the summer. 

It has been a difficult winter with a lot of cancellations but it has been great to see a few Junior games on last weekend. The team have done a brilliant job of maintaining and protecting the pitches. We have been working closely with Northumbria Water on the drainage across the full site. We would like to thank Matty and his team for all of their work, they have been brilliant. It’s allowed us to understand what is happening underneath the surface and they have already installed some improvements to help the drainage situation. We will be looking at their proposed solutions over the next few months.  We can’t wait to welcome everyone back for the summer training programme. 

On the Pitch

We are delighted with our on the field performances this season. We continue to support Foss and Brysa as much as we are able to do so but on the same side we won’t live beyond our means. We have a fantastic group of lads who we are immensely proud of. It’s another exciting finish to the season as we hope to finish towards the top 5, could it be back to the play-offs? This would be an amazing achievement considering our main aim was to consolidate this season. 

Up The Hoops!

Paul Beat & Scott Brown