Gresley FC fans have said they are excited by the clubs planned move to a new bigger and better ground. The football club has played at the Moat Ground, in Church Gresley for more than 100 years, but bosses are now set to start a new chapter at a new ground.
A planning application has been submitted to North West Leicestershire District Council to build a new full-sized football pitch, clubhouse and stand with flood lighting and a car park. The proposals are for a site in Albert Village, meaning the pitch would be on the boundary of Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
Ian Lummis, from the Gresley FC Supporters' Club has been a fan of the club for more than 27 years, and is excited about what the future holds for the team.
He said: "It is essential that we have a community facility up and running within the next two or three years in order to sustain ourselves as a football club.
"I know we're closer than ever and have some very good people behind the scenes working hard to get everything sorted. The amount of work that has gone on is remarkable, but will be worth it in the end."
The Moat Ground, in Moat Street, will be redeveloped when the club move making way for housing. The site has been earmarked in the South Derbyshire District Council Local Plan as one where new homes can be built. The local plan as a blueprint for development in the area. Cash from the sale of the ground will be spent on the club's new ground in Albert Village.
The new venue will be big enough for the club if they progress from the Northern Premier League Division One South into the Conference, one step below league football. Many clubs in the Conference are professional.
Mr Lummis said: "Non-league football has evolved so much in the decade since Burton left for the Football League, it has become a playground for people with more money than sense, almost mirroring the football league's professional ranks.
"Clubs making headlines have given a false impression of what actually goes on at grass roots level and the fact is that many of us are run by people who are retired and give up their spare time and rely on volunteers to help out.
"These people are in many ways like the Moat Ground; it's stood the test of time as it is a special place to watch a game of football but with the advance of FA ground grading, and the age of the Moat, alongside not owning it outright meaning where some clubs are spending ridiculous amounts of players, we have to invest on actually having the ground to play at to start with. This means that it's imperative that we get this sorted."
The Moat Ground has been the club's home since 1909, when Gresley Rovers used the venue. However, the club folded in 2009, and Gresley FC was formed to replace the team.
He said: "As a proud South Derbyshire lad and fan of Gresley Rovers and now Gresley FC for over 27 years, the passion remains to watch a game and I sincerely hope that it's at our new ground in the not too distant future.
"Having the facility to welcome the growing local community to will make me so proud. Whilst we may never have the local rivalry with Burton Albion that I grew up on and was so much fun for us as teenagers to experience, something a lot of their newer fans don't appreciate, it's still important to retain our identity for being from the little old mining areas and hearing the lingo that only someone from 'our side of the watter' can comprehend!"
History of Gresley FC
Gresley Football Club's predecessors Gresley Rovers formed in 1882 in Church Gresley.
The club's first ground was at Mushroom Lane in Albert Village. The team only played friendlies and cup games until they joined the Burton Junior League for the 1892-93 season. They won their first title in 1894-95.
The team then moved to the Church Street Ground until 1909, when they moved to the Moat Ground, where Gresley FC still play today.
The club's mascot, Elvis Gresley, was unveiled in August 2004 and has become a hit with the supporters. He is now seen as a figurehead to the current team and entertains football fans at most home home games.
In 2009, Gresley Rovers went into liquidation and Gresley FC was formed. The team was very successful in its first season, and continue to go from strength to strength as they hope to join the National League.