Test Valley Borough Council have said they are delighted to welcome Andover Town Football Club back to Portway Stadium as the team – currently top of the Wessex League (Division 1) – play their first game at the stadium this Saturday, 21st December.
The move back to Portway follows the council’s agreement earlier this year to contribute £200,000 towards the refurbishment of the stadium. The work to date has seen extensive improvements and will eventually include new interior spaces for community and teaching activities.
The deal will see the authority lease the stadium to Andover Town Football Club Ltd, with Sparsholt College acting as joint guarantor for the lease. The college has also been working to secure Football Association (FA) funding. The total cost of the refurbishment works will be in excess of £325,000. The Council expects to recoup its investment in 15 years through rent paid by the club.
Councillor Ian Carr, Leader of the Council, said: “It has long been my ambition to see Portway Stadium brought back in to use hosting an Andover town team. I am thrilled that the funding the council provided to refurbish the stadium has paved the way for the Andover Town Football Club to make it their home ground.”
“The move of the team back to their home town in a newly refurbished Portway Stadium and their current top off the league performance is great news for Andover. This nicely rounds off a year where we have made considerable progress to bring improvements and foster a greater pride in the town.”
“I am also honored to have been elected to serve on the club’s board. I look forward to playing a part in shaping and steering the club and developing opportunities for the stadium to be used by sport providers across the borough, particularly for the benefit of young people.”
“I hope to see many local people join me by turning out to support the team at their first home game this Saturday and throughout the season.”