By Nigel Slater 10/07 Updated: 17/07 14:22
A BRAND new era finally dawned for Evesham United after the town came together and celebrated the official opening of the club's new stadium.
More than 1,700 people descended on Cheltenham Road's new Hartwell and Spiers Jubillee Stadium on Saturday (July 7) to see an Evesham United Old Boys XI take on a Manchester United Legends team in an afternoon of celebration.
Before the big kick-off, former Manchester United and Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson cut the red ribbon to declare the Robins' new home open.
The spectacle, which saw the Manchester United Legends claim a 4-1 win, ended years of frustration for everyone involved in the club as football returned to Evesham for the first time in six years since the last match was held at their old ground on Common Road.
Former Manchester United players who took part included Denis Irwin, David May, Sammy Mcllroy and Clayton Blackmore.
The club were expected to move into the new stadium last year but the lack of an access road blighted the new development and delayed its grand opening.
This meant the club had to stay at their temporary home at St George's Lane and were forced to fork out further funds for the new road to be built. The Highways Agency and the Football Foundation helped the club by paying costs so the club could move in as soon as possible.
Jim Cockerton, chairman of Evesham United, said it was a historic day and the start of an exciting new era for the club.
"This is a fantastic day for Evesham United and the local community," he said. "The project has taken years of planning and to see the stadium complete and ready to be used makes it all worthwhile.
"It has been a great team effort from a number of parties, however the funding and expertise of the Football Foundation deserves a particular mention. Without their crucial support this project would never have left the drawing board."
Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, added: "I am delighted to see this tremendous new facility complete and ready for use by the local community.
"The dedication and hard work of Evesham United FC, Worcestershire County FA and local MP Peter Luff over a number of years has resulted in the successful completion of this project.
"This project, and each of the 8,000 others we have funded across the country to date, would not have been possible without the essential support of our funding partners such as The Premier League, The FA and the Government."
PERSHORE's first ever River Festival has been hailed
PREPARATIONS for next year's Pershore Carnival will begin
A NEW multi-million pound factory, billed as one
THE PARTNER of a popular drummer who died
A FORMER detective constable has appeared in court to deny ...
YOUNGSTERS in Bidford were banking on people's generosity to help ...
PLANS to build 200 homes in Webheath have been thrown ...