PRIDE filled a football stadium as members of a popular club celebrated the official opening of their new ground.
Baffins Milton Rovers’ officially opened the ground after years of hard work and generous donations.
Based at Kendall’s Wharf, Eastern Road, Portsmouth, the team now boasts floodlights, a 120-seat stand and a home to be proud of.
And topping it off the club beat Salisbury FC 5-1 in a pre-season friendly yesterday.
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller, and council leader Donna Jones, opened the ground yesterday with ex-Pompey player Alan Knight MBE.
Louie Bell, first team manager, said all the players and those behind the scenes had put in a huge effort to get the club a permanent home.
He said: ‘They’re so proud of what we’ve done and what we’ve achieved. It’s an ongoing project, if we can get promoted this year and go up to the Wessex Premier League then who knows.
‘If we can keep the lads together and the spirit going there’s no stopping us.’
The club has grown from a Sunday league side and last year won the Hampshire Premier League team but couldn’t be promoted due to the state of their former ground.
Speaking yesterday, first-team player Shane Cornish said: ‘It’s exciting to see now people come to the ground from people seeing us playing at Great Salterns.’
The 27-year-old, of Milton Road, Milton, added: ‘They’re amazed at the effort, it’s amazing really.
‘We’ve gone from playing in the marshes to having our own club to having the ground looked after, floodlights and a stand.’
A £33,189 grant from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund part-funded the £50,000 project.
Sponsors Kendalls Concrete contributed, along with firms Cosham Plant Hire and Pro-Roofing Solutions.
Mick Kendall, of Kendallls Concrete, added: ‘It’s a huge effort from all the players.’
The club has a 50-year lease from Portsmouth City Council for the site.