AFC Portchester keen to install 3G surface in memory of club stalwart Steve Woods
The club's life president, who passed away recently, had been heading up a committee with a view to putting down an artificial pitch at Wicor Rec.
Woods led a virtual meeting on the matter less than a month ago prior to his death at the end of last month.
Now AFC Portchester chairman Paul Kelly is determined to make sure the 3G surface is delivered as a tribute to his close friend.
The Royals have held discussions with both Fareham Borough Council and the FA regarding funding for the project.
And Kelly will now take the lead on the plan to ensure Portchester follow through with something that was at the forefront of Woods' mind.
Kelly said: ‘It was only three weeks ago we were having a Zoom meeting to put our business plan together for the next stage in our ambition with the 3G pitch and Steve was heading the committee with that.
‘He was the chair for that. I’m going to take that role on and make sure we get that done in his memory.
‘He always said before he retired from the club he wanted to make sure his legacy was there with the 3G pitch, so I’ll make sure that gets seen right the way through.
‘The last year with Covid and that has slowed things up, but we’ve had conversations with Fareham Council and the FA about funding.
‘It’s something that we really want to do but we’ve hit a few hurdles along the way - Covid being the main one.
‘We just want to push on with that as a club and I’m inundated with people that want to help out now and push this as far as we can in memory of Steve.
‘The 3G pitch is the main thing that will live in his memory forever.'
Havant & Waterlooville boast the only 3G pitch among senior non-league clubs in the Portsmouth area, their surface being laid last summer. Prior to lockdown, it was being used by Portsmouth's women team and Hampshire Premier Leaguers Clanfield.
Moneyfields, though, have a 3G pitch planned for the multi-million pound redevelopment of Dover Road which has been delayed due to the pandemic.
Among Wessex League clubs, Hamworthy United are the only Premier club with a 3G surface while Alton are the only Division 1 club with an artificial pitch.
Portchester, meanwhile, are also hoping to host a charity tournament in order to grant another of Woods' wishes.
He was keen to raise money for the NHS through the club after undergoing a liver transplant in 2019.
However, all fundraising plans were put back last because of the pandemic.
But now, with the blessing of Woods' family, Portchester are looking to put on an event to raise funds for the NHS.
Kelly added: 'I’ve been inundated about doing a charity football match in aid of him.
‘He was desperate to raise money for the NHS because of the liver transplant.
‘But because of Covid, everytime we put something in the diary, obviously, we weren’t allowed to use the clubhouse with bars open and stuff like that.
‘People are saying they want to do this and that so, again, I’ve put another sub-committee together and with Steve’s family’s blessing we’re going to pencil in a weekend where we’ll have a mini-tournament in aid of Steve for the fundraising for the NHS because that was his wish.'