‘Progressive’ Baffins Milton Rovers unveil ‘brilliant’ new sponsorship deal

First team boss Shaun Wilkinson has used his business contacts to help land Baffins Milton Rovers a ‘brilliant’ new sponsorship deal.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 8:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 8:38 am
How Baffins' shirts will look next season with new sponsor Hythe Building Services' name on the front

Hythe Building Services have agreed to become the Wessex League Premier Division club’s new shirt sponsors for two years.

HBS are part of the Hythe Group, with offices in Portsmouth Naval Base, Portchester and Hythe.

The company specialise in ‘mechanical packages, bespoke pipework, welding, fabrication and design services to the industrial, commercial and public sectors’ according to their website.

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How Baffins' pitch looks now following renovation work helped by a grant from the Football Foundation.

Baffins boss Wilkinson knew the company, having done pipework insulation work for them previously.

‘I was able to bring them to the table,’ he said.

‘I gave them a call, told him what we’re doing at the club and what we’re aiming to do, and fortunately for us they came on board.

‘That will take a financial burden off the club.

How Baffins Milton Rovers' pitch looked in mid-March after vandalism.

‘I’m pleased that people can see Baffins is a progressive club.

‘We’ve got a forward-thinking chairman who is involved with one of the biggest building companies on the south coast.

‘That should be a big pull for any business wanting to get involved.’

Rovers chairman is Steve Cripps, the managing director at Portsmouth-based PMC Construction - the company currently working on Pompey’s North Stand improvements.

‘For a club at our level, we have to try and attract sponsors,’ said Wilkinson.

‘The fact that Hythe have committed to be our main sponsor for two years is brilliant news in this economic climate.

‘I’ve said before that if the club can carry on off the field in the next three years as they have the last three, then we’ll be heading in the right direction.

‘It will then be up to me to get it right on the pitch.’

HBS operations manager Dan Hurcombe said: ‘We know Shaun well, he’s done some work for us and some of our managers used to play football with him.

‘He’s a good bloke with a long career in football at a high level.

‘He approached us, we took a look at it and thought it was a good opportunity to advertise.

‘Baffins have got people who work in the construction industry, so this is a good chance to showcase our business.

‘We’ve never worked with PMC Construction, but we would like to establish a relationship. But this isn’t just about that, it’s about getting our name out there.’

No-one can doubt Baffins’ ambitions to grow the club and continue progressing up the non-league pyramid.

In the last five years, around £300,000 has been spent on bringing the club’s PMC Stadium up to its current level.

Of that, £93,500 has been donated by the Football Foundation, an official charity funded by the Premier League, The FA and government.

Baffins moved into their current ground on the Eastern Road at the start of 2015/16, when they were still playing in the Hampshire Premier League. Previously, they played on the adjoining pitch.

Since then, the Foundation has helped to fund the following improvements:

Oct 2015: £6,400 for perimeter fencing and drainage;

Nov 2015: £4,900 for w/c block and drainage;

Jan 2016: £2,200 for general renovation;

Aug 2016: £33,000 for floodlights;

Oct 2017: £20,000 clubhouse;

July 2019: £20,000 pitchside fencing;

June 2020: £6,500 pitch renovation.

Total: £93,500.00

Apart from the latter grant, all other monies were only given after Baffins had raised around 70 per cent of the total cost themselves.

‘It is a significant sum,’ said Cripps.

‘When a club is in its infancy you can’t pay big wages, because you’re paying out on the facilities.

‘It’s only when you got the facilities 100 per cent right can you then start to look at wages.

‘We are some way away from doing that.’

This is how the Foundation works: When a club is promoted to a new level a certain amount of grant money becomes available.

For example, Baffins were allocated around £95,000 from the Foundation when they were promoted into the Wessex League in the summer of 2016.

The cash could be claimed in stages, depending on what work needed doing, within a five-year period.

Were Rovers to win promotion again to the Southern League - the club’s ambition - another pot of Foundation money would become available for ground improvements.

The most recent Foundation grant was to help cover the cost of reseeding the pitch after a vandalism attack in mid-March.

A tractor was stolen from the nearby golf club and used to break down fencing to get onto Baffins’ pitch and cut it up badly.

Cripps was pleasantly surprised to be contacted by the Foundation offering financial help without even asking for it.

As a result, he has only praise for their support of the grassroots game.

‘They have gone above and beyond,’ he remarked. Local football would struggle without them.’