Notts County ‘football eutopia’ plans for fans



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New fan zone at Meadow Lane Notts County FC Image: Notts County FC

The English Football League (EFL) League Two team Notts County F.C. (UK) Chief Executive Joe Palmer recently provided an update on the several club projects as he nears the end of his first season in post.

‘Notts County Football Club’ quoted Joe Palmer as stating, “On my arrival at the club last Summer, I discussed the importance of exploring innovative ideas which could open new revenue streams for years to come, rather than solely relying on ‘traditional’ forms of income. We set to work on this straightaway and, in February, announced plans to develop a best-in-class fan zone and events space on the perimeter of Meadow Lane.”

Preston (UK)-based the English Football League (EFL) is a league of professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, it is the oldest football league in the world and was the top-level football league in England (UK) from its foundation until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split from it to form the Premier League (the highest level of the English football league system). The Football League was rebranded as the ‘English Football League’ (EFL) from the 2016-2017 seasons.

The Notts County Football Club is a professional association football club based in Nottingham, England (UK). The team compete in EFL League Two, the fourth level of the English football league system.

The 20,229-capacity Meadow Lane is a football stadium in Nottingham, England (UK). It is the home ground of the Notts County F.C., who have played there since it opened in 1910.

‘Notts County Football Club’ further quoted Palmer as stating, “I’m delighted to say that we have now been granted planning permission to proceed with this huge and extremely exciting project – and intend to open in time for the commencement of England’s participation in this Summer’s European Championships, with the aim of providing the best destination in Nottingham for the football fans to watch the eagerly-anticipated tournament unfold.”

The 2024 Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA EURO 2024 or simply EURO 2024, will be the 17th edition of the UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international football championship organized by the UEFA for the European men’s national teams of its member-associations. It will be hosted by Germany and will be held from June 14th-July 14th, 2024.

Nyon (Switzerland)-based the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of six continental bodies of governance in association football. It governs football, futsal and beach football in Europe and the transcontinental countries of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, as well as the West Asian countries of Cyprus, Armenia and Israel. The UEFA consists of 55 national association members. Since 2022, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the FIFA and UEFA has suspended all Russian national teams and clubs from any FIFA and UEFA competitions.

“The venue, titled the Nest and boasting a capacity of more than 1,000, will be our own take on the likes of Boxpark (a food and retail park made out of refitted shipping containers in Britain), with work to begin soon on a comprehensive refurbishment and the installation of state-of-the-art lighting, sound and screens. For the Notts fans, the matchday experience will be revolutionized. As I discussed following the installation of a new container bar behind the Kop (stand), our growing fan base deserve far more in terms of food, beverage and pre/post-match entertainment – and they can now look forward to having one of the very best provisions in English football from the start of the 2024-2025 seasons. The supporters will be able to watch the early and late Premier League kickoffs, sample delicious street food from a top-class rotation of vendors and quickly buy refreshments from a large bar – all within an incredibly short walk of the turnstiles.”

“On non-matchdays, the possibilities are endless with the space lending itself perfectly to a variety of events including beer and food festivals, comedy, film screenings, e-sports, and much more. We can’t wait to begin working with our new partners to build a year-round schedule of events that will bring thousands of new people to Meadow Lane, while also providing a host of employment opportunities to the City. The work is only just beginning so, if you’d like to receive regular updates on the Nest including details of how to book your place for the EUROS, please click here.

“Continuing on the theme of matchday experience, I’m pleased to say that the next season’s hospitality provision will be greatly enhanced by the reconfiguration and expansion of the corporate seating area in the Derek Pavis Stand. In line with the club’s growth in recent years, we’re experiencing unprecedented demand for hospitality but are hampered by a limited number of premium seats, which quickly sell out for every match. For context, our suites can accommodate up to 450 guests per match – but with only 200 premium seats available we’re not even close to maximizing our potential. To resolve this, we’ll be relocating the Press box and making some other adjustments in that area to ensure we can create a true VIP experience for all our hospitality guests from 2024-2025 onwards. We’re working on an exciting new range of packages, too, so I’d encourage you to click here to register for updates on all things hospitality ahead of the new season.”

“An improved hospitality offering will make us a far more attractive prospect to our club partners – and to help us find them I’m delighted to welcome Adam Chantrey into the brand-new role of Head of Commercial Sales. Adam brings with him a wealth of experience and contacts from his very successful time at Lincoln City F.C. (EFL League One team). As part of the restructure of the commercial team, Jordan Worthington has taken on a new role as our Head of Venue, Ticketing and Retail, which will see him put the considerable knowledge he’s developed across various departments to brilliant use as part of our continued efforts to provide the best possible service to the fans and the customers. In line with this, the club will be undergoing a digital transformation this Summer with the introduction of a brand-new website, bespoke app and retail provider. These new platforms will vastly improve the way fans interact with us across all our touchpoints and we look forward to providing more information in due course.”

“There will also be a full reconstruction of the Meadow Lane pitch -the first of its kind since the stadium’s redevelopment in the 1990s. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our ground staff, it may come as a surprise to fans that the pitch is in desperate need of reconstruction. Both the underlying drainage system and the sub-soil base are starting to fail and require total replacement. In truth, we can count ourselves fortunate not to have had matches postponed due to waterlogging this season – and the Board have agreed that now is the correct time to resolve this issue by thoroughly modernizing the entire infrastructure of the pitch and its surroundings. As well as state-of-the-art drainage, which will all but eradicate the threat of waterlogging, a new hybrid SIS pitch will be installed – bringing the composition of our playing surface up to the Premier League level. The works will also allow us to meet the FIFA standards in terms of the playable area, meaning we’ll be in a position to host top-class football events, as well as other sports such as rugby, should any proposal to do so make financial sense to us.”

“We’ll also be taking the opportunity to install an undersoil heating system – although it’s important to note that, due to the costs involved, this won’t be connected to a boiler until such time we encounter consistently lengthy cold spells, where a number of matches are put at risk. This project will begin very soon after the final home match of the season and, due to its extensive nature, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to host any home friendlies this Summer.”

“While it would have been possible to carry out lesser works on the pitch, the decision to do so would simply have put off the inevitability of a full reconstruction. By taking action now, we’re eradicating the issues, future-proofing the club for progress up the pyramid and guaranteeing a phenomenal surface for our players, and prospective signings, to showcase the best of their abilities.”

“We will take the club to another level financially and move towards achieving the state of ‘football eutopia’ by breaking even, or better still becoming profitable, while also providing one of the most competitive budgets in the league and the best possible experience for our fans. We’re already making good progress towards that but there is still so much work to do.”

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