Braintree Town set to avoid demotion after ground gets green light

BRAINTREE Town are poised to secure their Blue Square Bet Premier status after chairman Lee Harding revealed the club’s ground improvements had been given the green light by the Football Conference Board.

And in a triple boost for the club, manager Alan Devonshire’s decision to sign a new one-year contract last Friday was followed by the mouth-watering prospect of the Amlin Stadium potentially hosting Football League games in future seasons.

Promotion is almost certainly out of the question this year but the Iron’s Cressing Road base will be fit to gain entry into the Football League once the Conference has rubber-stamped the improvements.

Capacity has been increased to over 4,000, including 500 seats, although that figure would have to increase to 5,000 with a thousand seats within two years of the Iron gaining promotion to League Two.

Town had faced the prospect of being demoted from the top-tier of non-league football after just one season if they did not get their ground up to scratch by this Saturday’s deadline.

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With the help of a six-figure loan from Braintree District Council, the club has worked around the clock to improve such areas as terracing and changing facilities as well as installing new safety measures.

“We had a fairly thorough inspection of the facilities, by representatives from the Football Association and Football Conference on Friday, and it all looks quite encouraging,” said Harding.

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“I have since received an email explaining we are now in a position where the ground can be recommended for Grade A status and we are as confident as we can be.

“We have basically rebuilt three-quarters of the ground, have installed 164 metres of continuous crash barriers and improved all the terraces.”

The club still has plans to relocate to a new stadium, with training facilities, at Panfield Lane.

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