Pannal Ash junior football club have reason to cheer before a ball is kicked this season after finally having a place to call home.
The junior football club have signed a 30-year lease with Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) to extend their use of the Almsford playing fields off Otley Road in Harrogate.
The fields have held junior football matches since the club was founded in 1978, but the club has not been free to develop the land.
More than 300 boys and girls represent junior teams at Pannal Ash, with age ranges from six to 18.
Club chairman Chris McVey hailed the lease agreement as a massive step forward for junior football in the area.
“It’s always nice to have what we can call our own home, and one that we can develop,” he said. “ We , as a club, have strived for this for many years and are extremely grateful to HBC for their efforts and support of this project . This will hopefully reinforce our aims in maintaining our position as one of Harrogate’s premier junior football clubs.”
Club president Councillor Cliff Trotter signed the lease agreement with Alison Best, a member of the HBC legal team, last week.
Coun Trotter, who established the club in 1978, said: “It is wonderful to finally have our own home
“Many months of hard work have finally paid off.”
Plans have already begun to transform the fields. Drainage work has been undertaken in a bid to stopped waterlogged fixtures throughout the winter.
The decrepit cricket pavilion on the fields will also be demolished at the end of the summer, and the junior football club have begun fund-raising to erect a new clubhouse.
Up to £150,000 is needed for the a clubhouse, which McVey believes will create a safer environment for children.
“The current building is very old and a little bit dangerous for our children in its current state,” added McVey.
“We are in the process of speaking to architects and then we need to raise the money.
“It’s a long-term plan and it will take some time for it to come to fruition.”