Free season tickets for Arlesey households and revamped clubhouse heralds new era at town's football club
- Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY
A revolutionary season-ticket offer and a new hub for the whole community will herald a whole new era for Arlesey Town according to former Reading, Stoke City and Portsmouth striker Dave Kitson.
The 41-year-old was brought into the Hitchin Road-based football club as chairman at the start of the summer and his goal from day one has been to make New Lamb Meadow an attractive place to come for the people of the town.
The official opening of the revamped clubhouse on Saturday, September 11, is just one part of that, with the free season ticket offer for all households in the town another.
Kitson said: "With all the issues in the last few months, to do it and get everything we wanted for the price we wanted is testament to the committee I’ve got.
"They have pulled out all the stops and been fantastic.
"I haven’t managed to get everything through them but I got my key policy through which is free season-tickets for the entire village.
"There’s 2,700 homes in Arlesey and we are issuing a free ticket for every household.
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"We’ve almost been to the wall three times in the last five or six years and what we were doing wasn’t sustainable, we had to do something.
"The idea, which is sort of ballsy, is if we build it, they will come.
"Added to that we’d put a team on the pitch that is exciting, which the score against Oxhey Jets proved [a 6-4 win for Arlesey].
"They’ll see plenty of goals and have a match-day experience that is as good as anything in the area.
"We’re a community club and we know what we are.
"When I came in I didn’t say we’d be Man United in the next five years. The 2,700 homes in Arlesey are the maximum number we’ll get outside of away fans.
"Every other town around us has a football club so we’re not appealing to the globe, we’re appealing to the people in the community.
"We’ve been here 130 years and it is imperative we are here for another 130 years and beyond.
"After COVID, people want to go out and they want to sit together and they want to go to new places and talk to each other about everything.
"And they want to do it in an environment that is family friendly, clean, safe and where they can have a bite to eat and a drink.
"It is a hub for the community, that’s why we’re here."
The clubhouse has been completely renovated with new flooring, new furniture and an 85” plasma as the main TV.
Food and drink offers will be available and Kitson is delighted with the "spectacular" refurbishment.
They will also open on non-matchdays but the chairman is keen to stress they are not in competition with the other hostelries and restaurants in the town.
He said: "I’ve been around the bars and the restaurants that Arlesey has to offer to make sure we don’t tread on anybody’s toes. These are people’s livelihoods.
"It’s a delicate situation. We want them to support us but we have to support them.
"There’s no point us opening something that someone else is doing down the road and have been doing for years.
"We have to do something different.
"We’d like them to support us but we have to encourage our customers to go to them. That’s what a community is."
He is confident that the reality will be poles apart from the vision most will have about a football clubhouse and that they can build something special.
He said: "I want people to be proud of the football club and not be ashamed to say it.
"This club belongs to the people and we want them to use it and enjoy it."