The opening of Ellesmere Rangers’ new changing rooms is a statement of faith in the future for the West Midlands Premier League side, says team manager Richard Brown.
Speaking to the Advertizer at the opening of the £230,000 pavilion in Beech Grove, Brown said it was the envy of many bigger clubs and was an indicator of the ambition felt by players and management at the West Midlands Premier League outfit.
“Lye Town came here and were very impressed with what they saw,” he said.
The new facilities – plus an association with Shrewsbury Town’s Development Centre through coaches James Martindale and Mick Cutler – all helped the club to recruit young players and expand the player pool for this season, Brown explained.
“Our realistic aim is a top-four finish this term,” he said.
At the official opening on Saturday morning, Rangers’ chairman Neil Williams treated the invited audience to a potted history of the club from its foundation with the help of a raffle raising £129 in the 1960s; winning the Shropshire Junior Cup in 1989/90 and joining the West Midland Premier League in 2001.
“We now have a very successful under-18 team which is this year really looking good with some fantastic players.”
But he said it was all those people who worked behind the scenes who made Ellesmere Rangers a successful club.
Shropshire FA chairman Dave Ralphs, who himself celebrates 50 years in football this year, said he is delighted to be asked to open the changing rooms which have been built with financial assistance from Sport England and The Football Foundation but have taken place only after three years of behind-the-scenes work by Shropshire FA’s operations manager Mick Murphy, along with club officials.
The club now boasts a function room with bar which can seat more than 80 people, plus an adjoining committee room which will provide hospitality on match days; state-of-the-art dressing rooms, referees’ room, treatment room, toilets and enviable disabled facilities.
Rangers’ director of football Alan Davis said he hoped the pavilion, built by Jones Brothers of Weston Rhyn, would become a home for the whole community and was available for hire for such things as wedding receptions, birthday parties and funeral teas as well as community events.
Anyone interested in hiring the new facilities can ring Alan on 07852 328031 or Margaret Edge on 01691 623587.