Redevelopment of Gander Green Lane is essential, says Supporters Trust

Drumming up support: Adrian Barry gets out into the community to spread the word of Sutton United before the 2011 FA Cup clash with Notts County

Drumming up support: Adrian Barry gets out into the community to spread the word of Sutton United before the 2011 FA Cup clash with Notts County

First published in Sport Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Adrian Barry of the Sutton United’s Supporters Trust reckons the redevelopment of Gander Green Lane is essential if the club is not to be left behind.

United unveiled a £1m project of the Lane this week, all designed to turn the venue into a sports hub for the community as well attract more fans through the gates.

A £750,000 community pavilion and new terracing will replace the old stand on the recreation ground side of the Lane.

In addition, the oval terracing at the Collingwood Road end will be replaced with a covered terrace that skirts the pitch in a project totalling around £180,000.

Barry said: “We’ve recognised for years, the need to modernise the Lane and make it a fulcrum of leisure provision in the borough because without it we might get left behind.

“If we want to be serious about progression into the Skrill Premier, we need to have the facilities and people coming through the turnstiles.”

He added: “Our hardcore support is delighted with the forward thinking approach of the club, which is great.

“But what we want to really be doing is attracting new supporters down to Sutton. We want them to see Sutton United as somewhere they want to spend their afternoons.

“At the moment, we are not getting anywhere near enough the fans that the quality of football we’re playing and the status deserves.”

While United vie for attention with nearby Premier League clubs and the trappings of modern day life that keep people away, Barry can see a new future.

“What we’re doing is a community development first and foremost, but it is also benefiting the football side,” he said.

“If we can combine the two and position ourselves as the community club that people want to go to for their leisure provision, for their kids to play football, then it mushrooms and that is what we’re hoping for.”

He added: "When United were about to play Notts County in the FA Cup in 2011, we set up a stall in the Sutton High Street to drum up publicity.

"I was amazed by the number of people who asked: 'Where is the ground?' That is something we need to change, and this development can go a long way to doing that."

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