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What’s going on behind the scenes at Priory Park this summer

Whilst Macclesfield Blues enjoyed unprecedented success on the field last season, behind the scenes at Priory Park things have also been moving on steadily too. Success on the field and promotion means increased costs, and the Club’s management is only too well aware that this extra expense has somehow to be paid for. In the back offices over the summer Club Officials have been quietly working away trying to rustle up new sponsorship deals and oversee the planning developments at the ground. So what’s happening at the moment? How the sponsorship search doing? Is planning approval for the new Clubhouse any nearer completion? The man with all the answers is Business Director, Jonathan Marsh. Here’s what he had to say.

What’s the position with sponsorship this season?

“It’s going well. We’ve set ourselves a big target for new business, and by the look of things we are well on the way. Major sponsors Jones Homes and Holts are back on board and BMW Halliwell Jones have renewed for a further 2 years, which is great news for the Club. Other Club sponsors are currently renewing from last year, but we’re also actively involved in final negotiations with some exciting new sponsors.”

“We’ve also set up a number of new corporate packages within the membership scheme to attract more and more sponsors, and have set up a new corporate sponsorship scheme called the Silk Club. We’ll have 3 different levels of membership – a private membership where individuals can sponsor the club and two levels of corporate membership. We hope to announce more details about the Silk Club later this summer.”

What has last season’s success on the field done for the Club in commercial terms?

“The only repercussions have been negative ones I suppose, though it was great to have such a successful season last year. The cost of the playing budget has gone up as you would expect, and it will cost the Club more money for the team to travel to all these new distant lands. That’s why we’re looking for new sponsors so we can pay for the difference.”

What’s the position with the redevelopment at the ground? What’s happening and where are we up to?

“What we’re actually planning to do is to knock down the old Clubhouse and build a new one that will be about a third bigger than the existing one. The problem with the existing Clubhouse, apart from its size, is its positioning. Currently it casts a shadow over a third of the ground and that means a large part of the ground will never thaw after a heavy frost. The new building will be sited further down the Clubhouse grounds and will be positioned at 90 degrees to the existing building. We’re also taking down the existing pitch and replacing that with an artificial 4G pitch.”

“The benefit of that is that we can use it all the time and won’t have to worry about bad weather or snow anymore. That means we’ll be able to run say football on a Saturday morning, followed by rugby in the afternoon, and maybe more football played straight after that too. The 4G pitch will mean we can hire the facility out a lot more, and we can make some good money from that. We’re also going to retain the existing pitches and build some more senior pitches as well. So it’s all very promising for the Club.”

“The planning permission is due to be submitted next month and we’re currently busy making sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. Jones Homes are very good at this sort of thing, so we’re fairly optimistic that this will turn out favourably for us. Once planning is approved I believe building can commence at the end of next season and be ready for the end of the following season.”

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