30 July 2015

They call it the beautiful game – and after playing in a number of the city’s parks for three decades, a junior football club is now set to have a beautiful new home of its own.

Following an open advert seeking expressions of interest from football clubs for the Steel City Sports Ground in Shiregreen Lane, Sheffield City Council has agreed to enter into a tenancy agreement with Chapeltown Juniors Football Club from September 1 2015.

The club, which has more than 140 young players and is part of the Sheffield and District Junior Sunday League, will therefore be moving to Steel City from Ecclesfield Park in the coming weeks.

This new agreement will pass over maintenance responsibilities and running costs to Chapeltown Juniors and will be subject to the ground’s existing football pitch bookings being honoured.

Councillor Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said:

“This is great news for Chapeltown Juniors and I hope that they will go from strength to strength in their new home.

“Sheffield City Council recognises the importance of local football clubs in providing sporting opportunities for young people, and I would personally like to thank all the volunteers who work so hard to make this possible – in particular the volunteers at the Chapeltown club who already work with many youngsters in Shiregreen.

“The Council will now finalise the details of the agreement and we look forward to a productive partnership with the club.

“We have been impressed with their commitment to the site, their track record of working in the local area and their future plans for the ground. I’m also pleased that existing bookings by other football clubs for the coming season will be honoured, and also that the bowlers will enjoy business as usual as part of the agreement between the club and the council.”

Established in 1983, Chapeltown Juniors now plans to expand and start a girls’ football team, as well as a team for players with disabilities.

The club will have sole use of the Steel City pitches from May next year.

A spokesman for Chapeltown Juniors Football Club said: “We are so pleased with the outcome. We have worked very hard for the past 20 months on making this happen.

“We would like to thank everyone involved, from councillors to the staff at Sheffield City Council.

“The club is looking forward to moving somewhere we can finally call home and are looking forward to a great partnership with Sheffield City Council.

“Chapeltown Juniors can now look at gaining more players, which means more teams. Also, the club can now look at bringing cricket back to the ground and hopefully have our own cricket teams along with the bowling club.”

The tenancy agreement will initially exclude responsibility for the clubhouse, which will remain with the council for the foreseeable future.

The bowling green will continue to operate as normal under the existing agreement with the Council.

Meanwhile, the authority will be working with Chapeltown Juniors to develop plans for the longer term future of the facility – which will potentially include new facilities on site subject to external funding being made available.

Coun Bowler added: “Football is a major participation sport in Sheffield, with more than 800 teams altogether and more than 500 junior and youth teams.

“However, in common with other cities, our pitches and changing facilities are under severe pressure from Government budget cuts.

“With this in mind, it is fantastic news that the Football Association (FA) has recognised these pressures on grassroots football and is launching a new national programme of investment.

“Sheffield has been selected as the pilot city for this scheme, with up to £10m set to be invested in grassroots football across the city, and work is already underway on the first of these new pitches, at Graves and High Green.

“Together with the news that Sheffield FC, the world’s oldest football club, is returning to the city, this is a really exciting time for football in Sheffield.”