Banbury United seek help to replace floodlights unveiled by Sir Stanley Matthews in 1966
Banbury United are launching a £25,000 appeal to replace their floodlights – which are as old as the memory of England’s only World Cup win.
In 1966, just a few months after those famous lines of commentary: “They think it is all over, it is now”, and Sir Bobby Moore, Sir Alf Ramsey and the lads hoisting the Jules Rimet above their heads at Wembley, Banbury United were hoisting something of their own...
Rather than the trophy which celebrated England being the champions of the world, it was instead a very impressive set of new floodlights.
On Tuesday, October 4 1966, Sir Stanley Matthews visited the Spencer Stadium for the official opening of United’s new floodlights.
That night 2,107 fans turned out for the floodlight opening game to watch United draw 1-1 with a Port Vale, with club legend Tony Jacques scoring the goal for United.
Now 55 years on Banbury still has the same floodlights set-up, albeit with some new bulbs along the way.
The club recently had an assessment and the cost of ensuring they are structurally safe was significant and also a short-term fix, so they have decided to replace them.
“There is a saying that goes, ‘if these walls could talk’, and it feels the same about our floodlights,” said Stephen Barlow, secretary of Banbury United Community Football Club Ltd, the supporters owned entity that owns the club.
“The countless generations have made memories whilst the bulbs illuminated light onto the Banbury United evening skies.
“It is now time for the next set of lights to create memories for the next group of generations, and we are ensuring that the lights can move with us when that time comes.”
It is currently beyond the club’s means to fund the entire amount for the essential work. For this critical work to be accomplished, the club needs to raise £50,000.
He explained: “We have worked hard during lockdown to ensure our books are healthy but we are looking to raise a further £25,000 to the total cost.
“This is a hefty expense, but we are massively committed to the cause.
“So here is our call to arms. We have a Justgiving project to help create memories for the next 50+ years. Please support us.
“We’d ask local businesses if they can support us and even the smallest of personal contributions will help too.”
The club will also be putting any surplus funds from pre-season friendlies towards the project.
Banbury lost Saturday’s friendly with Brackley Town 1-0.
Oxford United won Wednesday evening's game 3-0, with the Puritans hosting Solihull Moors on Saturday (3pm) and Oxford City on Tuesday (7.45pm).