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15 Feb 2018 : Mayor to officially open clubhouse and boundary fencing this Saturday

THIS Saturday's top-of-the-table inaugural Halton derby between Runcorn Linnets and Widnes FC in The Hallmark Security League Premier Division will be the setting for the official unveiling of major ground improvements at The Millbank Linnets Stadium.

Linnets' new 1.4m purpose-built clubhouse is to be formally unveiled along with an impressive upgrade of the football fields around the main stadium. The Mayor and Mayoress of Halton, Councillor Alan and Mrs Joan Lowe will perform a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1.45pm.

The new clubhouse, which has been in use since late November, is home to the first team, Ladies side and juniors. It includes a multi-use function room with catering facilities in two kitchens, secretary's office, inside and outside toilets (including facilities for the disabled), laundry room, medical/treatment room and excellent changing facilities for players, and match officials.

It is a dream that has come true for Linnets - made possible by the support of Halton Borough Council, which has reinvested proceeds from the sale of surrounding land for the building of a new retail and leisure development, including an Aldi supermarket and pub restaurant. The former Linnets clubhouse and adjoining Halton Arms pub were consequently demolished and the club car park relocated to within a newly-fenced area, next to the replacement clubhouse, which is now pitchside. The 57,500 boundary fence scheme to completely enclose the Halton Sports site was facilitated by a 32,500 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and a 15,000 Area Forum grant, both of which were very much appreciated.

The club has negotiated and signed a new lease with Halton Borough Council, which has seen the Linnets take on responsibility for the junior pitches in addition to their new-look stadium.

The new boundary fence will enable young players to play and enjoy their football in safety while aspiring to be the players of the future for the Linnets' first or Ladies teams.

This redevelopment will help the club to add to its 43 boys and girls teams from across the age groups. There will be junior matches, involving a selection of the players from Runcorn Linnets and Widnes FC, taking place as curtain raisers to Saturday's main event.

With teams lying first and second in The Hallmark Security League Premier Division in direct competition from 3pm, the scene is set for a thrilling afternoon. A large number of invited guests will be attending - including Runcorn's two MPs - Mike Amesbury (Weaver Vale) and Halton's Derek Twigg - Halton council members and officers, directors and representatives of the Hallmark Security League, Cheshire FA, the Football Foundation, Area Forum, Aldi plus Linnets sponsors, including main club sponsor Millbank.

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