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World's oldest football ground receives financial boost
Artist impression of the new clubhouse at Hallam FC
Hallam FC have plans to build a new clubhouse in the future

The world's oldest football ground, Hallam FC's Sandygate in Sheffield, has been given a financial boost after receiving a surprise donation.

Roger Bell, a lifelong fan of Hallam FC, died in 2010 and left the 150-year-old club an undisclosed amount of money in his will.

David Slater, a former player and chairman of Hallam FC said: "In non-league football terms he's left us a lot of money.

"No one had an inkling of how much money he had and his intention of leaving it to the club.

"He didn't leave an explanation, he may have told some close friends but the first we heard about it was when we received a letter from his solicitor."

Although Hallam's neighbour Sheffield FC is the oldest club in the world, it did not have a ground, instead using areas in Sheffield, including Strawberry Hall Lane Park and Newhall Athletic ground.

In 1860, Hallam FC was formed and the two Sheffield clubs came together at Hallam's Sandygate ground to play their first game together.

We've been around for 150 years and thanks to Roger he has set the club up for another 150.
David Slater

Hallam FC, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in December 2010, said it planned to use Mr Bell's legacy, to give its ground a facelift.

The club did not wish to disclose the exact value of his donation, but said it ran into thousands of pounds.

Mr Slater said: "What we would like to do it bring the facilities up to date, from mundane things like putting railings around the ground to sorting out the grass on the pitch.

"There is a bigger plan to make the Sandgygate experience a better one.

"We want to completely rebuild the clubhouse and create a space that will not only serve the club but the whole community too.

He said the club planned to stage a memorial event to Mr Bell.

"We are delighted and we will be forever indebted to Roger," he added.

"We've been around for 150 years and thanks to Roger he has set the club up for another 150".

The club had hoped to celebrate its 150th anniversary by playing against Sheffield FC on Boxing day but the game was called off due to bad weather. The rescheduled game is due to take place at Sandygate on 2 May.




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