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Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Tuesday, 22 February 2011

AFC Totton buoyed by new Testwood Park Stadium

Non-League

AFC Totton boss Stuart Ritchie says their new ground at Testwood Stadium will help boost his side's reputation in the Zamaretto League.

Totton marked their first game at their new home with a 5-1 win over Paulton on Saturday, having left their previous ground at Testwood Park after 78 years.

Ritchie told BBC Radio Solent: "The ground helps our reputation as people will now take us seriously.

"This is huge for our future and it allows us to push forward as a club."

Totton's debut at their new ground was originally scheduled for September but was delayed because the pitch was too short, however Ritchie says the move was worth the wait.

"We were meant to move five months ago but there was a problem with the pitch, it was slightly too small so we had to extend it by a metre," he said.

It did take a long time but we're there now and to finally get there was a great milestone for the club and the fans

AFC Totton boss Stuart Ritchie

"So it did take a long time but we're there now and to finally get there was a great milestone for the club and the fans."

The Paulton victory at the weekend attracted a gate of 744 but as the new ground holds a capacity of almost 3,000, Ritchie is hopeful the club can draw bigger crowds in the future.

"The way we have been supported over the last few seasons especially in our FA Vase run three years ago and our top league games, the potential is there to increase the home support and get more people coming and I hope we do," he said.

Totton were FA Vase runners-up in 2007 after losing 3-1 to Truro City in the final at Wembley and this season the Stags are on course for promotion to the Zamaretto Premier having won their last nine league games to sit top of the Division One South & West.



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