A NORTH Wales club with big plans has unveiled the latest phase in its 10-year plan to scale the heights of Welsh football.
Denbigh Town’s new £60,000 475-seat main stand has opened at their Central Park ground as the ambitious Huws Gray Alliance club bids to reach the Welsh Premier League.
The club are seven years into that plan and one of the driving forces behind it is local businessman Shon Powell, of self-storage company Lock Stock.
The new stand is the latest addition to the facilities at the Vale of Clwyd club’s ground and follows extensive pitch improvements, floodlights, smart new changing rooms and secure fencing right around the ground.
And, after a shaky start to the season, the club is climbing the league too and they are up to fifth after a 3-0 home win over FC Queens Park made it three wins on the trot.
Shon, who launched Lock Stock in his home town of Denbigh with his brother Nick in 1998, played rugby for the town club, but became involved with the football club 20 years ago when his son Tom joined the junior section.
Eight years ago, he became chairman and the club embarked on a growth, which now sees it run a total of 15 teams with over 225 players in action every weekend, backed by a backroom organisation of 45 volunteers.
The Welsh Premier League is the ultimate aim and it’s just one promotion away.
Shon said: “We have a great team of players led by a fantastic manager and we want to win.
“Sport is all about improving and getting better and winning games, and if we can keep doing that we will end up getting promoted.”
Two seasons ago the club finished third, two points off a promotion spot, although their facilities wouldn’t have been at the Tier One standard needed to go up.
They’re still not, but they are not far away now and Shon said: “We need turnstiles and we will be putting in an application for them, and we also need other facilities, including a TV gantry, medical and press rooms and a police control facility, but most of the major works are now completed and the stand is a very big box ticked.
“The Football Association of Wales have a very generous scheme which provides 75 per cent of the costs of improvements like the stand and we have taken advantage of that over the years.
“With the stand we were also lucky to have great support from local businesses like Denbigh Plastics, G J Teeson Ltd, CJ Electrics and Russell Welding and many others
“One of the other big projects was the floodlights, because we didn’t even have a sufficient electricity supply when we started on them and had to bring a new service in from half-a-mile away.
“We have a very hard-working committee, fantastic volunteers and plenty of support from local businesses, which we are very grateful for – we have over 50 businesses taking pitch-side advertising at £150 a season and that adds up to £7,500 a season.”
Denbigh finished third in the Huws Gray Alliance in the 2015/16 season and beat three Welsh Premier League sides on their way to the Word Cup final, when they took 1,000 fans to the final in Llandudno where they lost to The New Saints.
Last season saw them in mid-table, but Shon said: “We lost a lot of players to Premier League sides, but I’m confident we will be in the top half this season, probably top-six and if we’re top-three, that would be fantastic.
“You always have to strike a balance between investing in the team and investing in the club and we try to achieve that, because players come and go but the club is still here and what we’re trying to do is to provide the best facilities we can for the people and the town of Denbigh.
“We have a wonderful youth team set-up with teams for all ages, a thriving ladies section with two teams and we are looking very closely at what we can do when it comes to disability football.”
Shon, whose firm also sponsors the Lock Stock Welsh Alliance Football League, the league below the Huws Gray Alliance, added: “When my time as chair of this wonderful club comes to an end, I want to be able to look back in the knowledge we have achieved something special.
“We are well on the way to hitting our goal.
“We have the support of the people of Denbigh and I’m keen on involving the wider community as much as we can.”