The work was completed with large investments from Arsenal FC, Boreham Wood FC and the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) – the sister organisation of the Football Foundation.
A new DESSO surface has also been installed, thanks to substantial investment from Arsenal FC.
As well as the DESSO surface, the funding from the trio has enabled the club to make a number of other vital upgrades to their stadium, including: installing new floodlights and replacing dugouts which were no longer fit for purpose and pitch renovations. Other pitch renovations included new drainage and an irrigation, of which were funded by a grant from the FSIF.
Meadow Park is home to not only Boreham Wood FC, but also the Arsenal Youth Development squad and Arsenal Ladies FC. As the Women’s Super League will commence a winter season from 2017/18 onwards, the pitch will get more use during these months than before. The improvements made to the pitch, and the brand-new floodlights, will improve the safety and flexibility of training and matches for both clubs.
The official opening event included a range of family activities, football training sessions for children from the ages of five-to-12 and other community events through the day. The FA Cup trophy was also on display. The ceremonial unveiling occurred in the lead up to a match between Boreham Wood FC and an Arsenal XI.
The stadium upgrade has been a huge success, with the project further improving the stadium’s compliance with the Grade A level of the FA National Ground Grading Criteria.
Funded with £5.2m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF – the sister organisation of the Football Foundation – is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.
Danny Hunter, Chairman of Boreham Wood FC, said: “It’s fair to say that our new pitch construction really does look like money well spent. But the truth is, the cost of the whole reconstruction, coupled with Arsenal and FSIF’s continued support, simply underpins the community club that they have helped to build.
“As long-standing partners who have worked with our club, both Arsenal and the FSIF have been incredible throughout this whole project. That is demonstrated by Arsenal’s Mr Wenger and Mr Gazidis coming to Meadow Park to enjoy themselves during the official unveiling.”
Arsenal Club Secretary David Miles added: Arsenal Club Secretary David Miles added: “We’re delighted to be able to celebrate the major redevelopments at Meadow Park with our traditional pre-season match against Boreham Wood FC. The facilities at Meadow Park have always been good and with the major refurbishment of the facility now taking place, they will soon be even better.”
Arsène Wenger OBE, Arsenal FC Manager, said: “It’s a pleasure to help Boreham Wood open their new pitch. Our women’s and academy teams play their home matches here at Meadow Park, so of course it’s important for us that the facilities are the best they can be. I must say that we are very pleased with the new facilities and I would like to thank everyone involved in making them possible.”