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Meadowbank Stadium Opening Date Announced
Posted: 4th January 2018
Dorking’s new multi-million pound football stadium at Meadowbank will open with a big local derby next month.
Dorking Wanderers, who will move to the new stadium as the resident senior club, have announced that the opening game will be a Bostik Premier League clash with local rivals Leatherhead on Tuesday 27th February.
With expected high demand to see the first fixture at the long-awaited new ground, the club says it will be an all-ticket game, with tickets going on sale today.
The match marks the return of football to Dorking town centre for the first time since 2013. Meadowbank became the home of Dorking football in 1953, when the original stadium opened in the town centre park. After decades of decay, the ground was closed for health and safety reasons just over four years ago. Since then, staff at Dorking Wanderers and other local football enthusiasts have been working with Mole Valley District Council to regenerate the site as a brand new destination and top class sporting facility for the town.
Alongside Dorking Wanderers, the stadium’s artificial grass pitch will be used for weekly training by more than a thousand boys and girls playing for local youth football clubs in the area. It will also provide a café and soft play area for visitors to the adjacent park and a new headquarters for Surrey FA, making Dorking the new hub for football in the county.
As a prime town centre location behind the St Martin’s Walk shopping centre, it was long considered as a potential site for a new supermarket, which would have forced football to the outskirts as has been the case in many similar sized towns.
Dorking Wanderers Vice Chairman Jeremy Pain says, “The new Meadowbank stadium is a reality because of determination by people involved in Dorking football, taking a once-in-a-generation chance to build something very special in this town, combined with the vision of Mole Valley’s councillors and officers to keep a stadium in the town centre.“
“It’s a true community collaboration, so it’s absolutely fitting that the first game should be such a big community fixture – the Mole Valley Derby between the district’s top two clubs.”
Not only will the game mark the opening of the new Meadowbank stadium, but it will be the first-ever competitive fixture between Dorking Wanderers and Leatherhead.
“Playing each other competitively for the first time was always going to be a huge game whenever and wherever it was played,” says Pain, “But for it also to be the first game in our prestigious new home ground makes it a massive and historic event for the whole of Dorking. We hope as many local people as possible will want to be there, supporting the town.”
Despite the special nature of the opening game, Dorking Wanderers has pledged to sell tickets at exactly the same price as the club’s other league games, with Under 18s admitted for just £1 and Under 8s free.
“Meadowbank is a stadium for the whole town and we want it to be a place everyone in the community is welcome to use. Families should be able to come and enjoy a local outing watching some top quality non-league football, cheering on their town’s team. So we believe very strongly in family friendly admission prices – beginning with this big opening game,” explains Jeremy Pain.
Tickets to see the first game at Meadowbank must be booked in advance and are available to buy now from www.dorkingwanderers.com.