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Floodlights have been switched-on for the first time at Sheppey United's Holm Park ground.

By Andy Gray

Night matches are back on the agenda for Sheppey United with the installation of floodlights at their Holm Park ground.

The lights were switched on for the first time on Friday.

Weather permitting, the retractable pylons will make their full working debut on Saturday, when the Ites take on promotion rivals Sutton Athletic.

The club’s co-chairman, Matt Smith, said the lights hopefully pointed towards a brighter future for Sheppey.

Sheppey United's floodlights are switched-on for the first time. (ltor) Alan Jack, Jon Longhurst, Kevin Hake (manager), Matt Smith (co-chairman), Dave Ingram Snr, Murray Carcary, Keith Lissenden.
Sheppey United's floodlights are switched-on for the first time. (ltor) Alan Jack, Jon Longhurst, Kevin Hake (manager), Matt Smith (co-chairman), Dave Ingram Snr, Murray Carcary, Keith Lissenden.

He said: “We’re absolutely over the moon.

“I’d like to say a big thank-you to everyone on the club’s committee who made this happen.

“We’ve had a few home games cancelled this season, so we’ll now be able to play those during the week.

“The match against Sutton on Saturday is a suitable opener for the first proper switch-on because it’s a really important game.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a few more people coming to watch their local team play under lights in what should be a real cracker of a match.”

The six, 15-metre floodlight pylons cost £70,000.

The installation was funded by Mr Smith and co-chairman, Ernie Batten, with a significant donation from the Football Foundation.

With light no longer an issue, Sheppey’s weekend home games will now start at 3pm, an hour later than usual.

As well as added brightness, the club’s match day atmosphere will be given an extra boost with an upgraded PA system.

Sheppey currently lie fourth in the Kent Invicta League, one place below Saturday’s opponents, Sutton Athletic.

A ceremonial match to officially mark the lights’ arrival was due to be held last month.

Mr Smith said this is now likely to take place at the Queenborough Road venue in the summer before the start of next season.

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