Published: 06:53, 14 September 2021
| Updated: 06:55, 14 September 2021
Ramsgate are working on ambitious plans to build a new stand at Southwood.
Manager Matt Longhurst says it will cost about £2 million - but he’s confident it will happen.
The stadium has already been transformed by a 3G pitch but the proposed new stand would take it to another level.
“The idea is to build a stand with classrooms, so we can become a junior college for 14-to-16-year-olds,” said Longhurst, who is assisting owner Richard Lawson and chairman James Lawson with the project.
“Local businesses would be able to rent out office space which we could then turn into corporate lounges on matchdays, and the new bar and changing facilities would go in the stand as well.
“It’s not going to happen tomorrow but that’s the next part of the plan for myself, James and Richard. It would go opposite the main stand, on the far side of the ground.
“We’re looking at other stadiums to start getting an idea of what we’d like, but it would be glass-fronted so the rooms look out over the pitch, and we’re looking at multi-function usage.
“We’re talking a couple of million quid, so it’s not going to happen straight away, but we’ve got some people interested in coming in with us, and there’s a business plan being drawn up at the moment.
“I think it will happen because I know James and once he’s got an idea in his head, he doesn’t just talk about it, it tends to go ahead.
“If we get that stand we can really push the club forward.
“I think it would have between 500 and 800 seats to start with but the steel frame can be extended so I’d imagine it could go up to 2,000 eventually.”
Ramsgate could also take the chance to install a sprinkler system for their 3G pitch, should the work go ahead.
The surface was noticeably slower in the heat on Saturday when Rams drew 2-2 with Chichester.
Callum Peck and Josh Ajayi’s penalty gave Longhurst’s team a 2-1 lead after trailing to Ethan Pritchard’s early opener, but they couldn’t hold on, with Tyrone Mahani levelling.
Danny Lear thought he’d scored the winner for Rams but the officials weren’t convinced the ball had crossed the line.
Longhurst said: “I wanted to be able to water the pitch, ideally, but I think it was another £80,000 to install an irrigation system.
“But, having watched on Saturday, even the chairman and the owner said it played quite slowly.
“Maybe if we get the go-ahead for the stand and get the sponsor on board, we might have an irrigation system built underneath it.”
Ramsgate host Faversham tonight and visit Sevenoaks in Isthmian South East this Saturday.
Longhurst is able to draw on overhead drone footage to help his players prepare for games.
The club released a video of Peck’s goal against Chichester on their Twitter account to highlight the benefits.
Longhurst said: “It’s really good for working on stuff in training in terms of shape, because the players can see from above where they are and what they should be doing.
“A few people have said it’s a good idea and no else seems to do it at our level. Premier League clubs have it."