As part of our support for non-league football we’ve launched our Club Renovation Programme for the second year. Applications are now open until Sun 31 December. Here we go behind the scenes of Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase clubs with non-league football champion and talkSPORT and Sky TV presenter Tony Incenzo.
Leicester Nirvana 0 Daventry Town 0
Where: Hamilton Park, Sandhills Avenue, Leicester LE5 1LU
Kick-off: 7.52pm, Tuesday December 5 2017
Overview: A visit to Leicester Nirvana’s recently opened ground. I had previously seen the club play home games at Daykn Road, Thurnby in March 2015 (when they were known as Thurnby Nirvana FC) and groundsharing at Gleneagles Avenue, Highfield Rangers FC in October 2016. Therefore, it was interesting to note that Nirvana have now put down permanent roots at Hamilton Park. The United Counties League Premier Division is at Step 5 of the Non-League Pyramid. Member teams in the UCL are based in Northamptonshire, Rutland and Bedfordshire, plus parts of Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk.
History: The club was founded in 2008 when Thurnby Rangers FC and Leicester Nirvana FC merged to form Thurnby Nirvana FC. Since then, they have progressed from the Leicestershire Senior League to the East Midlands Counties League and now the Premier Division of the United Counties League. The club was re-named Leicester Nirvana FC in 2015.They have nearly 20 teams and cater for junior footballers from the ages of two to four years old right up to adult football.
Ground description: Hamilton Park was opened in December 2016. Nirvana received a Football Foundation grant of £560,000 towards a new changing pavilion. The money also went towards the numerous grass pitches at the site, creating a local football hub. The changing block and cosy clubhouse sit on a bank behind one goal in the main, enclosed ground. There is a 100-seater grandstand on one side of the pitch with a covered standing area next to it. The whole facility is very neat and tidy.
Programme details: A smart 24 page production that sold at £1. Plenty of interesting reading and good use of stats.
The match: The match kicked-off seven minutes late as the referee was travelling from the Cambridgeshire area and he got held up in traffic. He eventually arrived at 7.40pm and got changed very quickly! After that, it was not a particularly good game. The two sides only managed just one shot on goal between them in a scrappy first half. Goal-mouth action improved in the second period but it was always going to end as a scoreless stalemate.
The people: I had a good chat with Nirvana programme editor Ian Payshorn, who was busy during the game taking action photos with an impressive camera. Ian edits programmes for up to 14 clubs in the Leicestershire area. He will certainly have his work cut out over the busy football festive period and said with a wry smile: “Christmas will be fun for me!” I also spotted Daventry Town’s sprightly president Frank Hobbs resplendent in a purple and white club scarf. Frank has been supporting his local team for more than 80 years and still goes home and away for matches.
You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo
Get your applications in! The Buildbase Club Renovation Programme will provide two product bursaries of £50,000 each in building, electrical products and hire equipment to two clubs by the end of the 2017-18 season. Applying for the Buildbase Club Renovation programme could also help to improve your ground to comply with ground grading and promotion possibilities. To apply visit our website before Sunday 31 December.