Rayners Lane chairman Martin Noblett wants to re-establish the club at the heart of the community after plans to regenerate the club took a major leap forward this week.
Nearly 200 club members packed out Tithe Farm Sports and Social Club on Tuesday night to give the Lane committee the green light to push ahead with the redevelopment.
Rayners Lane has agreed the sale of a piece of disused land on the site of the club to developer Matthew Homes to help fund the ambitious £2.1million project.
A community play area, complete refurbishment of the clubhouse and replacement of the grass pitch with a synthetic 3G play surface are all in the works.
Planning permission will be submitted for approval in four to six weeks and an excited Noblett says the venture will put the club back on the map.
“Plans have been drawn up and are going in,” he said. “For the last two-and-a-quarter years we’ve been working on this plan to regenerate the entire club. The council have been very helpful in this venture and have worked very closely on this with us.
“Secretary John Knight and treasurer Monika Blackman have been very supportive with this and have been burning the midnight oil to make it happen. A big thank you must go to them for their efforts.
“Subject to planning permission being granted, we hope the entire scheme will be finished in a two to two-and-a-half year period, starting on March 1.
“The new development for the club, the new wasteland and the 3G pitch is all one planning submission and will all be delivered at the same time. We will complete the pitch during the off-season so no football will be missed.”
Tithe Farm Sports and Social Club was founded in 1934 and, besides Rayners Lane FC who play in the Hellenic League Division One East, it is home to darts, snooker, pool and amateur dramatics clubs, is used as a polling station and can be hired for functions.
Its membership, which boomed in the 1970s, has settled at about 550 for the past decade and a half.
“Many years ago, Tithe Farm was at the hub of the community,” Noblett added.
“Times have changed but we feel that by going down this route we can establish ourselves at the heart of the community again.
“It will be open to schools, academies and the surrounding area more generally. Rayners Lane is a multicultural area and we want to attract everybody to the club and welcome all people to use the facilities.”
Rayners Lane were champions of Division One East but were unable to achieve promotion to the Premier after failing to achieve the necessary ground grading due to a lack of toilets fitted in the home dressing room.