Long-serving Sheffield footballer urges football community to back campaign

Matt Roney in action
Matt Roney in action
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The longest serving player of Sheffield FC - the world’s first football club - is encouraging the footballing world to get behind the club’s Home of Football campaign.

Club captain Matt Roney, aged 32, who has clocked up almost 400 appearances for the Evo-Stik League First Division team, is asking the football community to get behind his beloved club’s campaign to move back to its original home in Olive Grove, where football began in 1857.

Sheffield FC has been without a permanent home since vacating Olive Grove nearly 150 years ago, and currently play their home games at the Coach and Horses Ground in Dronfield.

The club’s crowdfunding campaign was launched in July, with an aim of raising £2m to transform the Olive Grove site from a simple football field to a venue fit to stage non-league football, as well as a ‘Home of Football’ centre for the sport as a whole, complete with a museum and main stand.

Semi-pro Roney said: “There is only one ‘world’s first football club’ and because of that no other non-league football club in the world can compare to Sheffield FC.

“It is an absolute privilege to pull on the shirt and play for the club, and to have done so for a decade makes it even more special.

“Bringing Sheffield FC back to its original home in the city would be a fantastic way to round it all off.

“Some of the opportunities I’ve been given are things that even some Football League players wouldn’t get. I have played football in Hong Kong, India, scored at the San Siro, played European Giants Inter Milan and Ajax at Bramall Lane to name a few.

“I’d love nothing more than to see the footballing world get behind our campaign. It’s our dream to one day move into a new stadium at Olive Grove and everyone at the club is optimistic that it will happen.”

Richard Tims, chairman of Sheffield FC, said: “Clocking up almost 400 appearances for a non-league club is a wonderful achievement and shows a level of loyalty which you don’t often get at this level of football.

“Matt has been a tremendous servant and ambassador for the club since the day he arrived and it’s obvious that he still enjoys it as much today as he did when he first signed.

“Like everyone else involved with the club, Matt is keen to spread the word of our Home of Football campaign. Support has so far come in from all around the globe.”