Brighton date for United to mark new-look stadium

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EASTBOURNE United will celebrate the official opening of their new-look Oval Stadium with a fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion next week.

United will welcome the Championship side to the Oval on July, 25 to mark the end of the redevelopments that started on the ground last season.

The sides last met in a Sussex Senior Cup tie in March 2010, with Brighton victorious over their South-East rivals.

This time, a Seagulls XI will travel to Eastbourne to take part in a pre-season friendly ahead of a 2012/2013 campaign that will see United play in a redesigned Oval stadium for the entire duration.

The ground was subject to a £100,000 facelift in order to bring it up to Sussex County League standards and is now equipped with new perimeter fencing, concrete walkways and a 113-seater stand.

Improvements have also been made to the dugouts and playing surface, leading manager Paul Daubeney to say the pitch is the best it has ever looked.

The club received the cash injection at the start of the 2011/2012 season and set to work straight away making the necessary changes to ensure their stadium, which has been their home since 1947, is one fit for higher-level football.

United were on the brink of reaching that higher level last season, although narrowly missed out on promotion from the Sussex County League Division Two, finishing fourth.

However, with their performances on the pitch sure to mirror their improvements off them before too long, there’s little doubt that United are a club on the up.

A fortnight ago, Eastbourne United acquired the services of defender Callum Sheriff from their higher-league opponents. The Brighton and Hove Albion youngster was released by the club in June after five years in their ranks and put pen to paper for Eastbourne United a month later.

When the two sides meet on Wednesday, July 25, tickets will be priced at £5 for adults, £3 for concessions and £1 for children under the age of 16.

There will be full bar facilities and refreshments available on the night and kick off will be at 7:45pm.