STEETON manager Roy Mason believes the proposed move to Marley next season will benefit the whole of Keighley, not just his football club.

He feels there has been some apathy towards sport in the town over the last few years, while expressing his dismay at what he sees as a decaying Marley.

But that is all set to change for the 2020/21 season. A new pitch, a 3G one that, is set to be laid there for the first time in 16 years, while dugouts, a stand, LED floodlights and more are set to turn Marley into a facility for all to enjoy, seven days a week.

Speaking to the Keighley News, after gaining support for the move on social media from Dean Windass and Robbie Fowler, Mason said: "We need to engage all, because we want this to be a facility for Keighley, not just for Steeton.

"It could help Steeton to grow, we could potentially have women's, disability and walking football teams on there, and it's available seven days a week for people.

"We could get a Keighley FA representative team going again, and have cup finals there too. We've not had anything like this since the old Marley pitch back in the late 80s.

"It could be a kickstart for football in Keighley because we used to have so many teams when I was playing. But Marley became a sorry state and I just feel that there has become a sense of apathy towards sport here too.

"A town of this size should have a big semi-pro team to support and with Keighley's population, there's no reason we shouldn't be getting 200-300 people down to watch each week."

Steeton's current ground, Cougar Park, is also a decent size but Mason admits a move to Marley would make life so much easier.

He explained: "The transition from rugby to football is time consuming. As soon as our game on Saturday finished, we had to take the goals down and put the rugby posts up for their game (Keighley Cougars').

"We did that in reverse first thing Saturday morning, so it just shows there's a lot of work involved in the crossover. We've spent a lot of money on maintenance at Cougar Park too, so we've not got to worry about that any more either.

"Marley gives us a facility to train on during the week, then play on at weekends. Not many teams have that luxury.

"We can work on tactics in training and then do the same things on the same pitch on matchdays. Logistically, not having to move things around (between facilities) is a real positive. Having a solid base will make a real difference."

Discussing the 3G pitch, Mason added: "I'm a bit old school, so I'm not a massive fan of 3G but the players like it. We've got a lot of young players who have quality and it does favour teams who like to play (good) football, rather than those that try and stop it.

"Going off the likes of Harrogate Town, 3G does seem to be the way forward in non-league. And if you look at the weather we had over the weekend (that's another argument in 3G's favour)."

Mason said he had been involved in discussions with Bradford Council throughout the process of Steeton securing the move to Marley as anchor tenants, praising them as being brilliant throughout.

Steeton will continue to work with them, especially over the next six weeks, as the club try and get ready for an FA grading inspection on March 31.

That will determine whether the ground has been brought up to a suitable standard to host Step Six football, Steeton’s current level in the North West Counties League First Division North.

Discussing what needs to happen down at Marley, and the progress so far, Mason said: "There’s lots to be done.

"The council are relaying the pitch and sorting the dugouts for us, but it’s Steeton ourselves who require the stand, so there’s a bit for us to do there.

"We’ve acquired a couple of containers, which we now have to turn into stands but we think we’ve secured the pay box we needed and we’re getting LED floodlights, which are economical.

"We’re still working on making the meeting room into somewhere which acts as a hospitality suite, as well as finding a suitable way for the players to get from the changing rooms to the pitch without them having to go through the car park.

"We still need a couple of massage tables too, which are required at this level.

"So even if anyone’s got any old furniture or drinks fridges, that will help us out. We are needing businesses to get in touch to help us out, but sponsors as well.

"Sponsorship will allow for good exposure too. The pitch will be available (and used) seven days a week so that will be beneficial for those needing advertising.

"We do need a company to put screening around the pitch though, as you can see straight in and people do need to actually come and pay to watch."

Finishing off by talking about the future, Mason said: "There’s a lot of land around the pitch. The stands we’re putting in are a quick fix to tick the boxes we need but we could redevelop further.

"The pitch has not been relaid for 16 years, so the 3G is already a big step towards what could be a proper, long-term stadium, which will be good for Keighley.

"It’s not like the council are bending over backwards just for Steeton but it (the move) does look like it will finally give the club a bit of stability.

"I’d like to think we’ve always been forward thinking (at Steeton) and it’s the same again with this move.

"Football is changing dramatically these days, and if you don’t adapt, then you’ll die."