FOR months its future looked bleak.

Despite hosting football matches for hundreds of youngsters across Hampshire for almost 90 years, the much-loved BTC Sports Ground was staring oblivion in the face, after volunteers revealed it was becoming “not financially viable”.

As previously reported by the Daily Echo, bosses at the 14-acre ground in Stoneham Lane, Swaythling, revealed they needed £50,000 to keep the site going and make improvements to changing rooms and car parking facilities.

But now BTC Southampton Football Club can look forward to a brighter future, after securing vital funding from Sport England.

The club, which has around 350 footballers on its books, ranging from the under-eights squad to its five adult teams, faced an urgent scramble to find a new home if committee members were forced to terminate their long-standing lease on the ground.

They had already failed in a host of attempts to score funding from national bodies during the past decade, including two failed bids to Sport England.

But after years of misery, they have now made it a third time lucky after netting a £50,000 jackpot from the organisation.

Club chairman Damon Brown had previously vowed to resign in September last year alongside secretary Steve Gray, after becoming frustrated at being continually refused help.

But the duo reversed their decision in a bid to secure funding.

And Mr Brown told the Daily Echo that it was “like a dream” when they were finally told of their success.

He added: “This £50,000 is fantastic. It’s the future of the club and it’s great for sport in Southampton.

“Without it, it would have just been a matter of time for us and this could have been our last season.”