Lowestoft firm nets Wembley winner

The eyes of the world will be on the new Wembley Stadium on Saturday as two giants of English football clash in the first FA Cup final since the famous old ground was rebuilt.

The eyes of the world will be on the new Wembley Stadium on Saturday as two giants of English football clash in the first FA Cup final since the famous old ground was rebuilt.

But as millions watch Manchester United and Chelsea do battle for cup glory, few will realise the significance of the occasion for one Lowestoft firm.

For Harrod UK, based at the South Lowestoft industrial estate, has landed the prestigious contract to supply two products vital for the game to go-ahead - the goal posts and nets.

While the eyes of the fans will be focused on the prodigious talents of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, Harrod UK's 115 employees will look on proudly at the goals that they made.

Supplying equipment for Britain finest football stadia is nothing new for Harrod UK, which also boasts Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal among its most influential clients, but sales and marketing co-ordinator Kevin Utton admitted landing Wembley was the big one as far as he was concerned.

He said: “Wembley is the pinnacle for us because it will always be the world's greatest stadium and is the home of football. It's an amazing stadium and once it is full, the atmosphere will be incredible.

Most Read

“When I heard Wembley was being built, I got in touch with its builders Multiplex and rung them every month to get an update. I went to the old stadium and it was the twin towers that hit you, but this is completely different because there are no restricted views and you've got concourses the size of the old M6.”

Mr Utton could not discuss the financial side of the contract with Wembley, but admitted it was deals such as this one that helped to secure the future of the workforce, which carries out all its production in Lowestoft.

Last week, the company, which was founded in 1954 and also provides equipment for sports such as netball and hockey, extended its site with new warehousing facilities.

Mr Utton, who will be at Wembley for this weekend's big game, added: “It's a competitive market in general, but at the top end we have got a lot of the big grounds covered. We've been supporting the big clubs for a long, long time.

“The great thing from our point of view is that we get to visit all these sites and I've probably walked on the Wembley pitch more times than the England players have so far.

“There is a great sense of personal pride and when I am watching on television I like to check that the nets are hanging correctly.”

Wembley Stadium grounds manager Steve Welch said: “Having worked with Harrod UK for many years, they were the natural choice as our official goal post and net supplier.”

t This Saturday's FA Cup final will be shown live on BBC 1 and Sky Sports 1.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter