WIVENHOE Town have agreed a major new sponsorship deal that will see their historic Broad Lane ground renamed the Blackstone Stadium.

The Dragons have struck a deal with kitchen designers, manufacturers and installers Blackstone Kitchens, who are based in Colchester High Street.

In addition to stadium naming rights, the company's branding will appear on all playing kit next season - from the first team to the club's youth sides.

Dragons chairman Mo Osman said: “This is a very exciting partnership with a local company who share our desire to be at the heart of the local community.

"In particular, Blackstone's commitment to provide new playing kit for all our teams is wonderful recognition of our shared interest in providing a 'one club' approach that gives an opportunity for local children to have access to football.

"The club look forward to working closely with (director) James Russell and his staff to deliver exposure for Blackstone and to continue with the development of Wivenhoe Town Football Club.”

Wivenhoe play in Thurlow Nunn League division one south and hopes are high for a promotion push next season, given the way they finished last term following Gary Monti's arrival as manager in February.

Blackstone director Russell is delighted to be on board and said: "I've been impressed with the ethos of the football club and with the commitment of its chairman and the club committee to take this club forward.

"The ambition of the club, both at senior and junior level, aligns well with the community values of Blackstone.

"This made the decision to offer them my support very easy.

"There are some exciting times ahead and I'm pleased Blackstone will be part of that journey."

Meanwhile, Wivenhoe have confirmed the return of goalkeeper Ben Gallifant, after a season away at Little Oakley.

The former Ipswich Town trainee has played 70 matches for the Dragons, both in central midfield and as a keeper, scoring three goals.

The club have also confirmed that three key players from last season have been retained.

They include defender and captain Ross James, who signed last season and previously played for Stanway Rovers and Heybridge Swifts.

He impressed with a series of high-energy performances and led from the front with three goals.

Defender Tim Dennis is also returning and is among the club's leading appearance-makers, having played over 200 games.

An experienced central defender, he returned at the end of 2018-19 season, after a spell at Colne Athletic.

Midfielder Sam Holden will also be back, having joined last season after Monti's appointment.

An experienced player with good vision, he was a Colchester United trainee who spent time at Heybridge.