Date: 2nd October 2015 at 1:21am
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Legendary Arsenal midfielder opens new football hub next to The Emirates

Recently, Arsenal Legend Liam Brady opened the Market Road Pitches in Islington, London – just around the corner from the Gunners’ Emirates Stadium. The former midfielder made over 500 league appearances for clubs including Arsenal, Juventus and Inter Milan. Seriously, YouTube him, he was quality – the Mesut Özil of his day.

Market Road now has two full-size 3G pitches, three smaller 3G pitches, a six-team changing complex with showers and new raised walkways for spectators to see the action better! It’s the place to play footie in North London. The site was home to England’s first ever 3G pitch in 1972 and has hosted a midweek 11-a-side league ever since.

Market Road Pitches, Islington.  Picture by Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd +44 7813 022858 24/09/2015

Brady addressing young players at Brady at the opening of the Market Road Pitches in Islington.

Liam Brady was joined by Arsenal’s mascot, Gunnersaurus to greet young schoolkids from Hungerford School and answer questions on his career, speaking of his 59 goals for Arsenal and current favourite player; Lionel Messi. Brady also gave advice on coaching to Arsenal BTEC students and told them how he scored that amazing goal against Spurs in 1978 – which you’ll see on YouTube!

A grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund totalling a massive £832,000 meant this project was possible. Money from Arsenal FC and Islington Council also helped with the £2.1m facility.

To see some amazing before and after shots of the Market Road pitches, visit the Football Foundation’s Flickr page:

You can watch a video of the opening here:

Playing at Football Foundation Third Generation sites make you happier and healthier

Having top-drawer facilities like Market Road’s pitches all over the country is the ambition of the Football Foundation. Thanks to the hard work of the Foundation there are now over 530 3G artificial grass pitches (AGPs) across the country.

Liam Brady said that facilities like that could help produce the next Jack Wilshere or Theo Walcott, and a recent survey from the Foundation found that 75% of coaches felt that using a 3G AGP allowed them to deliver better sessions to improve players.

As well as improving players through better coaching, new facilities also get more people playing; 11% of people playing at Football Foundation-funded sites were previously inactive – this means nearly 1 in 10 had not been playing sport before they were given the chance to do so!

Impressive stats like this are encouraging for our country; especially as we have some of the worst obesity levels in Western Europe! Although we are seeing benefits of the Football Foundation’s work, there is still a lot more to do; England has just over 600 3G pitches compared to Word Champions Germany who have nearly 4,000!

Two big names sign for Football Foundation!

The Football Foundation was busy on transfer deadline day, securing Hayley McQueen as an Ambassador, adding to the recent acquisition of Chris Powell.

To help spread news of the good work that the Football Foundation does; big names from the football world help by becoming ambassadors. Chris and Hayley have joined the likes of Gary Neville and Dion Dublin as Football Foundation Ambassadors.

Chris is manager of Championship side, Huddersfield Town, having previously been in charge at Charlton Athletic. Capped five times during Sven Goran Eriksson’s England reign, he had stints playing at left-back for West Ham, Leicester and of course, Charlton.

Regular viewers of Sky Sports News HQ will be familiar with Hayley McQueen, anchoring the show for the past five years. Hayley has vast experience in the world of football and is one of, if not the most well-known and highly-regarded female sports journalists in football.

Both Ambassadors will look to promote the excellent work that the Football Foundation does for grassroots facilities and sports participation and will be out visiting our facilities near you very soon.

Twitter: @FootballFoundtn

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