He scored an FA Cup Final-winning goal and as Northern Ireland boss, took his side across the globe, securing historic results against England, Spain and Portugal to lift his side from a remarkable 124th to 27th in the FIFA international rankings.
This month, Lawrie Sanchez had somewhat of a shorter journey. He joined the Football Foundation to open their latest all-weather pitch at Amersham & Wycombe College, Berkshire, where he lives locally and is still fondly remembered by the Wycombe Wanderers FC faithful for taking The Chairboys all the way to the FA Cup semi-final in 2001.
Opening the new state-of-the-art pitch, which will boost women’s football through an impressive 96% rise in overall participation, Lawrie beamed, “What a first-class facility this all-weather pitch is.
“It’s so important that these types of quality grassroots facilities are developed for local communities, and I am so impressed by the huge number of students, grassroots sides, regional associations, and even professional clubs’ community trusts, who will call this facility home.”
Wycombe Wanderers will deliver two weekly sessions on the new pitch for their development programmes, while Reading FC – who were recently defeated by Huddersfield Town FC in the 2017 Championship play-off final – will also work with a number of the college’s BTEC students.
With both professional clubs’ involvement leaving Lawrie excited for the future, he added, “These pitches attract more and more players to get involved in the game, and as a result, we may even see the next crop of Wycombe or Reading’s young sports stars emerge from this very playing surface!”