Even through a busy summer at the elite level of the game, the Football Foundation continued its work in improving grassroots facilities with several new ones opening.
Former Premier League referee Chris Foy and Norwich City legend Iwan Roberts were on hand to help unveil two of them.
The Foundation builds 3G pitches and changing rooms, like the ones you’re going to read about below, across the country with money from its Funding Partners: the Premier League, The FA and the Government, via Sport England.
Former Premier League referee Chris Foy gets the football underway!
After blowing for full-time on construction work, former Premier League referee, Chris Foy, unveiled a brand new £450,000 changing room pavilion in Cheshire, on behalf of the local council.
The Premier League veteran, who had a career spanning 21 years in the professional game, opened the site after it received a huge £137,424 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
The site is set to become a central venue for the County FA’s Charter Standard Youth Leagues, projecting on-site participation to increase by 106%.
Having refereed across all levels of the game, Chris said: “I understand the real value of facilities like this one in Cheshire because they support the broader infrastructure of grassroots sport.
“The changing room will really help to open up future opportunities to get players and referees involved in the sport.”
Foy officiated over 550 games in his lengthy career – making him one of the most experienced officials at the highest level of the game! This included a selection of notable matches, including the finals of the League Cup, FA Trophy and the FA Community Shield.
He also officiated the 2010 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Portsmouth, which saw Chelsea run-out winners.
Canaries’ legend Iwan Roberts on hand as Open Academy net new facility
Former Norwich goal-getter, Iwan Roberts, turned provider this time round after assisting Open Academy and Norfolk FA in the opening of theFDC@OpenAcademy – a new floodlit, all-weather football facility based in Norwich made possible thanks to a grant of £498,789 from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
The former Welsh international, who scored over 200 times in his professional career, officially unveiled the new state-of-the-art facility which included a new 3G pitch, changing rooms and an education area. Let’s see if these budding young footballers can learn how to finish the ball like Iwan can!
Iwan, now a Norwich City Hall of Famer, said: “Norwich is a vibrant city with a huge passion for football and it’s fantastic to see facilities of this quality being developed to match that.
“I’m sure the students here at Open Academy, as well as the local community, are going to love having a pitch of this standard on their doorstep.”
Roberts, who spent seven years with the Canaries, has gone on to become a pundit, having worked for Sky Sports, Radio Cyrmu and BBC Wales. His 600+ professional appearances certainly make him someone who knows his stuff!