As the Premier League kicked-off this month, a Manchester United XI travelled the short distance to Altrincham FC, playing a pre-season friendly against The Robins to unveil the club’s new £45,200 pitch.
Featuring an array of United’s best young talent, the teams were cheered on by a 543-strong crowd at the J Davidson Stadium.
The upgraded pitch was made possible thanks to a £20,000 grant from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the largest funders of non-league football in the country.
The funding helped to provide major improvements to the playing surface, which is also used by the Manchester United FC Under-18 team, after a season severely disrupted by postponements due to bad weather. Let’s hope that no more get called off now!
Warren Joyce, The Red Devils’ Under-21 Manager, led his team out onto the new turf with the man in the middle, Premier League referee Anthony Taylor, there to officiate the game.
The Reds’ side, featuring the talented young pair of Tyler Blackett and James Wilson, who both won first-team appearances last season, ran out 2-1 winners on the night.
Grahame Rowley, Altrincham FC Chairman, emphasised the importance of the Premier League’s investment, “Without funding from the Premier League, clubs such as Altrincham FC would find it impossible to maintain a good standard of facility for players and spectators.
“We are extremely grateful for their ongoing support.”
Back in 2015, none other than Sir Alex Ferguson visited the club to open their new state-of-the-art community sports hall thanks to a separate £114,880 FSIF grant with an extra £269,470 from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund!
Funded with £5.2m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England.
Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 14,000 grants worth more than £560m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £780m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.