It is hoped a new £620,000 state-of-the-art football pitch will help earn Manchester the prestigious honour of being named ‘City of Football’.
Manchester, along with Portsmouth and Nottingham, have been shortlisted for the Sport England award, with the winner claiming £1.6million in National Lottery-funded money.
And the flood-lit artificial pitch at Ten Acres Lane Sports Centre in Newton Heath will soon be open to local schools, clubs and community groups.
Councillor Rosa Battle, executive member for culture and leisure, said: “Manchester, more than any other city, loves football. Not just watching it but getting out and playing it too.
“These new pitches will allow local residents to enjoy the game on a state-of-the-art surface and I’m sure the new pitch will prove incredibly popular.”
Along with the Soccerex Football Festival taking place at the Etihad Stadium this weekend, the opening of the new pitch could boost Manchester’s chances of claiming the award, with the competition winners being announced from Monday September 15.
Ms Battle added: “The bedrock of our bid to become the City of Football is the aim to get as many people out playing the beautiful game as possible – these new facilities illustrate just how committed we are to that goal.”
MM recently spoke to local MP for Withington John Leech, who also plays as a striker for the Houses of Parliament Football team.
He thinks Manchester is already England’s ‘City of Football’ and hopes further developments can make an impact.
“We need to make sure that grassroots football gets the support it needs to grow and develop. I will be doing all I can to support Manchester’s bid,” he said.
“Manchester is the obvious choice. It is already a city of football with two of the biggest clubs in Europe.”
Following England’s group stage exit from this summer’s World Cup, former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel said: “There’s a very big problem compared to where I come from in the whole system.
“What I found when I moved into this country, because I brought kids over there, it was desperately impossible to get your kid to play.”
The new pitch at Ten Acres Lane Sports Centre, Newton Heath, is being opened at 9am on Saturday morning by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Paul Murphy.
Image courtesy of tenacreslane, via YouTube, with thanks