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Baroness Brady CBE unveils West Ham United Foundation's new all-weather pitch

Earlier this month, West Ham United FC's Vice-Chairman and star of The Apprentice, Baroness Karren Brady CBE, was joined by Hammers defender Reece Burke to officially open the West Ham United Foundation's new facility in Beckton.  

West Ham United Foundation – the charitable arm of Premier League side West Ham United FC – will use the facility to deliver a wide range of social, educational and community-outreach programmes including Premier League Primary Stars, Premier League Kicks and inclusive disability sport.

The new state-of-the-art facility is projected to increase overall sports participation in the area by 78%, as well as seeing 17 new teams created, hosting age groups from pre-school through to veterans. 

West Ham United FC Captain, Mark Noble, gave his support to the project, saying: “I’m so impressed with the quality of this new all-weather pitch. Having played across all levels of the game, I know how important these types of facilities are in helping nurture good football, and importantly, reaching out to the local community.

Baroness Brady praised the new facility, she said: This new all-weather pitch will make a tremendous difference, helping youngsters across Beckton and beyond to adopt football as a real passion; a platform to make positive life choices and engage among the local community.”

The new facility will not only serve the West Ham United Foundation, but will provide a fantastic sporting hub that the whole community can enjoy in safety and comfort. Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore, described the new facility as fantastic”, adding that it will allow West Ham to "grow and develop the already outstanding community work delivered by their Foundation."
Read the full story here!
Click the main image to see the full video or the smaller photos for a picture gallery from the event.
Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch MP helped to open a brand new all-weather pitch and refurbished changing rooms at Redditch United FC this month. See all the pictures here and watch our video below.
This month, we spoke to former Southampton manager – and Football Foundation Ambassador – Nigel Adkins. Read what Nigel had to say in our quick-fire Q&A...

Q: How important is it to have quality facilities at the grassroots level of our sport?

NA: It’s paramount. When I was a Manager in the Birkenhead Sunday League, and also seeing my sons grow up, I saw games called off for months at a time because local pitches had turned into quagmires.
If we are to get more people playing football at the very lowest levels, we need to be able to offer quality facilities at which they can play all-year-round. Unfortunately, we have long dark winter nights in this country, which is why floodlit all-weather pitches are so vitally important.
More broadly, these pitches help to keep people fit and enjoy the many other social benefits that come with partaking in regular sport. The social interaction element is important for all ages, especially with all the other sedentary distractions these days.

Q: You have enjoyed a lot of success during your career to date but if you had to pick out just one moment, what would it be?

NA: I’ve enjoyed so many as a player, physio and manager, I’ve been really privileged in that respect. If you're going to push me to pick just one, it would have to be guiding Southampton from the bottom of League One to mid-table in the Premier League – a rise of over 50 places. From where we started to where we finished was remarkable. That is one of my greatest ever achievements. It was a great time for me personally and everyone connected with Southampton.

Q: If you could manage any player, either past or present, who would it be and why?

NA: Great question. Johan Cruyff. He was innovative – look back at what he did for the game as a player, and subsequently as a manager, it’s unrivalled really. How many people get a move named after them?! Not only was he a supremely talented player, he was a thinker, a leader and a maverick. From a manager’s point of view, he would have challenged you but also expected you to challenge him to get the best out of his supreme talent.

Q: What is the funniest memory from your career so far?

NA: There are millions! One of my favourite moments was during a pre-season training camp at Reading. During a team bonding session I combined the players and staff, splitting them into small groups. They then had to come up with a song and, using body parts as musical instruments, perform to the rest of the squad! My two assistants, Andy Crosby and Dean Wilkins, hate singing but had to take part. As a group, they performed Queens’ Bohemian Rhapsody and received a standing ovation from the rest of the squad! It was fantastic, so much fun and laughter had by all.

Q: Finally, if you could take only one CD with you to a desert island, which one would it be and why?

NA: Let me think – Elvis. I’ve always liked Elvis. His songs evoke many different happy memories for me. Let’s face it, being stranded on a desert island isn’t ideal and you would probably be quite down at times, but if I could stick on a bit of Elvis, I’d be able to think about happier times.
Here are a selection of non-sporting personalities to have opened some of our facilities over the years!
One of the most interesting people to have opened one of our facilities was The Archbishop of York. Back in 2011, Dr John Sentamu opened the Foundation-funded changing pavilion at Poppleton Tigers Junior FC in York. 
It's always a special occasion when you're joined by royalty. Back in 2006, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, joined our President, Lord Pendry, to open the brand new pitch that we funded at St Thomas More Catholic School in North London.
It was all 'Gold'-en this time last year as former Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley opened the new FF-funded community pavilion on behalf of Chinnor Parish Council. The locals couldn't believe it was 'True'!
Back in 2009, former Manchester United star Eric Cantona, and award-winning BAFTA director Ken Loach teamed up to pay a special visit to a Foundation facility in Mile End, East London, during the promotional work for his film, 'Looking for Eric'.
In September 2016, we had the pleasure of being joined by the star of Channel 4's Peep Show Robert Webb, who kindly opened our brand new changing pavilion at Woodhall Spa United JFC, in Lincolnshire, to the delight of those in attendance.
Staffordshire County Council was awarded a grant towards the refurbishment of their changing rooms at Penkridge Leisure Centre, which are pictured below. The funding allowed for the council to directly improve their facilities to ensure that the local community was provided with a safe and comfortable place to change.  
The Foundation is looking for a brand new Grant Officer to join the Foundation team. The individual will join the Grant Management team to support the full end-to-end process of facilities investment offered by the Foundation. To find out more, click here.
Deadline for applications is 11pm on Sunday 26th March – good luck!
  • Football funnies wouldn't be possible without horrendous misses. Watch this awful effort as Metz man Georges Mandjeck misses an open goal and almost knocks himself out in the process!
  • Non-league football can produce some fantastic moments. Not many will come close to this one as Consett AFC's Peter Jeffries makes perhaps one of the most incredible saves you will ever see.
  • PSG's Lucas Moura thought he was destined to score as he kicked the ball towards an empty net, only to be denied by a giant puddle! Oh dear! 
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TopCorner e-newsletter - March
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