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England Manager Gareth Southgate opens £1m community football hub in Burton

On Valentine's day, Gareth Southgate showed his love for the grassroots game by officially unveiling a brand new state-of-the-art football hub in Burton. The England Manager and Football Foundation Ambassador was joined by Nigel Clough, Burton Albion FC manager, the club’s Chairman Ben Robinson, Burton MP Andrew Griffiths and Football Foundation President Lord Pendry. 

The former England defender, who has been an Ambassador for the Football Foundation since 2004, was also shown the adjoining changing room pavilion and clubhouse, which is expected to be completed before Easter.

The new state-of-the-art football hub, which replaces a previously undeveloped area of the Brewers’ Pirelli Stadium, will house a huge range of sporting, educational and community programmes delivered by BACT – the charitable arm of Championship side, Burton Albion FC.  

Gareth said: “Throughout my career I’ve always been a big supporter of the grassroots game, and state-of-the-art facilities like this one are its lifeblood. Floodlit all-weather pitches allow football to be played all-year-round, irrespective of the weather. This means more people, more often, taking part in the sport. 

“It makes a massive difference in driving up participation in our national game. And ultimately all future England players – whether it is the women’s teams, disability teams, youth teams or indeed in the senior men’s team – all of them will start out and develop their skills in the grassroots game, and on grassroots facilities. So whether for pure enjoyment or for supporting the development of home-grown talent, the more of these fantastic sites we see built, the better.”
 
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.
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This month, we spoke to former Wimbledon, Liverpool and England defender – and Football Foundation Ambassador – John Scales. Since hanging up his boots John has been involved in numerous projects with the English Schools’ FA, specifically the Danone Nations Cup and the PlayStation Schools Cup. Read what John had to say here…
 
Q: What’s kept you busy since hanging up your boots, John?
I’ve been busy starting a number of football-related businesses. They’ve included a licensing agency, events company, TV production and commercial consultancy. I also love my media work and am currently enjoying my Dutch Eredivisie co-commentary duties for Sky.
 
The biggest challenge over the past few years is my continuing efforts to establish a truly global football museum attraction here in London.
 
I’m also blessed that soon after retiring I met my beautiful wife and now have two amazing daughters; both of whom absolutely love their athletics (my first love).
 
Q: You’ve been a Football Foundation Ambassador for nearly a decade (thank you!) – what are the main benefits to youngsters of playing regular sport?
I'm very passionate about grassroots football and especially my role in supporting the Football Foundation’s incredible work. Playing sport allows youngsters to express themselves in ways other activity can’t. Not only do they keep physically fit and healthy, they also have a natural outlet for supporting mental wellbeing.
 
Sport teaches life skills; the need to have to work together, often putting differences aside, to be able to rely on others and understand your pivotal role in achieving a common goal. It’s an environment where social barriers and prejudices are often levelled and competitive instincts embraced and channelled. It’s sociable, fun and the shared experiences invaluable in developing as a youngster. In fact sometimes it’s just the parents we need to worry about!

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
Think about the saying: ‘Practice makes perfect.’ It’s such a simple line but one often misunderstood because of one missing word... “GREAT practice makes perfect.”
 
To reach one’s optimum potential, practice of the highest quality is required every session. Someone just going through the motions for hours and hours will not progress as well as someone who always practices best and often for a much shorter, focussed time.

Q: What attributes do you think a grassroots football coach should work on themselves to develop?
Think about every aspect of how a coach can inspire and encourage a youngster to develop and pursue their dreams. Make every player feel important and valued. It’s not just about the technical coaching but also the small things that are said and done every day that have an equally significant cumulative effect. The 'pat on the back’; the positive discipline; the interest shown in each individual player’s development; the importance of the team.
 
Coaches should always stay true to their role in developing confidence, mental and game intelligence – and not to allow this to be compromised by the pressure to ‘win at all costs’.
 
Q: You were part of the Wimbledon Crazy Gang and played in the famous 1988 FA Cup final victory over Liverpool, what moment from that day sticks out most in the memory?
Somewhat bizarrely the thing that sticks out most is the fact I remember so little! Probably because it was so overwhelming and surreal to me at that time. It’s why I can remember the ’96 FA Cup final so clearly – I was determined to embrace every part of it. Unfortunately much of it involves white suits and a Cantona goal!
 
Q: Can you tell us a funny anecdote from your playing career?
Sam Hamman (the Wimbledon owner at the time) wasn’t happy with my transfer request after playing for the club for six years and having become aware Liverpool were keen to sign me. His reply was a letter simply saying, ‘NO WAY, JOSE!’, signed off with a big smiley face.
 
Let’s just say his ‘formal’ unacceptance was acknowledged when I finally moved to Liverpool a year later and we had a tribunal hearing to judge whether I was entitled to a contract loyalty bonus. When they ruled in my favour, I received the first instalment in bags and bags of pennies! Typical Sam.
 
Q: If you could take one book to a desert island, what would it be?
I’m not a massive reader so probably, ‘Safe Extreme Sunbathing – a guide to excessive sun exposure’!
The Foundation’s Grow the Game Scheme is now open and provides grants of up to £1,500 for the creation of new football teams and coaching qualifications, with money provided by The FA. The application window is open from Wednesday 1 February 2017 until Wednesday 29 March 2017APPLY HERE!

A grant from the Grow the Game scheme in 2015 allowed Ossett Town Ladies to create a second team to meet increased interest. The new side caters for women aged 16 and above.

Dan Robinson, Manager of Ossett Town Ladies, said: "We found that there was a demand for female football – either in the form of brand new players or those returning after time away from the game. A Grow the Game grant provided a fantastic opportunity to make competitive football for women available in the local area."

The club used its grant to pay for safeguarding courses, facility hire, new kit and league and affiliation fees. The grant has helped to provide the female community with new opportunities, and success stories already emerging from Ossett Town Ladies. 

"We’ve already had one complete novice join the new second team this year and by the end of the season, she was promoted to play in the established First Team in the West Riding County Women’s Premier Division", said Dan. "It was great to see someone completely new to the sport excel so quickly, which wouldn’t have been possible without Grow the Game funding."

Here are a selection of sunsets captured from some of our all-weather pitches. We think you’ll agree that they’re mightily impressive – the sunsets and the pitches, of course!
One of our favourite pictures comes from a 2012 opening at the Meadowfield Leisure Centre in Durham where we were joined by the legendary Jack Charlton.
One of the best photos captured at out facilities comes from the new Darlington Borough Council pitch in the North West. A great facility that was accompanied on the day by an incredibe skyline. 
The next one is a double entry because we love it so much. This stunning sunset image was taken in Leicestershire in December of 2016 as Premier League winner, Christian Fuchs, was on hand to open Judgemeadow College's brilliant new pitch!
Our last image comes from AFC Wimbledon, a side which has received several Foundation grants. Not only is it great to see our facilities being used, it's great to have a backdrop like this behind the action. What a sight!
The Darrick Wood School, located in Bromley, South East London, was awarded a £190,824 grant to refurbish their sand-based pitch into a state-of-the-art all-weather surface. A third of all activity at the new facility is non-football, showing the value of this refurbishment for the whole sporting community.
  • Former Liverpool and Chelsea striker, Fernando Torres, scored this incredible overhead kick last week for Atletico Madrid. He's still got it!
     
  • Remember this bit of TV magic? Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez summoned his own name to appear on screen during his Liverpool days. Brilliant!
     
  • If you haven't seen it, watch this fantastic solo goal from young Leicester star, Demarai Grey, to wrap up The FA Cup tie against Derby.
Copyright © 2017 Football Foundation, All rights reserved.
 
TopCorner E-Newsletter - February
 
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