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England hero Gordon Banks opens 3G pitch in Stoke

Tuesday 15 Jul 2014
Gordon Banks opened the new facility in Burslem, Stoke, at the weekend
England hero Gordon Banks opened a new state-of-the-art 3G pitch in Stoke-on-Trent last weekend, providing another football facility for the local community. 

A grant of £366,633 came from The FA Facilities Fund and Premier League towards the final cost of over £700,000, which also included the refurbishment of two smaller artificial grass pitches at the Dimensions Leisure Centre in Burslem. 

Former England

Banks spent a large spell of his career playing for Stoke


And 1966 World Cup winner Banks, who made over 200 appearances for Stoke City during his career as a goalkeeper, was delighted to be back in the Potteries to see the difference it will make for football in the city.

"As someone who was fortunate enough to spend a large part of my playing career in Stoke-on-Trent, I know just how important football is to the people of the city," said Banks, who won 73 caps for the Three Lions. 

"It’s very pleasing to see the council and its partners investing in new facilities like this, which are certainly a world apart from the pitches I grew up playing on.

"Having top class facilities like this can only encourage more people to play football and sport and enjoy all the associated health benefits that come with it. I am sure this pitch will be very well used for years to come."

The new pitches can cater for five-a-side, seven-a-side, nine-a-side and 11-a-side games and will be used extensively by the public and various community groups, like StreetGames Stoke-on-Trent, a national charity dedicated to developing sport in disadvantaged communities. 

Staffordshire University will also use the site for league matches, while a number of existing partnerships with local leagues – Staffordshire County Minor Sunday Youth League, Milton Youth League and North Staffs Junior Youth League – will be strengthened as a result of the new surface.

Gordon Banks chats to youngsters in Stoke-on-Trent after opening a new football facility.

World Cup winner Banks chats to young fans in Stoke


The council worked in partnership with the Staffordshire FA to secure the grant and additional funding came from Sport England’s Improvement Fund which provided £300,000 towards the project.

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, added: "The Football Foundation is responsible for managing and delivering the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, which is funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, via Sport England. 

"These outstanding 3G artificial grass pitches are an example of the positive impact that this funding is having on our grassroots game. First-class facilities like this are crucial to creating more opportunities for local people to enjoy regular sport.

"Aided by the Staffordshire FA, Stoke-on-Trent City Council deserves huge credit for taking a vision and turning it into a reality, using funding provided by the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund. 

"Sport has the power to make a positive impact on the health of communities and this wonderful new facility will improve the sporting experience of local people and encourage them to be more active."

By FA Staff