Terry Butcher: 'It's much better than Lowestoft beach'

Saturday 27 Sep 2014
Butcher greets FA Chairman Greg Dyke in Lowestoft on Saturday
Former England captain Terry Butcher was back in his hometown of Lowestoft on Saturday morning to see the new £1m facilities that have been put in place.

The Premier League and FA Facilities Fund provided cash to install two new floodlit 3G artificial pitches at Barnard’s Centre Point and the Kirkley and Pakefield Community Sports and Social Club, as well as a new pavilion at the Dip Farm playing fields in the town.

And Butcher admits it’s a different world to when he was growing up there, honing his skills on the town’s beach, parks and streets wherever he could.

Former England captain Terry Butcher chats to a reporter in Lowestoft.

Butcher was impressed by the new facilities he saw in Lowestoft on Saturday

 

"We used to play on parks, with jumpers for goalposts or on the beach in Lowestoft, which was actually the best place to play for me - but this is much better," revealed Butcher.

"We never had these facilities when I was younger, of course we would’ve loved to have artificial grass pitches and a floodlit area, but I don’t think I’d have done very well in school if we did have them!

"We just played wherever we could, with cans and stones because all we wanted to do was to play football."

 

It all worked out well in the end for Butcher, who went on to win 77 caps for the Three Lions and feature in three World Cups during his career.

He started his career locally to Lowetoft too, coming through the youth ranks with Ipswich Town where he made his name under the management of Sir Bobby Robson and won the UEFA Cup in 1981, before moving to Glasgow Rangers where he picked up even more honours north of the border.

And with the facilities now in place for improved grassroots football in Lowestoft, Butcher is hoping to see more local talent progressing to the top level.

"It’s great to see so many boys and girls playing, especially the younger ones as they’re getting lots of touches of the ball and it’s all about technique now," he added.

"With the facilities that they’ve got here, thanks to The FA’s commitment to grassroots football, they’ve now got every chance of playing more, improving and hopefully being the stars of the future.

"Youngsters today have got so many other options, but they still want to play football because of the Premier League, the World Cup and international football.

"They just want to emulate these players that they’ve seen doing so well at the top level and it’s good to see young English players getting a chance, which is what’s required. 

"It’s never too late for any youngster. I didn’t join a club until I was 17 and with facilities like this, as long as you enjoy the game and play well with a good coach, you’ve got a chance."

Youngsters enjoy the new facilities at Dip Farm in Lowestoft.

Youngsters enjoying the new facilities at Dip Farm in Lowestoft

 

Butcher was joined in Lowestoft by FA Chairman Greg Dyke, who has previously spoken of his commitment to the grassroots game.

And he was happy to hear about the work that is going on to improve facilities across the country, as well as watching an FA Skills session taking place with local young footballers.

"I think it’s brilliant that The FA have this commitment to grassroots football and the Chairman’s Commission," added Butcher.

"They do want to make it work and you’ve got to have good facilities and good coaches to do that.

"And that’s where The FA are strong as well, by working with the coaches to make them better and working with youngsters through The FA Skills programme."

By Nicholas Veevers