Bolton Wanderers all-time Premier League leading goalscorer, Kevin Davies, officially opened a new third generation artificial grass pitch with Cllr John Byrne at Ladybridge High School.
Bolton Council invested £400,000 from its capital budget towards the project and Ladybridge High School was also awarded a £143,302 grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The funding enabled Ladybridge High School to install a new state-of-the-art pitch, replacing a grass pitch.
The new pitch will benefit community groups as it can be used in the evening thanks to the installation of floodlights.
Bolton Wanderers FC Community Trust also plan to use the site to deliver weekly Premier League Kicks sessions.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Culture, Youth and Sport, Cllr John Byrne, said: “This pitch will provide a high quality, modern facility which can be used all year round, in any weather.
“The joint investment from the council and the Football Foundation into this state of the art pitch will benefit the whole community. We have invested in a number of 3G pitches across the borough which we hope will encourage more people to play sports, particularly at a grassroots level.”
Kevin Davies, who played for Bolton Wanderers for a decade, said: “Having enjoyed some of the best years of my career at Bolton, it is fantastic to see the local area benefitting from first class facilities like this one at Ladybridge High School.
“With Bolton Community Trust using this 3G pitch to deliver Premier League Kicks sessions, you never know, it might help to unearth the next star who could help take us back to the Premier League!
“I would like to commend Bolton Council for investing in new sports facilities across the borough and actively encouraging more people to participate in grassroots sport. I believe that projects like this can only have a positive impact on football in this part of Bolton.
“Huge credit must go to the Premier League, FA and Government for investing in projects like this and giving kids the best opportunity to develop their skills on better playing surfaces.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am delighted that Ladbybridge High School has now opened their state-of-the-art all-weather pitch in Bolton.
“Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities."