When former Manchester United star Gary Neville came down to visit the humble location of Horwich St Mary’s, what he was welcomed with was a far cry from his days at Old Trafford.
- No running water,
- rusty green containers (also players changing rooms) that had once been petrol bombed
- slanted pitches
- waterlogged pitches impossible to play on.
Mr Neville was mortified by what he saw and made a promise on that day to club secretary Lesley Allon that once the grant had been confirmed and the area had been redeveloped he would personally come down and open it.
Fast forward years later and true to his word the former England international cut the ribbon on a brand-new state of the art pavilion for the club, courtesy of a grant from the Premier League. Gone are the rotting containers and in its place is an impressive clubhouse with changing rooms, an office and even rooms for events such as yoga classes. Perhaps more importantly is the improvement to the top pitch which has been completely dug up and resurfaced and now looks better than ever. Hopefully the days of referees calling off games are behind them although with England’s fine weather being so temperamental we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves! The club have also invested in a car park and work is due to begin soon on the pitches behind the clubhouse.
The club have recently seen an increase in players as conditions have been improved but believe that parents are more influenced by it than kids according to Lesley Allon “The kids just come to have fun, they don’t really care about the conditions its more so the parents, they see other clubs with fancy facilities and nice changing rooms and think that could a better environment for their children to play football” Horwich St Mary’s have constantly been growing as a club over the years and it is likely that will continue with brand new pitches.
If you want to look at the progress from start to finish please visit their website.
You can also listen to my chat with Club Secretary Lesley Allon here https://youtu.be/iMRsiJX3e8M