Big plans afoot at Hertfordshire FA says new chairman
PUBLISHED: 12:34 25 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:44 25 November 2016
2015 The FA
Herts FA chief Brian Curtis says these are 'exciting times' for football in the county
Curtis was confirmed as the new county chairman at the start of October and has set about putting into action initiatives aimed at improving county-wide football as well as ‘unlocking the potential’ of Herts FA’s own headquarters in Letchworth.
The Comet met up with Curtis and chief executive officer Vicki Askew to discuss football in the county, and both spoke of their excitement about the future.
“We have already identified the need to modernise our structure so we’re working to do that,” says Curtis, who also spoke about a corporate review aimed at revamping the Herts FA council so it represents the changing face of football.
“We’ve recently made the decision to look at the prospect of converting the grass pitch to a 3G facility and create a community centre here in Letchworth. That’s particularly exciting.
“That will create a wonderful opportunity for local clubs. It means taking up the grass pitch, laying down an artificial grass pitch, new floodlights and new facilities to support that so [it means] changes to the clubhouse and additional changing facilities.”
A new pitch would allow a higher turnover of matches while there is also the suggestion that new changing facilities could also be used by teams playing across the road from the HQ on Baldock Road.
The process of a new pitch is in its infancy and could take up to two years to complete, but once it does, Askew explains, it could see a local football club use Herts FA’s ground for its home matches.
Askew said: “The opportunity is huge when we think of a pitch that could be used seven days a week.
“Letchworth Eagles [located just behind Herts FA] are bursting at the seams. They have a waiting list. They could use our facilities and it would really enhance them.
“Baldock Town [currently without a home ground of their own and playing at Stotfold] and other teams have already expressed an interest to use it as their home ground to play regular matches on.”
Askew continues: “It also enables that grassroots level to grow. We’re not only talking about existing clubs but also there’s a community opportunity so during the day we could have a walking football session come together and have a cup of tea and socially engage with each other.”
The pitch is subject to funding – football in the county has pulled in £20m in Football Foundation grants – but Curtis believes it is the sort of initiative that The FA wants to see happening in the county.
“That’s why I say it’s an exciting time. It’s unlocking the potential of this ground,” says the 70-year-old.
“We have got a decision from the board to proceed. It depends on a grant but the Football Association has indicated it’s exactly the sort of initiative they hope to see in this area.”