Slideshow: Former internationals open football facility

A TRIO of former internationals, as well as the sun, came out for the official opening of North Herts newest football facility. The Arena in Baldock saw a programme of activities hosted by Hitchin Town Community Football Club on Friday afternoon. Kingsle

A TRIO of former internationals, as well as the sun, came out for the official opening of North Herts' newest football facility.

The Arena in Baldock saw a programme of activities hosted by Hitchin Town Community Football Club on Friday afternoon.

Kingsley Black (Northern Ireland), Ricky Hill (England) and Tony Galvin (Eire) were joined by Littlewoods Cup winner Rob Johnson (Luton Town) and the former Hatters midfielder and Stevenage Boro manager Wayne Turner.

After a presentation by Mark Burke, the club's community and development manager, around 80 guests saw a sample of what the facility has to offer.


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Many groups are already benefitting from the £1 million investment by the Football Foundation, Hertfordshire County Council, and The Department for Children, Schools and Families.

On-pitch activities included a mini-match by Ability Counts, a training session with the Hitchin Town scholarship scheme and multi-sports activities with children from Oughton Primary School who are part of the Playing for Success scheme. The children also had the chance to interview Wayne Turner.

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Burke said: "We were delighted to welcome guests from the Football Foundation and the Herts FA as well as the former internationals.

"We hope that The Arena will help many more players to enjoy the passion for football and to be able to develop in their sport.

"We're already seeing lots of new players across the ages and will welcome new groups and individuals who want to benefit from the facilities we have here."

The Arena has a full-size artificial pitch, and provides an excellent venue for tournaments and multi-group use.

Local children have already been taking part in holiday coaching courses and new business leagues will provide the opportunity for employees in the area to use the facility.

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