Do I not like that! Former England boss hails new Belper 3G pitches

All cheers for the new facilities at the Belper Leisure Centre, opened by Graham Taylor on Friday.
All cheers for the new facilities at the Belper Leisure Centre, opened by Graham Taylor on Friday.
  • Ex-England boss opens new artificial football pitches at Belper Leisure Centre
  • £200,000 from the Football Foundation helps fund new floodlit facilities
  • Pitches will benefit local school pupils, grassroots players and the community

Former England manager Graham Taylor opened the new artificial football pitches at Belper Leisure Centre on Friday and hailed the facilities as the best he has seen.

A grant of just over £200,000 from the Football Foundation has enabled a floodlit 3G AGP to be developed at the centre.

Graham Taylor on the artificial grass pitch which he opened at the Belper Leisure Centre on Friday.

Graham Taylor on the artificial grass pitch which he opened at the Belper Leisure Centre on Friday.

The new pitch will provide pupils at Belper School, grassroots players and members of the local community with a safe and secure environment in which to participate in sport all year round.

Taylor, who bossed the Three Lions between 1990 and 1993, was a special guest at the unveiling of the new state-of-the-art pitch and was certainly impressed with what he saw.

He told the Belper News: “I have to say the facilities here are the best I’ve seen. They’re excellent.

“I’ve seen these artificial surfaces come in from day one, and like many people I was suspicious of them because they were hard.

I have to say the facilities here are the best I’ve seen. They’re excellent.

Former England manager Graham Taylor

“If you fell down, you’d probably get scratches all the way down your knees.

“But this feels like you’re playing on proper grass and it’s excellent for the community.

“You look around and who knows, ten years from now there may be somebody from here playing for England. It certainly can be done, you just never know.”

During Taylor’s visit there were of number of training sessions and matches involving junior girls’ taking place on the pitch.

Graham Taylor gives an impromptu coaching session to year 7 and 8 pupils at the Belper Leisure Centre on Friday.

Graham Taylor gives an impromptu coaching session to year 7 and 8 pupils at the Belper Leisure Centre on Friday.

Taylor, who also managed Aston Villa and Watford, is delighted to see the increased involvement of females in the sport.

He added: “This facility is excellent and I’m a big supporter of ladies’ football.

“I’m not a person who thinks girls shouldn’t play, but I came through the game at a time when ladies didn’t play.

“Now I’ve seen the whole thing change and that’s been an improvement for everybody.”

The Belper News' Ricky Charlesworth with Graham Taylor at Belper Leisure Centre.

The Belper News' Ricky Charlesworth with Graham Taylor at Belper Leisure Centre.

Pupils from Belper School, Ripley Academy, Ecclesbourne Academy and the John Flamsteed School try out the new facilities at Belper Leisure Centre.

Pupils from Belper School, Ripley Academy, Ecclesbourne Academy and the John Flamsteed School try out the new facilities at Belper Leisure Centre.

Graham Taylor meets the Amber Valley Mayor, Trevor Ainsworth, centre and  Belper Town Mayor, Dan Booth at the Belper Leisure Centre on Friday when he officially opened the new artificial grass football pitches.

Graham Taylor meets the Amber Valley Mayor, Trevor Ainsworth, centre and Belper Town Mayor, Dan Booth at the Belper Leisure Centre on Friday when he officially opened the new artificial grass football pitches.

Graham Taylor with from left, Amber Valley Mayor, Trevor Ainsworth, Belper Town Mayor, Dan Booth and Neil Malenoir, manager of the Belper Leisure Centre.

Graham Taylor with from left, Amber Valley Mayor, Trevor Ainsworth, Belper Town Mayor, Dan Booth and Neil Malenoir, manager of the Belper Leisure Centre.