‘Showpiece’ football academy takes shape

Holbeach football academy turf-cutting ceremony with Coun Nick Worth as youth teams and coaches look on.
Holbeach football academy turf-cutting ceremony with Coun Nick Worth as youth teams and coaches look on.

Holbeach United will soon have its own football academy as a £500,000 project to turn land off the A17 into a ‘centre of excellence’ takes shape.

Players from various Tigers youth teams and coaches watched on as Holbeach county councillor Nick Worth performed an official turf-cutting ceremony for the new Holbeach United Community Sports Academy in Penny Hill Road on Saturday.

The Football Foundation, Lincolnshire County Council and WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd) are among the organisations giving financial backing to the project headed by Ashley King Developments of Holbeach, with the academy due to open in January.

In a statement, academy trustees Phil Barnes and Stuart Clark said: “Seven years ago, the late John King donated land off Penny Hill Road to the youth of Holbeach with a view to football being played in the community on a long-term basis.

“Unfortunately John passed away (in October 2010) and his legacy moved on to his son Ashley who proposed that a purpose-built home for the youth teams be built on the land.

“We received a grant from the Football Foundation that enabled us to move ahead with the project and we’re already starting to put the brickwork down for the pavilion.

“Once it is built, it will be a showpiece site to hold events for sports teams right across Lincolnshire.”

The academy will have six grass football pitches, car parking and a sports pavilion with four changing rooms and space for community use.

Ashley King said: “It’s been quite a lengthy process to get to stage we’re at but we’re very pleased to finally be able to start the process of delivering a sports academy for the people of Holbeach.

“It’ll be a centre of excellence for Holbeach United Youth FC’s 18 teams, including girls’ teams, who are currently spread out at various sites.”

Coun Worth said: “I’m delighted that the football pitches are now in place and when the academy is built, it’ll be a wonderful facility.

“The whole project has been quite a long time in coming but I believe it’ll be really good for the young people of Holbeach and the surrounding area.”