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Football legend opens sports facility

PUBLISHED: 15:06 19 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:48 03 July 2010

Ex-England footballer Stuart Pearce congratulated a Broadland village as he opened its new £328,000 sports pavilion at the weekend.

Fans young and old turned out to meet the football legend in Freethorpe, near Yarmouth, where the ex-England defender and current England under-21 manager unveiled the community's state-of-the-art sports facilities on Saturday .

Ex-England footballer Stuart Pearce congratulated a Broadland village as he opened its new £328,000 sports pavilion at the weekend.

Fans young and old turned out to meet the football legend in Freethorpe, near Yarmouth, where the ex-England defender and current England under-21 manager unveiled the community's state-of-the-art sports facilities on Saturday .

After taking a tour of the pavilion Mr Pearce declared the venue officially open.

He said: “So much hard work has been going on by people associated with the club and the community. I think there is a facility here you should be very proud of.”

Stephen Smith, secretary of Freethorpe football club, said he was delighted to have Mr Pearce open the building.

“It really is the icing on the cake,” he said. “The football club and the village hall are absolutely thrilled to have a true football legend come to Freethorpe to open our pavilion.”

The award-winning football club currently has three adult teams, three girls teams and six youth teams with about 160 players in total.

Mr Smith said: “In 2003 the football club had a dream, a vision for the future. I think what we can see now, in terms of the facilities and all these young people in their football tops, is that we have delivered the dream and the vision has become a reality.”

He thanked those who helped bring to project to fruition and said the pavilion would be a focal point for the community for many years to come.

Funding for the pavilion came from the Football Foundation, the Football Association, Broadland District Council and Biffaward landfill community scheme.

Villagers also organised bingo and casino nights, fetes and sponsored walks to raise the rest of the money needed for the pavilion, which has four changing rooms, two referees changing rooms, a disabled changing room, a kitchen and a community room.

Stuart Pearce started off his career at non-league Wealdstone and during an illustrious career he went on to play for Coventry City, Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Manchester City. He earned 78 England caps and was awarded the MBE in 1998.


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