Merseyside Youth Association’s £750,000 redeveloped playing fields is hosting The Premier League Kicks Cup showcasing a wealth of footballing talent throughout the country as over 600 teenagers from 50 clubs compete for victory.
The pavilion at Jeffrey Humble Playing Fields, in Long Lane, Fazakerley, was destroyed in an arson attack in April 2012. Since then the 2,000 youngsters in the Walton and Kirkdale Junior Football League who play on the pitches had been getting changed in temporary toilets before games.
Thanks to a £649,430 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, and £100,000 of other funding; the pavilion has been rebuilt featuring changing rooms, storage for quick-team turnarounds, an officials’ rooms, catering facilities, public toilets, multi-purpose community hall, a car park and secure fencing.
Liam Corcoran, MYA Operations Manager, said: “These playing fields are at the heart of an incredibly strong grassroots football community. We were devastated when the attack happened but the team has worked incredibly hard over the last two years, and I don’t think there’s a more fitting event to mark the official opening of the Jeffrey Humble Playing Fields.”
The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, will open the pavilion. He said: “I am very pleased that the young people who use the Jeffrey Humble Playing Field will now have modern changing rooms and other facilities. We want football to thrive at all levels in the city and it’s great that these improvements have been made. A lot of hard work has gone into this project and I would like to thank all those involved into making it happen.”
The Premier League Kicks programme began in 2006 as a pilot project in London between the Premier League and the Metropolitan Police with the aim of using football to bring communities together and engage with young people. Today 50 Premier League and Football League clubs – including Liverpool FC and Everton FC – run local community-based sessions engaging with 250 Merseyside children and young people throughout the year.
The tournament will take place on 28th May, with the official playing field opening ceremony at 3.30pm. Throughout the day there will be marquees, workshops and professional coaches on hand to offer support and advice to participants.
Premier League’s Community Development Executive, Nick Perchard said: “We are delighted to be holding this year’s competition at one of MYA’s playing fields. Premier League Kicks is about connecting with communities, which complements the work MYA’s sports initiatives deliver throughout the year.
“Over the last twelve months the 50 professional football clubs delivering the programme have engaged 42,000 young people, so to mark the opening of the Jeffrey Humble Playing Fields by seeing 600 of them competing for the Premier League Kicks Cup is very exciting.”
Councillor Peter Mitchell, Mayoral lead for Parks and Open Spaces said: “The Jeffery Humble Playing fields are a very important green space for the north of the city and we are delighted that there has been a significant investment in the facilities there. The new pavilion will provide a real boost for grassroots football and the opening tournament will be a fitting showcase for it.”