Hammers star Cole opens borough's first 3G pitch

Club Website side Aztec FC among those to benefit from Barking & Dagenham's first ever 3G pitch.

West Ham United midfielder Joe Cole paid a visit to a lucky school in Essex recently to kick-start Barking and Dagenham’s first ever third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP).

The new pitch, described by the star midfielder as “absolutely first class”, will mean kids from right across the borough can come and play football all year round.

After declaring the pitch open, Joe watched students celebrate the occasion with five-a-side football matches on the new surface, commenting: “You can see how much of a draw the surface will be and, judging by some of the skills I’ve seen on show, there are some stars of the future out there!”

West Ham has a close relationship with Robert Clack, with its Under-15 and Under-16 players taking their GCSEs qualifications at the school.

The facility will also be home to Aztec FC, whose website is powered by Club Website, and three other local clubs: Byron Red Star FC, Dagenham Park Rangers FC and Roneo Colts FC, who have nearly 60 teams between them.

Charlie O’Neill, Football Development Officer at Robert Clack, explained: “The new pitch will not only be for the school, but for local clubs and the local community as well – it’s going to be a brilliant asset for the whole Borough.”

Over the next year, Robert Clack School predicts that over 2,000 people will play sport on the new surface every week, with nearly 3,500 people using it each week by 2019.

Donna Rose, PE Leader at nearby William Bellemy Primary School, was delighted by the new pitch that she’d been testing out with some of her pupils: “With all the bad weather we’ve been having recently, a lot of sport was put on hold. Now, with this 3G pitch, we can play in all weathers and our children can get involved in sport a lot more than before.”

Paul Tighe, Head of Academy Education, West Ham United, added: “It’s great to see Barking and Dagenham’s first 3G AGP open and ready for use and we are extremely grateful to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for providing the money for such a wonderful facility.”

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