byfleet village fc

THE chairman of The Football Association visited the Byfleet village Club at the weekend.

Greg Clarke, right, with Paul Robinson (club chairman), middle, and Rosie Ainsworth (club secretary), left

Greg Clarke, who previously served as the chairman of The Football League and Leicester City, was given a tour of Byfleet Village’s facilities by Paul Robinson (club chairman) and rosie Ainsworth (club secretary). Clarke also watched practice sessions involving the club’s girls and under fives.

His visit was part of a whistle-stop tour of some of Surrey’s youth development clubs for boys’ and girls’ football.

Robinson said: “It’s nice to see that people at the The FA are willing to come down and see what we are doing at Byfleet Village.

“This season we got our first girls’ team off the ground, at under-11 level

A Byfleet Village player practices her footwork

“We’re also actively involved through local schools helping to promote girls’ football, where we’re currently providing training free of charge until the end of the season to try and get as many girls involved in football as possible.”

Clarke said: “Byfleet village is a wonderful club run by wonderful people.”

For the full picture feature get the 14 March edition of the News & Mail

SCISSOR MISTER – Kerry Dixon (centre) cuts the ribbon with deputy mayor Anne Roberts (left)

SCISSOR MISTER – Kerry Dixon (centre) cuts the ribbon with deputy mayor Anne Roberts (left)

FOOTBALL is finally coming home for ­Byfleet Village Football Club.

The club celebrated their biggest win of the season at the official opening of their brand-new facilities in Kings Head Lane ­after working with Woking Borough Council and Surrey FA to secure a £250,000 grant from the Football Foundation.

Former Chelsea star Kerry Dixon unveiled the sparkling complex, which consists of a pavilion complete with clubroom, male and female changing rooms, a referee’s room, disabled facilities and two new pitches.

For more than a decade 16 Byfleet youth teams – aged under-five to under-17 – have contested their seven and 11-a-side divisions without a recognised ground.

And following a 10-year battle through red tape and funding applications, chairman Phil Silver says the club can finally look forward to a long and prosperous future.

He said: “It stalled along the way and many times over the years we thought it was never going to happen.

“But just through hard work and perseverance it’s come together and we can’t wait to start playing on our new pitches next season.

“There was so much red tape we had to cut through. Even the design process of the clubhouse had plan after plan thrown out because it wasn’t right for this reason or that reason.

“I guess the frustration mounted because we knew what we wanted but it was out of our hands.

“We thought it wasn’t going to happen because there is so much bureaucracy out there and with the Football Foundation and local authority receiving budget cuts.

“But we are here now and hopefully we can grow as a club from and add to our long list of teams. We used to play in the park but now we have a great facility to call home.”

Stamford Bridge legend Dixon, who scored 147 goals in 335 appearances for the Blues, praised the tireless work of the Byfleet board in making their dream a reality.

He said: “The facilities ensure the long term survival of the club and gives everyone involved that little bit of self satisfaction that they’ve achieved something that is there for everyone to see.

“It’s great that something like this has been put together and that so many people can benefit.”