Legend Neal to officially open Irchester’s new facility

Irchester United manager Steve Sargent
Irchester United manager Steve Sargent

Irchester Sports Association (ISA) will officially open their new £260,000 facility at Alfred Street this weekend.

A three-year project to plan and construct the new changing-rooms and major improvements to the clubhouse has now been completed thanks grants of £100,000 from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) and £99,990 from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund while the ISA’s sporting sections and members raised the remaining £60,000.

Guest of honour to cut the ribbon on Sunday will be Irchester-born Phil Neal, one of the most successful footballers in English history having won four European Cups, eight league titles and more during a glittering career with Liverpool, while he also won 50 caps for his country.

The celebrate the opening of the new facility at Alfred Street, which is also used by Irchester Cricket Club, the ISA has organised a Festival of Football throughout the day.

It will see Irchester Romans Youth Football Club’s teams in action along with a clash between Irchester Veterans and Wollaston Veterans before Irchester United take on Irchester Sports for the Irchester Charity Cup (3pm).

Neal will present the cup and medals at the end of the match, which comes 24 hours after ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Division One side United play their first pre-season friendly of the summer at Earls Barton United.

And first-team manager Steve Sargent is looking forward to a busy and important weekend.

“It is a very exciting time for the club,” he said.

“The new facility is going to be excellent for all of us and the work that has taken place hasn’t affected the football side of things.

“The committee have been fantastic and they have kept the football club at the forefront of it all.

“The changing-rooms look fantastic and the players here are going to be very fortunate to have such good facilities to use.”

As far as on-field matters are concerned, Sargent is pleased with the way the summer has gone.

He added: “We have added Ben Thomas to our coaching staff and our pre-season training sessions have gone very well so far.

“We had a good group of lads at the end of last season. We said to them that if they stayed together then there wouldn’t be much bedding in to be done in pre-season.

“I am really pleased that we have kept the group together and hopefully we will be able to hit the ground running.

“The main issue for us last season was the depth of our squad so we have added three or four who have potential to play at the level. So I am happy with where we are.”

The event to open the new facility at Alfred Street gets under way at 11am on Sunday.