Football club unveils £650k training facility to develop stars of future

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 June 2018

Paul Bliss Chairman and Oli Bliss managing director.

Paul Bliss Chairman and Oli Bliss managing director.

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Weston Football Club has unveiled a new training facility costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, with hopes of taking the Seagulls to new levels on and off the pitch.

Mark McKeever Head of Development, Oli Bliss Managing Director, Paul Bliss Chairman and Matt Bazell head of Academy.Mark McKeever Head of Development, Oli Bliss Managing Director, Paul Bliss Chairman and Matt Bazell head of Academy.

The club has opened a 3G artificial training surface adjacent to its main pitch at the Woodspring Stadium, in Winterstoke Road, in a bid to nurture talent and creating much-needed revenue streams.

The project, which was first planned in 2011, was funded by a £642,727 grant from the Premier League, The FA and the Football Foundation.

Weston MP John Penrose opened the pitch on Friday and hopes it ‘can help the club and the town punch above its weight’.

The facility will be used by the club’s men’s and women’s teams, its academy and its successful walking football sides.

The Football Foundation anticipates it will generate a ‘210 per cent increase in on-site football participation’.

Weston’s managing director Oli Bliss said: “This has taken a lot of time and a lot of work, but once the funding was in place it has happened very fast, in just 12 weeks.

“It’s a great facility and it enables us to double the size of our academy.

“It’s open for the community to use as well, so we are looking forward to promoting it over the next couple of months.”

Weston, whose first team plays in the sixth tier of English football, has built a reputation 
for developing homegrown players with the likes of Dayle Grubb and Brad Ash joining Football League outfits after coming through the ranks at the Woodspring – and it is hoped more talent will prosper thanks to the new development.

Chairman Paul Bliss told the Mercury the pitch ‘will work for the club and the community’, and he ‘couldn’t have wished for a better end product.”

He said: “The club has done a great job persevering for seven years. The end product is a smashing job.

“The facility is wonderful. We need this to bring the kids on and generate a bit of income.”

The club’s charity arm, Seagulls In The Community, will also run community outreach programmes from the 3G and work in tandem with Uphill-based Westhaven School, for children with special education needs, to create a disability football team.

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