Less than a year after work began on site, some of the borough’s talented young footballers are getting the chance to play on new artificial pitches at Rectory Park in Northolt.
An area of the park next to Ruislip Road has been transformed to provide a range of sports facilities, including floodlit pitches that will become especially useful in the dark, winter months. The work was carried out through a partnership of Middlesex Football Association and Ealing Council.
A clubhouse includes a café bar and kitchen; and also community rooms that can be used for holding classes such as yoga, pilates and other events. They will be available for hire.
The two 3G pitch areas are marked out in different colours for different football age-groups or preferences: For teams of five, seven, nine or eleven players per side; and can be divided by ‘curtain’ nets so that several games can take place at a time. One team that has already tried the pitches out is Celtic Youth Football Club, which has more than 180 members aged between six and 15.
“Our home is Brentside playing fields, which are great, but they are traditional grass pitches and they aren’t floodlit,” said Albert Tamou, the club’s chairman. “At the height of the football season, in the winter, it’s too dark to play in the evening after school and, as soon as the weather is wet and wintry, the pitches become muddy and waterlogged. We practice twice a week and have matches on Sundays, so that’s a lot of hours to be outside. It’s great to have this facility on our doorstep, giving us some more options for our training in the winter.
“There are also small, covered seating areas and pavilions to give shelter to the parents of our younger players who stand outside in the rain and the freezing cold, week in and week out.”
Celtic Youth FC has 15 teams competing in the Harrow Youth League and is an official partner of Middlesex FA, which will use the facility as its headquarters and operate it in partnership with the council.
Rectory Park was the first project in London to benefit from funding as part of the Football Association’s Parklife community football hubs programme; and also received funding from London Marathon Charitable Trust.
For more information visit www.middlesexfa.com