TORYGLEN’S fantastic Regional Football Centre was officially opened last week by Scotland legend Kenny Dalglish.
The former Celtic and Liverpool hero joined Glasgow City Council ;eader, Steven Purcell to open the centre, as well as launch Scotland’s biggest international youth tournament, the Glasgow City Cup.
The £15.7 million facility, the first of its kind in Scotland, has already proved a hit with players. Since April, more than 35,000 footballers from various levels have enjoyed the first class facilities.
The centre includes Scotland’s first full-size indoor synthetic grass football pitch with seating for 700 fans.
There are three outdoor synthetic pitches and a grass pitch.
Taking his place in the centre circle of the indoor pitch, Kenny tossed a coin to decide who would kick off the Glasgow City Cup, which is this year being shared between Glasgow Green and Toryglen for the first time.
After a tour, Scotland’s most capped player said: “I’ve really enjoyed today.ŠIt has been an honour to open the centre, the facilities here at Toryglen are simply first class.
“I wish I had the opportunity to play in a place like this when I was a boy growing up in the east end of Glasgow.
“Having recently joined Liverpool’s youth academy I’m looking to produce footballers of the future and, like in Glasgow the ongoing challenge is to provide the ideal environment for talent to flourish.Š To produce the best players you need to have the best facilities – the boys and girls in Glasgow certainly have those with the opening of this centre.”
Councillor Steven Purcell said: “The opening of this centre is a first for Glasgow and indeed Scotland and we should be rightly proud of this outstanding facility.Š The council’s investment in Toryglen is a clear indicator of our determination to provide world-class sporting venues in the city as we move towards the Commonwealth Games in 2014.Š
“I'm especially pleased that the new facility will be widely used across the community as well as by professional footballers.ŠIt’s my hope that by working with a range of partners, including sportscotland and the SFA we will ensure this facility continues to make a positive contribution to the development of football and healthier living in general for everyone in Glasgow.“
Also in attendance, Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland, said: “After years of planning and hard work it is great to see the new facilities built as part of the Scottish Government’s National and Regional Sports Facilities Strategy coming on stream and Toryglen is one of the first.
“This important football venue, with its close proximity to Hampden, is a key training and competition facility for Glasgow and the West of Scotland.ŠWe hope these fabulous surroundings will encourage more young people to get active and help nurture our football stars of tomorrow.”
Glasgow City Cup Tournament Director, Jim Smith said: “The Glasgow City Cup is a fantastic opportunity for the city’s emerging young stars to show what they are made of. As a player, there’s nothing better than testing yourself against the best teams from home and abroad.
“Last year’s event was fantastic, but thanks to the continued support we’ve received from Culture and Sport Glasgow, in making these truly first-class facilities available, it’s easy to see that 2009 is going to be the biggest and best yet.”
The facility was funded by Glasgow City Council with support from the Scottish Government, sportscotland and Landtrust. ŠCulture and Sport Glasgow will manage the facility on behalf of Glasgow City Council.
The eighth Glasgow City Cup International Youth Tournament is the largest event of its kind in Scotland, with 120 teams and over 2150 boys, between the ages of 13 and 21 years old, participating.ŠTeams travel from across Scotland and throughout the UK and Europe to play in the competition.Š