A FOOTBALL club based at one of the oldest pitches still in use in England has secured its future with the opening of a new pavilion.
Mr Branagan now teaches football at Bolton School.
The Lee Pavilion has also been funded by the club, plus donations from former players, friends, sponsors and the Football Foundation. Club chairman, Richard Morris, said: “For years we have been working to replace our old unsuitable changing rooms which were beyond repair. Without the grant aid from the Football Foundation we would never have been able to achieve the building we now have and which secures the future of our club and its historic ground.
“It means that our facilities meet the standards expected nowadays and, as well as being a fantastic asset for the club, they provide an opportunity for wider community use to promote and sustain amateur football locally.”
The opening also marks the 60th anniversary of the club using the pitches.
The building contains changing rooms for four teams and for officials, and toilet and refreshment facilities for spectators and visitors.
The completion of the pavilion will ensure Old Boltonians can not only maintain their four successful Lancashire Amateur League teams, and their newly formed veterans side but can provide greater community access to the ground. It will be used by the University of Bolton, Bolton Sixth Form College, another local veterans’ team and by local schools.
Bolton School will co-ordinate the educational use of the ground on behalf of the Independent Schools’ FA, with one of its aims being to support the development of the game for girls.
Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted to see this tremendous facility complete and ready for use by the local community. Now the important work begins to ensure the facility remains sustainable and benefits as many people as possible.”
● The pavilion has been named after David Lee, ground and pavilion manager, in recognition of his service to Old Boltonians AFC.