ARSENAL legend Tony Adams had a slight advantage when he took a penalty to officially open a new indoor football facility in Stroud.
The former Arsenal and England captain took the shot against seven-year-old Oakley James at the launch of Inside Football at Brimscombe Port on Friday, January 3.
It was watched by more than 300 people who attended the opening of the 3G football pitch, set up by football coaches Clive Eckersall and Steve Cowe and local businessmen Colin Cole and Mike Stratford.
Adams, who signed autographs and had photographs taken with fans, said: “It is an honour to open this fantastic facility.
“We need more places like this for children to practise their skills in a safe environment.
“Games are called off all the time due to the weather and players don’t get the practise in. If I had it my way I would put one in every borough in the country.”
Adams, who won 66 international caps and currently works with Gabala FC in Azerbaijan, added: “As a country we are falling behind.
“In Azerbaijan they are building facilities like this all over the country.”
Inside Football offers a three-quarter size pitch which can be separated into three small courts by weighted curtains.
There is a reception area, lounge area with sofas, toilets, changing rooms and a multi-purpose room to serve as a classroom, party room and fitness area.
Former Aston Villa and Forest Green Rovers footballer Steve runs First Touch Coaching for children with Clive, who has played, managed and coached local football teams and is current chairman of Cashes Green Football Club .
They hope the venue will become a hub for training, coaching and five-a-side leagues.
Their business partner Colin Cole said: “Twelve months ago Clive called me to say he had found the perfect place.
“I walked into this building and couldn’t believe me eyes. It was cold, damp, the floor was uneven, the roof was leaking, there was oil dripping from the ceiling and doors hanging off. But Clive had a vision.
“This fantastic football facility is here as the result of Clive and Steve’s tremendous passion, commitment, enthusiasm and energy for football.”
Inside Football is available for hire for adults who enjoy playing in a competitive but friendly environment, clubs who need a training facility, corporate events and coaching for schools. It is also hoped that it will be base to increase ladies involvement in football.
For more information go to www.insidefootball.net
Grassroots is key, says former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams