TWELVE years of toil, sweat and tears will come to a happy conclusion on Saturday April 26 when football icon Sir Trevor Brooking officially opens Kewford Eagles fabulous new facilities in Wall Heath.
Well over 2,000 people are expected to attend the showcase event where the centre-piece will be a game between Kewford Under-17s against the Under-18s.
Lynn Boleyn, who has been one of the driving forces behind Kewford Eagles said: “We thought it was only fitting that the Under-18’s should play - as for many of them, it will be the last time they feature for Kewford.
“It’s likely that the Under-18’s will then fold as many of them will depart to university.
“There are quite a few in the under-18 side who have been with us since they were five years old.”
The complex in Swindon Road will comprise of 11 pitches along with four changing rooms, kitchen and toilet facilities.
But this is only the beginning.
Kewford plan to expand their facilities by building a clubhouse on top of the existing facilities subject to the necessary permission.
Lynn Boleyn added: “The existing facilities have been specifically designed for possible extension”.
However, Lynn is quick to pay tribute to Kewford colleague Colin Worthington and claimed.“It was his vision - his dream.
“We had a very bumpy ride at times, especially when dealing with the Football Foundation.
“At one stage, Colin got so angry, that he wrote a five page letter to Sir Trevor Brooking. It was Sir Trevor who helped get the project back on track and Colin was insistent that Sir Trevor should perform the opening.”
Kewford have grown from a merger between two scout teams from Quarry Bank and Kingswinford in 1978 to possibly one of the biggest clubs in the country fielding a massive 45 teams on a regular basis.
It’s hoped that several members of that original side will attend the opening.
Lynn Boleyn added: "We’ve got teams playing all over Dudley borough which was costing us around £50,000 a year just to rent the pitches. That’s the reason why we so desperately needed this ground.
“But the ground isn’t just about today, but for generations to come.”
A Football Foundation spokesperson said it was "surprised" at suggestions "the Foundation has been anything other than extremely accommodating" and added: “The Football Foundation actually bent over backwards to accommodate this project, even awarding the club funding that is far in excess of our average grant amount.
“Indeed, the additional £381,105 of funding that we provided has enabled them to also develop a proper four-team changing pavilion, in addition to the 11 grass pitches at their new site, rather than the basic cabin provision that was originally proposed.
“Since we awarded Kewford Eagles this grant, they have worked alongside both ourselves and the Birmingham FA without issue – indeed we are currently advising the club on applying for further funding from us to improve their pitch drainage – so to read comments suggesting that the Foundation has been anything other than extremely accommodating is surprising.”