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Sir Trevor Brooking Opens John Lyall Pavilion

Thu 20th Oct 2011 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

More than 500 people packed into Lawford FC’s brand new £513,000 John Lyall Pavilion in School Lane recently to witness its grand opening under the supervision of FA ambassador Sir Trevor Brooking, thanks in part to funding from the Football Foundation which helped pay for the project which has been ongoing since 2008.

Hundreds of footballers of all ages will benefit from the new base as volunteers from several clubs showed what teamwork and community spirit can achieve, with Lawford Lads and Lawford Junior joining forces to put together the proposals as part of the club’s 60th anniversary celebrations. The late John Lyall’s name was chosen to honour the building due to his family’s dedication in supporting the project and dedication to football in the area.

A memorial section has the names of sponsors, patrons and community figures etched into the brickwork. The funding partners included Biffaward, the Olympic Legacy Fund, Tendring District Council, the Community Initiatives Fund, Lawford Parish Council, the Lyall Family and the Essex County FA.

Sir Trevor appeared 528 times for West Ham United - and 47 times for England - during a lengthy career as a one-club man other than two games at Cork City toward the climax of his playing days. He joined The FA in 2003 as a Director of Football Development and is currently an important figurehead for the grassroots game in England, regularly attending facility openings to offer his backing to the base tiers of local football.

During his time with the Hammers he played under the managership of Lyall for about a decade, winning the FA Cup together at Wembley Stadium in 1980. John began life at the Boleyn Ground, Upton Park as a 15-year-old in 1955 and went on to play 36 times for the First Team as well as populating the dugout for 15 years from 1974. He joined Ipswich Town in 1990 and guided them to promotion into the first ever season of the Premier League in 1992.

Sir Trevor was chosen as the special guest given his long association with West Ham, and Lyall in particular. The event began with a welcome from the youth and senior club’s chairmen, Andy Rudd and John Duchars, followed by a short address from Sir Trevor, fulfilling his official duties by unveiling the plaque to declare the building open for business.

Chairman Andy Rudd, commented, “It was an absolute honour that Sir Trevor Brooking agreed to come to Lawford and open the John Lyall Pavilion,” he said.

“He was an absolute gentleman, who found time to sign every autograph and have his picture taken with everyone who asked him. It put the icing on the cake for us all. It’s taken many years of hard work to get to this point and, with the pavilion now open, we can concentrate on grassroots football across all sections. We can focus on the development of our players and coaches to reach their full potential and open up many more opportunities for all.”

Sir Trevor offered his congratulations, adding: “This facility will be great for the surrounding communities and Lawford can hold events and functions here. It is good to see a club that wants to expand, but obviously with that there is a cost. In the long run it will rely on support and volunteers and it’s great to see so many faces turn out today. On a sunny day, it might not seem obvious, but the players will be thankful for it in January in the cold and rain.”

The Essex County FA were represented by Chairman Eddie Rhymes and Welfare Officer Helen Hever. Development Manager Brendan Walshe assisted Lawford with their application from start to finish and he said: “It’s always rewarding to see a project get to this stage and this new facility will change the lives of so many people. At a time when finances are tight, grants from organisations like the Football Foundation are crucial to grassroots football.”

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