Video: Joe Cole opens Barking and Dagenham’s first 3G football pitch

Former West Ham midfielder Joe Cole opens Barking and dagenham's first 3G football pitch at Robert C

Former West Ham midfielder Joe Cole opens Barking and dagenham's first 3G football pitch at Robert Clack School. - Credit: Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures

The first 3G football pitch in Barking and Dagenham was opened by West Ham United and former England midfielder Joe Cole.

The artificial grass will not get waterlogged and the floodlights mean play can continue when it get

The artificial grass will not get waterlogged and the floodlights mean play can continue when it gets dark. - Credit: Archant

The £618,000 pitch was unveiled at Robert Clack School’s upper site, in front of pupils, teachers and a host of local footballers last week.

The artificial grass will not get waterlogged and the floodlights mean play can continue when it get

The artificial grass will not get waterlogged and the floodlights mean play can continue when it gets dark. - Credit: Archant

Partly funded by a £450,000 grant from the Premier League and FA Facilities Fund, it will provide a home for more than 60 teams, hosting local the likes of Aztec, Roneo Colts, Byron Red Star and Dagenham Park Rangers in addition to the school’s own teams.

The artificial grass will not get waterlogged and the floodlights mean play can continue when it get

The artificial grass will not get waterlogged and the floodlights mean play can continue when it gets dark. - Credit: Archant

Cole, who is set to be released by West Ham at the end of June said it was a “real honour” to cut the red ribbon.

He said: “Surfaces like this, funded by the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, are absolutely first class because they don’t get waterlogged, and when it gets dark the floodlights mean you can keep on playing.

“You can see how much of a draw this facility will be, and judging by some of the skills I’ve seen on show there are some stars of the future out there.”

The school already has a close educational relationship with the Hammers, with the club’s under-15 and under-16 players taking GCSE qualifications at the school.

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Headteacher Sir Paul Grant said: “We are convinced that Robert Clack’s outstanding record of community engagement will ensure that this magnificent 3G pitch will significantly increase football participation in the borough and beyond.”

It will mainly serve Dagenham, but a second 3G pitch due at Barking Abbey School, will serve the west of the borough.

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