West Ham United to help nurture community football in Dagenham

An artist's impression of how the site will look

An artist's impression of how the site will look - Credit: Archant

A community football team could be set to unearth the next generation of Premier League with West Ham United set to share their facilities.

Building work will begin on the Manor Road pitches, home to Dagenham United, next week as the club prepares for its £1.5million redevelopment.

The club will train and play its matches in the evenings and weekends, while the Hammers are set to use adjoining pitches for their community and outreach work during the day.

Entrepreneur Richard Hipkiss, whose company Academy of Dreams is financing the project, highlighted a recent Sky Sports survey that argues lack of funding and poor facilities are killing off the beautiful game at a local level.

“The partnership is to support grass-roots and provide a player pathway for youngsters from amateur to professional football,” he said.

“It will give everyone the chance to play football regardless of ability, to provide a positive environment, assist with education and life skills and act as a distraction for youngsters from getting into mischief.”

The new development, set to be completed in 17 weeks, will feature three new floodlit state-of-the-art artificial pitches, two seven-a-side and one for the 11-a-side game.

Most Read

Presently the club has 27 teams, male and female, sharing its three grass pitches – a seven a-side, nine-a-side and 11-a-side, plus a 100x90m training area.

The development will feature clubs for boys and girls aged five to 11 at weekends, a BTEC football-led education program operating during term times and PE provision for schools.

Dagenham United club secretary Keith Rothon, 52, of Manor Road, admitted the process is hugely exciting for all involved.

“The fact that Premier League clubs are interested just shows that how good the facilities will be,” he told the Post.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter