Pitch Perfect Hyde Unveil New Facilities
Monday 8th August 2016 @ 14:53 by Mark Phillip
Football Hyde Sports

Hyde United Football Club officially unveiled their new state-of-the-art facilitates to a group of councillors, dignitaries and guests last week.

The club have received funding of £415,000 from Tameside Council to install a FIFA 2* pitch and classroom facilities at Ewen Fields.

It’s hoped that the improvements will help benefit grassroots football and the local community significantly.

The facilities are part of a wider £20 million investment in leisure provision by Tameside Council which includes a 25-metre swimming pool at Active Hyde.

Available to hire seven days a week, the pitch will be shared between football teams, local schools and the general community.

As well as the first team squad, Hyde’s Academy and Rochdale’s Academy will also train at Ewen Fields.

It’s hoped that the financial investment will spark a renaissance at the club following three successive relegations.

Under manager Darren Kelly, Hyde will be hoping to claim promotion at the first time of asking in the Evo-Stik First Division North.

Community manager, Pete Ainger, is hoping that the new facilities will mark the dawning of a new era for the Tigers.

Speaking to Reporter Sport about the developments, Pete said: “It’s all gone very well.

“We’ve had fantastic support from Tameside council who’ve invested a lot of money into the facility.

“We want to become a community hub, so these facilities will allow us to be that.

“We can invite schools and community groups into the facility, which we couldn’t do previously due to having a grass pitch.

“We’ll be able to do this for 12 months a year, so it’ll be about getting those groups and communities into the ground, while also getting out there and delivering coaching sessions as well.”

Questioned on how the proposals originally materialised, Pete said: “In conjunction with the local authority and the football foundation, we originally looked at a development behind the Walker Lane stand.

“It was going to involve a smaller 3G facility, along with new changing rooms and a social club.

“It sort of went into a bit of a void in terms of the football foundation administration, so that caused a bit of a delay.

“There was a Q&A done around three years later, and because of budgets and other factors, the project became around £100,000 over budget.

“We knew we couldn’t carry on with that, but we were still keen on trying to get something where we could provide a facility.

“The council have very much been looking at this particular area for quite some time, so one thing led to another and discussions took place.

“We had a plastic pitch in the mid 80’s, so we knew we had the spec in terms of laying an artificial surface again.”

In conjunction with the local authority, the club have ambitions to create a Tameside United ladies team who will play their home matches at Ewen Fields.

The recruitment process is set to begin on Sunday morning with an open age trial.

While he’s openly excited at the prospect of forming a ladies team, Pete is just as thrilled for the start of the new season which begins with a home clash to Tadcaster Albion on Saturday.

Is he confident about a promotion push? “I’ve said that for the past three years” he joked.

“If I’m honest, we’re probably a couple of division lower than where we need to be, but obviously results on the pitch don’t tell a lie.

“We’re down here because we haven’t done it on the field, even though we’ve tried to pull things together off the field regarding our overall finances.

“Given the squads that we had at the start of each of those respective seasons, I don’t think we could have envisaged relegation.”

Despite being unable to save Hyde from relegation at the end of last season, Kelly was appointed on a full-time basis at the start of summer. Pete explained why: “In my view, he had the best CV and gave us the best interview.

“He’s the most qualified coach we’ve ever had, so hopefully that coaching ability and motivational ability can translate itself into the first team.

“He also has experience with academy operations, working with York City and Sunderland.

“That was a secondary element – it wasn’t the primary reason for appointing him – but it was a nice bonus which could do us a lot of good in terms of bringing up our academy grading.

“I’m hopeful we’ll do a lot better than we have done in the past couple of seasons.”