Kalvin Phillips’ former club benefiting from Football Foundation investment
Kalvin Phillips’ former club, Wortley Football Club (FC), are supporting more young people to play football, thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.
Founded in 1974, Wortley FC is a not-for-profit and community football club, based just a few miles from Elland Road, which has provided opportunities for the local community to get active and play sport for over 40 years.
The Club boasts alumni such as England international and Manchester City footballer, Kalvin Phillips, who played for Wortley for seven years before he joined Leeds United FC’s academy, aged 14.
However, in 2019 the Club was spread across five sites, forcing its players to travel long distances to access training and matches. One of these sites was Blue Hill Lane – a former high school which had only one pitch, with over half of the land unplayable.
The Club have transformed this site thanks to a £328,000 grant from the Football Foundation, which enabled grass pitch improvements – including the creation of five additional small-sided pitches – a new car park, and boundary fencing. This project was also supported by additional funding from the Club themselves and FCC Communities Foundation (formerly known as WREN).
Through PitchPower – the Football Foundation’s free grass pitch inspection web app – Wortley FC were also able to access advice from experts at the Grounds Management Association (GMA) and an additional £21,000 grant to support the improvement and upkeep of the pitches at another of their sites.
Paul Hatfield, Wortley FC Coach, said:
“Kalvin Phillips plays a massive role at Wortley FC. Since he played for us, the Club has taken off because now people from all over Leeds wanting to become the next Kalvin Phillips are coming to play for us.
“Without this Club, kids in the community wouldn’t be able to play football because there’s simply nowhere else for them to go.”
Ian Thackray, Wortley FC Club Secretary, said:
“The Football Foundation’s investment in our pitches has moved us to a new level. When I was a kid, so many games here got cancelled because the pitches were terrible. Now, the pitches are absolutely fantastic, which means we can play all through the winter and that’s thanks to the Football Foundation’s funding.
“The next generation of young players in Wortley are going to benefit immensely from the investment we’ve had from the Foundation.”
Robert Sullivan, CEO of the Football Foundation, said:
“The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners – the Premier League, The FA and Government through Sport England – to transform access to grassroots facilities across the country.
“The quality facilities here at are a shining example of the power of pitches not only to produce future England starts, but to transform local lives and communities through offering more opportunities for people to play their favourite sports and get active.
“We’re committed to hitting our target of reaching 20,000 'good' quality grass pitches like the ones here by 2030, with the first 7,000 to be reached by 2024.”