Address

Address:
Mary Linwood Recreation Ground Saffron Lane Leicester LE2 6TG
Directions:
Seated:
100
Telephone:
0116 278 5485
Website:

History

Aylestone Park Youth Football Club was founded in 1968 by a group of boys from the local Church. The Club was a founder member of the Leicestershire Youth League and within three years we were running five teams at various age groups on Aylestone Park.

In 1972 we leased five acres of land from the Leicester City Council which was ideally situated at the centre of two large council estates and a large private housing estate, to provide the sporting and social needs for the youngsters in the community.

The ground was originally waste land, but with the aid of a small grant from the Sports Council and the fund-raising efforts of the boys themselves we cleared and prepared the land and with a small wooden hut and a tremendous amount of hard work in 1973 we moved to our present site boasting a private football ground with changing facilities for six teams.

In 1974 with eight teams registered with the County F.A. we undertook to install floodlights, the first non league floodlights in the County. Our first match under the floodlights was between Nottingham Boys and an Aylestone Park Team. In our team that night was one of our most successful boys the former England Captain Gary Lineker, now an Aylestone Park Old Boys, Club President and an interested supporter of the Club.

We are a dynamic club and our success and development is not limited to the football field. To the original wooden hut we added showers a tea room and a small games room for the boys to use in connection with our affiliation to the Leicestershire Association of Boys Clubs, now known as Clubs for Young People, to which we still belong. The existing changing rooms were converted to form an open plan multi function room which were used for the many activities associated with Young People's social needs. In 1984 we leased an additional 3.7 acres of land to provide further pitches for our ever expanding number of activities and teams.

In 1992, in recognition of the community needs were providing, we were able to secure an additional 6.6 acres of land from the Leicester City Council with a 28 year lease bringing the total playing area to 13 acres, comprising six football pitches, two floodlit, and two floodlit training areas.

With this security and the extra land we undertook our next major project, the building of a new club house with showers, changing rooms, games room and function room at a cost of £180,000.00 a tremendous target for us to achieve but with funds awarded from all the major Grant Aid Bodies and our club members raising £35,000 we were delighted in May 1994 to invite the Lord Mayor of Leicester, a previous General Secretary of our Club, to open our new Clubhouse.

In 1994 we applied to the Sports Council for funding to install a comprehensive drainage system throughout the ground to ensure pitch quality in the Winter months. We were successful and in the summer of 1996 we installed the drainage at a cost of £28,000.

In 1997 we commenced our next project, the replacement of our floodlights, our project was submitted with a concept of having the lights mounted on a rotating bracket which allowed us to turn the lights through 360’ to illuminate turf areas at the rear and sides of the main pitch to illuminate training areas. The project estimated the lights would allow the illumination of some eight acres of usable turf area, and would enable the use of a second pitch for matches. The new lights would give a much better quality of light and be cheaper to run. So impressed were the Sports Council with our application that we obtained a 75% grant, and the lights were installed in 1998.

In 1999 in recognition of his services to the community our Club Chairman was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours List.

In 2000 we were awarded our Football Association Charter Club Status acknowledging the standards not only achieved on the pitch but also the administration of the club and implementation of National Policy relating to Child Protection and Health and Safety.

In 2003 we were awarded Community Club Status, the first and presently only Leicester City based club to have achieved this most prestigious accolade.

Over the past five years our club expanded to such an extent that this season we have twenty one youth teams all playing in local leagues, a youth Academy which is attended by an average of 70 children aged 6 to 10 every Saturday morning. We now provide facilities for the recreational and social needs of in excess of 400 young people a week. The ground is used Tuesday to Thursday for training and floodlit matches. The Leicestershire Schools F.A. and Youth League representative sides also use our ground for their inter county representative matches.

We have formed a partnership with Leicester City Ladies also use the ground each weekend for their six league teams, and Leicester Grammar School and Stoneygate School use our ground for afternoon training and matches Monday to Fridays.

Over the years our ground has been used by The Fosse Day Centre for People with disabilities, The Special Needs European Championships, The Victims of Crime Support Scheme, The Royal Society for the Blind, British Heart Foundation, and Special Needs Sports.

As part of our development we were asked to form an Inclusive Section for young people with Physical and Learning Difficulties. Again we were the first Leicestershire Club to have its own Inclusive Section catering for the sporting needs of 30 members each Friday Evening. In many ways this has been one of our most demanding challenges with eight of our members attending the Football Association National Course, four of these are 17 year old player from our youth team who attend regularly on Friday nights to help in the progression of our Inclusive players.

On the administration side, the Club is managed by a board of trustees consisting of local businessmen and Police officers with a management committee of thirty two active members who run the weekly football and social side of the Club. Our Club has much to be proud of in its achievements but these have only have been achieved because there is a real need in the community for this type of facility, run by the community for the benefit of the community.

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